Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs for only two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are literally thousands of 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 sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, children are already being 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 become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for the kids to run about, play, 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 idea 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 several bowls, the excitement had absolutely 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. When you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will 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.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!