Parties for children have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have 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. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, the kids will be directed 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 may quickly become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run around, 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. 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-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!