Children’s parties have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids love it 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 these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, 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, children can quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party 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. Allowing time for the kids to run around, play, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children 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 wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet 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!
All the best!