Keeping the Party Going: Tips for Children’s Party Planning How to entertain from the time the doorbell rings until the last guest departs

You’ve sent invitations, bought decorations, made a list (and checked it twice) … now you’re ready to throw your child the best birthday party of the season. But the biggest task has yet to begin: hosting the party. Don’t let all your preparation go to waste. Find out how you can make sure that your guests will be entertained.

Girl blows out candles on a birthday cake surrounded by friends
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Think about a theme


Keeping in mind your party’s theme is a great way to help you stay organized and add some flair to the activities. Turn simple activities into exciting entertainment by incorporating the theme into them. For example, “pin the tail” on the donkey can be morphed into “pin the patch on the pirate” for a pirate-themed birthday.


Keep the structure simple


What party guests are going to be able to bounce on a moon bounce, get their faces painted, play six different games and eat pizza all within a three-hour period? None of them. Don’t overwhelm your guests with too many things to do. Avoid activity overload by keeping your party activity schedule straightforward and easy.


Listen to your child


Your child knows exactly what his or her friends enjoy doing and what activities they dislike. Let your child provide a list of suggestions for activities. You may not be able to accommodate all their requests, like booking a favorite musical artist for entertainment, but the experience will give you a feel for what activities your child’s peers like to do.


Set a schedule


Schedule what you plan to do with your guests a week before your event. Your schedule doesn’t have to be too

structured. Kids lose attention quickly, so most activities should last only about 30 to 40 minutes. If your activities are outdoors, weather permitting, make sure to have a plan B for alternate indoor things to do. Classic party games make a convenient alternative.


Don’t forget to delegate


You can easily get overwhelmed when you’re hosting an event. Lift the weight off your shoulders by putting together a “party crew” of family members and friends to help you on party day. By delegating tasks to your party crew, you’ll

Two boys arrive at a party, one carrying a balloon and one a gift
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free up your time to host. Having the parents of your child’s friends stay for the duration of the party can also help things run more smoothly. Just be sure to have enough food and drinks for your adult guests.


When in doubt, dance it out


How do you deal with the awkward transitions from one activity to another or a waning interest from kids? It’s time for a dance break! Turn on tunes and let the music work its magic. You can have the little ones help you pick out a few trendy songs beforehand, or you can use child-friendly party playlists that music streaming services offer.


What about a movie?


Wind down a party with a movie. Pick three or four options for kids to vote on, then turn on the movie while you begin the cleanup. Don’t forget to pop some popcorn and get some blankets together to make the experience as cozy as possible (bonus points if you’ve chosen a sing-a-long film).


Keep calm


The most important thing you have to do while hosting your child’s party festivities is to keep your cool. Your attitude and enthusiasm set the tone for the vibe of the party. Your child and their friends probably won’t remember the little bumps in the road that happen along the way, but they’ll remember the joy they’re celebrating at your party.


Hiring Help

Bringing in the party professionals to lead the fun can keep children occupied and give parents a break from working the party. Consider balloon artists, magicians, musicians and storytellers. Fees vary depending on the entertainer and length of time you select. Look for entertainers who let the kids get involved. For example, you may want to ask a magician to provide a scarf and magic wand for each child so that the magician can have kids follow along with a simple magic trick.

Check our party directory in this issue and on our website to find entertainers in our area who specialize in kids’ parties. You can also contact children’s museums, schools or parents you know for ideas and recommendations.
—Michael Vyskocil

About Leenika Belfield-Martin

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