Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, children will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids can easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for children to play, run about, laugh and talk with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea may seem like a no-brainer, however I have attended many parties that can have children feeling bored or bewildered. For example, hiring a magician-clown for two-year olds left most of the children terrified. Another example is a bowling party for four-year olds. The kids had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-list so you don’t forget anything, like when to put the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!