After many years of organising and providing entertainers for children’s parties in Essex and nation wide: please let us help you by passing on our experience with some useful tips to make your party as successful as possible. Most of this is common sense but sometimes parents get caught up in organising and miss some of the pitfalls that can occur when planning a party.
Choosing your date
Avoid clashes with other events (school fairs, other parties, holidays, cup finals etc) it would be awful to organise your party and no-one can make it.
The parties here!
Hang some balloons out side your house or hall. This will let your guests know where the party is and help your entertainer find your venue.
Children love getting presents but don’t let them open them till they get home as they will spend time playing with the presents and could lose part of a gift, or over enthusiastic friends may break something causing upset before the party is even underway. Place a table in one part of the room and get guests to place them there when they arrive.
Keep party food as simple as possible and don’t make too much! Buffets can be messy; it is much easier to give a child a plate of food or a party box. Children enjoy this as they do not depend on the adults and it makes them feel grown up. It is also quicker than queuing for food and makes for less waste and is easier to clean up and is more cost effective.
Name Badges & contact details
It’s a good idea to supply name badges/stickers for the children as they arrive, as this helps you find out who’s arrived and who hasn’t turned up. It also helps you and the entertainer if you can call them by their first names. Always take contact details of adults that are not staying incase of emergencies.
A Party at home or in a hall?
A party at home can be great fun, but just think what 20 children running around will do to your home furnishings. If you have the room, don’t mind mess, have understanding neighbours and you invite a sensible number of children to fit your space, then your party will be a success. Try to ensure if possible that an entertainer has a parking space near your house as unloading will take longer and may delay your party if they have to walk with equipment backwards & forwards to your house.
A village hall or a room locally with good facilities such as kitchen heating and parking spaces for all can make for a stress free party as all of the above problems should then not affect you. Also you can invite more guests without overcrowding. A hall will usually let you have setting up and clearing up time, which you should find out about when booking the venue.
Far too many parties are spoilt by going on for too long. Two hours is ideal for a really successful party for children age between 3 and 10.
There must be an adult in the room at all times to assist any child who may need the bathroom etc. This is now a child protection law.
Your Adult Guests
Adults are more than welcome at a child’s party. However remember that you are paying good money for a children’s entertainer. Try to encourage the adults to watch and enjoy the magic too. Try not to allow them to just sit at the back and talk. It can be very distracting for the children and your children’s entertainer if adults are making unreasonable noise, or moving about while the show is on.
Don’t be surprised if your children’s entertainer asks them diplomatically to be quiet. Just imagine if adults were out watching a show and a group of children were talking at the back, the adults would soon tell them to be quiet!
Babies and small children at parties
Under three’s should be supervised at all times as a hall full of children all shouting out magic words, disco music and bursting balloons can frighten very small children. Try not to let toddlers run around as this can be potentially very dangerous and distracting for the other children.
Try to avid giving out drinks or sweets during a magic show as this will distract from the show and focus the children on eating and the possibility of spilling drinks and losing the children’s interest that the entertainer has secured. Also if a guest arrives late with a present don’t take the birthday child away from the show as all the other children will want to look or follow. Let the late comer join the crowd and they can give their present at a later time.
Joint birthday parties
Joint parties are a great idea. You could get together with your child’s friends and have group party and save on cost by sharing the expense of food, hall hire and entertainment and your child can share the fun with close friends.
Squeakers and balloons
Save any blowers, squeakers and balloons till the end as they could ruin your party. I have seen parents to the point of nervous break down as a hall full of children all blowing squeakers and jumping on balloons is even too much to bear for even a saint! Most children love balloons but don’t leave balloons on the floor as some small children get frightened by loud bangs. Hang them up out of reach and then give them out at the end as leaving presents.
Put squeakers in party bags so the children can serenade their parents on the way home!
Hire professional entertainers (we would say that wouldn’t we!) The one thing a child remembers about their party is the entertainment. They may forget what food they had or what they were wearing but they will remember if the entertainer was good or bad.
Professional suppliers have a reputation to live up to and are less lightly to let you down. A professional will help and guide you and give you advice that can save you money, and if an entertainer gets sick they will find you an appropriate replacement. Recommendation is probably the best way of acquiring an entertainer. We get most of our work this way. Speak to other parents who have had parties or talk to schools and play groups who have had entertainers. They should be able to recommend who is good and who is not.
Ensure that your entertainer or supplier has public liability insurance as this will protect you and your guests in the unlikely event of any problems.
Bouncy castle can be great fun but must be supervised at all times. Public liabilities insurance will only cover accidents if the castle is faulty not if children perform acrobatics or stunts, or if the inflatable is too overcrowded. If you book a castle for indoor use make sure it will fit in the room you require it in. check the dimensions of the castle being provided and the height of the ceiling in the room it is to be set in.
Bouncy castles work very well with a magician or children’s disco and can compliment each other as long as the castle is turned off when the magician or disco is performing as this is too distracting due to noise and split the audience into choosing what entertainment to focus on.
- The cake
- Leave a table spare to put the presents on to be enjoyed at the end of the party
- Party bags pre packed
- Have your smartphone and video cameras charged
- Matches to light the candles, extra serviettes for the birthday cake
- Kitchen roll and cloths for spillages, wipes for sticky hands and faces
- Extra party bags for siblings who may stay unexpectedly
- Plenty of refuse sacks for all the rubbish!
Have a great party!