Parties for kids have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children love it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have 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 entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, 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, however 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the novelty had absolutely 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. If you are holding 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. Try to Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so 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!
All the best!