Here’s a few ideas to help make throwing your next kids party a bit easier, and hopefully, a lot more fun!
1) Plan well ahead of time! Ask your Child what they really want to do and try your best to roll with that. It is, after all, their special day.
2) Don’t throw the party at your house! Not having the party (and the Children) at your house has huge advantages. If your party is offsite, you don’t have to clean up your house before or after the event. You won’t have 8-20 kids tearing through or messing up your living space for 3-4 hours – enough said.
3) Have cake last! Serve your cake and sugary goodies towards the end of the party. Kids don’t need sugar to get wired for fun at a party. Just being around other kids gets them going. Do like Grandma, feed them sweets, then ship them off home. After all, Grandma knows best!
4) Hire professionals! Just subcontracting out one thing can help your party out immensely. Be it a cleaning service, a cake specialist, a balloon guy, party performer or even a face-painter, professionals can easily do what you might spend your money and time doing badly. You might try to make 20 balloon dogs, but it may take you an hour. Why not sit back and enjoy a professional balloon guy who can make ladybugs and Spidermen out of balloons, while entertaining and engaging the kids in half that time! Even the pressure of not baking a cake can be a big relief the day of the party.
5) Book a show! Having a Magician, Clown or other show booked will give you 30-45 minutes to get food ready, visit with other parents or even just sit down and enjoy the show too – let a talented performer help you too feel like a kid again. Don’t forget, these are professional entertainers, not babysitters; it’s always helpful to have one or two parents sitting with the kids to help keep them behave.
6) Schedule! Don’t “wing it”. Plan out your party schedule, write it out and keep it in mind. When you are planning your party, also keep in mind your child’s schedule. Booking their birthday party during naptime is a recipe for disaster.
7) Go with the flow! Sometimes things happen.. and instead of fighting it, it’s best to just go with the flow. Here are two examples from two parties that we just hosted in the last year where we “went with the flow”. For our youngest (turning 3 years old), we’d hired a fantastic Clown to put on a show for the kids. Strangely, we noticed that the kids were all quietly sitting at the table and starting to snack… We had lunch planned after the show, but decided quickly that since all of the kids were all sitting quietly at the table, that is was best to serve spaghetti immediately! We bumped the show 30 minutes, and everything went super well – we were super lucky that our entertainer could accommodate the schedule change!
8) Opening Gifts first? At our oldest son’s party (turning 6 years old), somehow he started intercepting presents before we could see, and before we knew it, and really before the party had started, he was into all of his gifts. As parents we want to make a big deal of the presents, make sure that everyone gets a thank you and is acknowledged for their gifts. For the other kids at the party, the birthday kid opening gifts is no fun. We were mid-way through our party, and had about 8 kids between the ages of 3-7 years in the house, and our house was really quiet… dangerously quiet. The kids had all paired off with the new toys, toys that they themselves were excited about, and they were all playing quietly around the house. Opening presents first works.. who knew!
9) Plan out a few activities to keep the kids busy! Planning at least one “blowing off steam” activity is essential. (ie trampoline, scavenger hunt outside, Duck, Duck Goose, freeze tag, dance party). Yoda, Yoda Darth Vader is an awesome older kid alternative game to Duck, Duck Goose!
Last, but not least, and most of all…
10) Have Fun! That is the whole point of all this right? Your kids party is all about the kids, but there’s no rule that says the kids get to have all the fun!
Author Brian Wilson ( http://www.brianrobertwilson.com ) has been entertaining at special events for almost 20 years, Father of two young boys, he still throws and occasionally performs at kids parties in the Ottawa, Ontario Canada area.