Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Involved in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. 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 have a party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, the kids are already being 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 may quickly become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to run around, 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 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 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. If you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that appeals, 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 will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-list so you don’t forget anything, like when to get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!