Parties for children have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. two-three hours. Involved 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. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids love it when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are so many 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 structured games are more than enough. Remember, children will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids may easily be overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. 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 idea may seem like a no-brainer, but 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 excitement had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the most. On the day have a mini paper list so that 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!
All the best!