Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Working in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, 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 have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, the kids will be 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 easily be overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for children to play, run about, 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 directive 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 novelty had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide 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 paper 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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!