Parties for kids 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 only two-three hours. Being 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.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, 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 to provide for the kids. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it 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. The fact is, the kids are already being expected 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 be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive 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 just a few bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children 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 is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to 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 run-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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!