Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Involved in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you’ve got 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!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, children 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, children can easily be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to play, run around, laugh and talk with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This suggestion 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 a few bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. For a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, 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 paper 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.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!