So what are you going to do to entertain twenty kids for two or three hours? If you think all you have to do is drag out a few toys, or buy a cheap version of “pin the tail on the donkey,” then you are headed for a hard time. Having a kid’s party without organized activities can lower your net worth in a hurry. If you simply turn the kids loose without a plan, you will be asking questions later:
- How did the cat get shaved?
- Why is there lipstick on the walls?
- How did the TV remote end up in the garbage disposal?
- Who pitched all my pots and pans up on the roof?
Do yourself a big favor, take a few minutes and make a plan for your party.
I recommend a start, and end time for children’s birthday parties.
I also recommend keeping it short, for example 2 or 3 hours max. If you have a short party, people are more likely to show up on time. Make sure when you invite people, let them know about the ending time. If you are having the party in your home, determine which rooms are out-of-bounds for the kids, and let them know. Encourage the parents to stay for the party by having food and snacks, and a place for them to sit and talk. This is a great way to get to know your neighbors too. By having the parents at the party, you are reducing the chances that little Billy is going to misbehave.
Bounce houses can be fun at birthday parties, but make sure they are supervised.
Bounce houses are a great way to say “The party is here,” plus they can be a lot of fun. Just make sure you have an adult posted at the entrance who will monitor the action and enforce the rules. Don’t let the big kids jump with the little kids. Don’t let the bounce house get too crowded. Don’t let the kids run into each other. Don’t allow anyone in the bounce house if the wind picks up too much.
I highly recommend hiring professional party vendors to entertain the kids.
Depending on who you hire, you can expect to spend $100 to $150 per hour for a children’s entertainer. Some popular activities are face painting, balloon twisting, magic shows, arts and crafts etc. I recommend going on the Internet and look for a children’s entertainer who actually has a web site. This is most likely a person who has experience. Just going to “Craig’s List” and hiring someone cheap is a really bad idea. There is no telling who will show up (If they show up at all).
Planning your child’s birthday party in advance has a lot of advantages.
I have had people wait until the last-minute to call me for information and prices. Here is what you need to understand. Planning your party a couple of weeks before will allow you to have a better choice of available vendors. Usually the best party entertainers are already booked if you wait too long. Also your party could be a flop if you don’t invite people early. You might end up with a party and no guests. I have actually worked a party where the only child that was there was the birthday person. A good way to invite people is through Facebook. You can use their “event” section to invite and track responses online.
Is your birthday party outside? Have a contingency plan.
Be able to move your party indoors in case the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans. Don’t invite 75 people to your backyard party if you can’t fit all of them into your house. Don’t let bad weather destroy your party plans.
Is your birthday party on a tight budget? Here are some thoughts.
If you can’t afford everything you would like for your kid’s birthday party, and you have to cut back, I recommend cutting back on decorations rather than entertainment. The entertainment is what people are going to remember, and without it you are left with a boring party, no matter how well you decorated.
Get contact information for all the parents.
Make sure when/if a parent drops off their kid, you have their phone number. Plus make sure that person understands when the party is over. If you drop the ball on this, your party could turn into an 8 hour babysitting adventure.
I hope this information is useful.
This article was written by John Fite, owner of Checkers Entertainment. A children’s entertainment company servicing the Dallas / Fort Worth and North Texas area.