Children’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 two-three hours. Working in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many 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!
One or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run about, play, talk and laugh with each other 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 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are having a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet 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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!