Lavish Children’s Parties

Going over the top with Children’s Parties

As time goes on parents are being placed under a lot of pressure to give children a good party and kids parties are becoming increasingly lavish as a result. So much so that it can become a real stress for parents to organise. Children’s Parties can already be a stress without the unnecessary pressure of trying to make it a lavish event that will  keeps up with increasing  expectations.

There seems to be a growing trend that you have to offer more and more at kids parties and make it thoroughly creative and different form the last one.

We think it should be remembered that kids parties are exactly that – they’re for kids. Not the parents. If you want children to enjoy the party then keep it simple.  That’s it. Do be creative and make it fun and imaginative. But that doens’t mean you have to spend loads of money.

Usually it’s the parties that don’t involve spending too much that turn out the most successful in terms of kids enjoying them.

More often than not, if a party has too many activities, even after all the stressing of keeping up with Joneses, the kids don’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as they would do if it was just kept simple.

 

Case Study

A BBC Three programme was aired last year showing four case studies of parents that went really over the top with their kids parties, spending literally thousands of pounds on children that were only seven years old. Whilst the party was probably done with good intentions, to give her son a good time – it ended in being a total waste of money that the kids didn’t enjoy. The mum had turned her barn into a wild west tavern with buckaroo soft play pools, she had hired tractors, bought stacks of hays,  entertainers, performers, etc… Kids didn’t know what to concentrate on.

She then found after spending all that money on tonnes of activities for the kids inside, the kids didn’t even want to play with them or join in. They wanted to go out and enjoy the sunshine. The mum had to call out to the kids to try and get them to come back inside but they didn’t want to. What a waste of money.

 

 

This is an extreme example but parents do tend to try and lavish their kids with lots of activities and it’s not as fun as if you had a straightforward children’s entertainer.

The other problem is it puts a lot of pressure on other Mums to try and compete. Or if they can’t compete financially they find it stressful to find less costly ways to put on lavish parties.

Also the more complicated the party, the more there is to organise and the less likely you as a parent are to enjoy the party, or see your kids enjoy it. After all if you’re doing it for the kids shouldn’t you be able to watch them have fun.

Do email your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

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Tips on choosing a children’s entertainer

Tips on choosing a children’s entertainer

Nowadays there is so much choice for children’s parties. You are pulled in different directions for what to go for and how do you know who is any good and who is not?

If you can get a recommendation then that’s the best thing. Chat to some other parents about what they did in the past and see if they can give you any contact numbers.

If that’s not an option or you want something different you need to start your search form scratch. As a general rule look for testimonials on entertainer’s websites.

Start by asking your child what they’d actually like. e.g. a magician, clown, pirate party, princess party, disco, etc… then you can narrow your search.

The key to a successful party though is to keep things simple. Don’t feel you have to lavish the kids with loads of activities like bouncy castles, face painting, an entertainer, piñata, etc… Kids want to have fun, yes. But I have been too so many kids’ parties where there has been too much choice for the kids all in one go and they don’t know what to concentrate on. Parties for children should be simple and make sure, if you do have different activities, they are on at different times and not competing for the kid’s attention.

The great thing about a children’s entertainer is they should offer a diverse spectrum of activities in one show, without having to need anything else.

Different Options to consider:

Babies and toddlers:

A great combination of activities is parachute games, nursery rhymes and sing along songs, large props, puppets, bubbles, music and balloon modelling.

General Entertainer/ magician:

For ages from 3 up to about 8, entertainers should offer things like magic, games, dancing/ disco, balloon modelling, puppetry, prizes for the kids, comedy and gags, themes, bubbles and lots and lots of silliness, energy and fun. Some entertainers only offer a few of these things but you should really opt for someone that offers the whole package otherwise too much of the same activity can lead to the children getting bored and losing focus.

Themes:

It’s always fun to have a themed party but still keep it simple. Often parents want to create an elaborate story in the theme and pack it with tonnes of creative ideas. Young children can only concentrate on so much. Creative – yes but elaborate – no. Let the entertainer talk to you about what they can do to incorporate the theme. But it’s always good to still keep the same core elements you’d expect in a children’s party like magic, games, dancing, puppets, balloon modelling, prizes, etc…  More on theme later on in the blog.

Clowns:

It’s really nice to have a clown but it’s best to only do this for ages 4 and up or else they might get scared of the face paint and nose, etc…

Again though you should expect the activities included to involve much of what is described above.

Discos:

Great for older kids who have maybe seen enough of the magic and puppetry routines and want to be way more active, jumping around and dancing.

Snow and bubble machines are a great thing to have here. Kids go crazy over it.

Face Painting:

Always consider this as an optional extra. It’s never essential. And do remember if you get a face painter you need to have something else going on to entertain the kids whilst it’s happening. Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people we get asking us for someone to do balloons and magic and games, and still be able to face paint all the kids at the same time.

Drama Parties/ Acting Parties:

These are becoming more and more popular. If your kid goes to a drama club you’ll have some idea of what to expect. The party takes the form of mainly games and dancing, with the incorporation of a simple and fun story that progresses with each activity that is played in the party.

If you want some great ideas for parties for children  take a look at some of the choices here.


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Kids Party Food Ideas

Kids Party Food ideas

It really should be emphasised that this needn’t be an area to stress over. Don’t think you have to prepare a banquet, as often kids aren’t all that interested in the food anyway. It can be infuriating for parents after all the expense and work they put in, but after 10 minutes of refuelling, kids are often more eager to get back to having fun and playing games.

You do still want them to eat something though so try to keep all the food bite size. It’s so much easier and kids are far more likely to eat the food than if you give them a full meal. We see parents giving out whole plates of fish and chips or spaghetti at kids parties and they hardly touch it.

General ideas you might like are:

Savoury: Crisps, sausage rolls, pizza or sandwhiches

Veg: cherry tomatoes,  cucumber stick (maybe have some dips to go with it)

Fruit: strawberries, grapes, chopped up banana), kiwi slices, pineapple chunks, etc.

Sweets and sugar options: Cupcakes, chocolate buttons or chocolate M&Ms, skittles, maltesers, biscuits, etc…

Desserts: jelly, choc ices, lolly pops,

Birthday cake! – Kind of goes without saying doesn’t it.

Drinks: Any juice is fine – orange, apple, ribena – juice cartons make life a lot simpler for you.

Creative party Food ideas

If you want to get a bit more creative though here are some creative party food ideas I’ve put together.

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Step by step guide to organising your children’s party!


Step by step guide to organising your children’s party!

For many mums the task of organising a children’s party is a very daunting one, especially if this is the first kid’s party you are doing. Being a professional organiser of children’s parties myself, I see parents falling into a lot of the same pitfalls time and time again. These really can be easily avoided.

Below is a step by step guide on organising your little one’s big day:

The date

The first thing to do is obviously sort out the date. This sounds straight forward but make sure there isn’t another children’s party happening or likely to happen on that day otherwise you’ll be competing for guests. You also want to try to avoid school holidays and half terms as a lot of parents take their children away around then.

Venue

Once you’ve got your date set, you obviously need a venue. You can of course have it at home but children’s parties can get very messy in the house. If you have a good sized room it should be fine.  But if you want to avoid extra stress, a medium sized hall might be better. Obvious places to look are church halls. Other places to try though are schools with sports halls for hire. You might find your local council has a page on their website with venues to hire too. Some cafe’s and restaurants often have separate venue hire that are often used for children’s parties or even leisure centres.

Children’s entertainer

Once you’ve got your venue the next thing is to get yourself a children’s entertainer. You can do it yourself to save some money, but make sure you are confident at keeping kids happy for 2 hours and have lots of different activities under your belt. You need lots of diverse activities for a children’s party. Here are a great list of party games for you to check out.

However, an entertainer is becoming more and more the norm. Entertainers know what they’re doing (the good ones anyway) and it does take the stress off. For ideas and help with getting a children’s entertainer see my other blog ‘tips on choosing a children’s entertainer’ or you can take a look at some of these options for kids’ parties.

To get a good entertainer you need to book well in advance – about a month in advance is recommended so don’t leave it too late.

Invites

You’ve now got the main elements sorted. It just leaves for you to send the invites out. With all kids’ parties you should aim to do this at least 3-4 weeks in advance. Sadly RSVPS are always a headache. You will rarely manage to get rsvps back promptly so do be prepared for this. But feel free to give parents a gentle nudge if they’ve not replied about 2 weeks before the party.

 

The day of the party!

We see loads of parents wishing they’d been able to enjoy seeing their kids have fun and take photos of the day but they were too busy in the kitchen sorting all the food out. It’s a real shame if you can’t see your kids having all that fun. Try to get a few friends or mums of the other children to stay and help you with the food during the party. With more hands on deck you should have time to take photos too instead of stressing in the kitchen.


Food

Let’s face it. It’s a children’s party. Kids want sweets, crisps and cake!  But don’t just pile on the e numbers! A balanced mixture of junk food and healthy options are what you should aim for. The key is to keep the food bite size. For general ideas on party food see my other blog on‘kids party food ideas’.

Party bags

It seems to be the norm to have something for kids to go away with at the end of a party but it doesn’t have to be a party bag. You can easily get away with giving out a piece of cake and a toy. Some parents wrap up a small kids book. A good children’s entertainer will make sure they give out prizes to the kids and balloons. So you can get away with just letting the kids go home with that and they will be more than happy.

However if you do go for a party bag, keep it simple and don’t feel you have to spend the earth.  There are loads of shops you can go to for party bag goodies or go online for party bag shops.

That’s it. You’ve done it. Organising parties for children needn’t be stressful and we hope you even find it fun. Hope you’ve found this post useful and good luck with the organising!!



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Kids say the funniest things!

Kid’s say the funniest things. And at children’s birthday parties it’s no exception. There innocence and obliviousness to what goes on around them makes them so open and honest to say what ever their thinking at any given time. And often what they say is very funny. Being a professional kid’s entertainer (known as Froggle), I have stumbled upon a number of hilarious moments that children have said during my children’s entertaining days.

The most recent of which was when I asked a 5 year old birthday boy if he was married.

To which he replied ‘No I’m only 5. You can’t get married until you’re a grown up.’

‘You’re absolutely right.’ I said. ‘How silly of me.’

I then pointed to one of the girl’s in the crowd and asked him if he wanted to marry her when he was older. To which I got back the response. ‘No silly! When I get married I’m going to marry a boy.’

I couldn’t help but laugh at the kid’s response.

There have been many quirky moments I have stumbled upon during kids birthday parties. I hear of children’s entertainers coming back with all sorts of funny stories. I’ve had one kid run up to me and thought it would be very funny to tell me that he wasn’t wearing any underpants under his trousers!  -Not sure why he felt the need to tell me that but anyway.

A mum asked me to gather the kids round a table before bringing out the cake one time. She wanted it to be a surprise so we didn’t tell them it was time for cake.  As everyone was gathered, the lights went out I asked the kids. ‘Wow the lights have gone out everyone. What do you think that could mean?’

‘POWERCUT.’ shouted one of the kids! – I love the kid’s rational thinking.

I love my job and I love making kids laugh, and more often than not they make me laugh too.If you’re going to be a children’s entertainer you have to love being silly. Fortunately I do and little moments like these just add to the highlights of the job.

I think I must get the more enjoyable side of the job than most as I have heard of children’s entertainers being spat on or even bitten! Yikes.

I have managed to put my foot in it once or twice though.

After making a really impressive bicycle balloon for a birthday girl, amongst many other balloons like flowers, fairy wings and a monkey in a tree, I asked her, in front of all the kids and grownups watching, if she’d like me to give the balloons to her mum to look after. There was an awkward silence and the girl looked at me rather crossly, and said. ‘My mummy’s dead!’ – Yikes! How was I to know? No one told me. I should add though that she grabbed the balloon and very quickly had a smile on her face again as she scooted off to give the balloons to her Dad.

I did a magic trick with a girl that was 5 years old. The trick involved making water disappear from inside a jug. We pour water into the jug, we say the magic words. ‘Banana Pants!’ At this point I ask  ‘a very brave volunteer’ to let me pour the jug of water over their head to see if the water has vanished. If the trick works then the water will vanish and they won’t get wet. If it doesn’t work then they may not need bath time tonight. The girl bravely volunteered and when I put to her the possibility of her getting wet. She retorted ‘ I’ll let you do it but I tell you Froggle if you get me wet I won’t be happy!’ Yikes! This kid spoke like it had the mental age of a grown up. Scary! Needless to say I didn’t get her wet!

One kid, decided to get into stand up comedy early. During tea time he said ‘Froggle I want to tell you a joke.’

‘Why did the toilet roll go down the hill?’

Answer: ‘So he could get to the bottom.’

What was amusing at the time was the kid stood up on a chair to get the centre of attention and felt the need to point to his bum to emphasise the punch line.

Needless to say, being a kid’s entertainer is a lot of fun. It’s not for everyone. I certainly didn’t think I’d be doing kids birthday parties for a living. I trained as an actor at first but now I wouldn’t look back. Hearing the funny things kids say at each party is one of the many reasons that makes it so much fun. You never know what’s coming.

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