Parties for kids have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites 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 to provide for the kids. There are innumerable 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 sessions of entertainment 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.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run about, laugh and talk with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. And 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 hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet 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!
Best of luck!