Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, children are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children may quickly become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to run about, play, talk and laugh with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea may seem like a no-brainer, but I have attended many parties that result in children being 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. 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. If you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!