Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I want to give you some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids love it when predictable elements occur, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, the kids are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children may quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for children to run around, play, laugh and talk with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had seriously 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. When you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!