There is nothing more important than planning a children’s party. Nothing? No really. Most children’s parties that are a super-sized success became so because of great planning. And most of the children’s parties that have fallen completely into the water have fallen into the water because of planning.
There are three options for a children’s party:
- You stay at home and take care of everything all by yourself
- You stay home and hire an entertainer.
- You go to a zoo or big playground.
Planning a children’s party at home
I know far too little about that third option as a child DJ, so I’m going to talk mostly about options 1 and 2.
I know parents who look forward to their children’s parties, but I also know parents who have nightmares about it. If you fall under the category of nightmares, be sure to read on because most nightmares are caused by lack of proper planning. Good planning consists of several steps.
Children’s party planning step 1. The invitation
You begin, of course, with the invitation. Think carefully about what you put on it and what time you want the children to come in. What could be the consequences if the children come in? You want the kids all in within 15 minutes. Then fairly little happens, but those are the moments when something can happen. For example, a crying child, which in turn takes longer to bring in. That’s not pleasant at a children’s party. So make sure they are all in within 15 minutes.
Suppose the children’s party starts at 1 p.m., put in that they can walk in between a quarter to one and one o’clock. There are always children who come earlier and children who come later. Grandparents should also come in between those times, or the children will be distracted again, and that’s not what you want.
Are the children going to have lunch then or have they already had lunch. Manage this. Does it include lunch or not if you have a children’s party starting at 1 p.m.? Write it on the invitation: we will have lunch or the children will have lunch at home. If you want to avoid this, put on the invitation that the party begins at 2 p.m.
If your children’s party lasts until six o’clock, state clearly on the invitation whether the children will have something to eat or if they will eat at home.
Children’s party planning step 2: The caDANS
Keep a cadence in your party, managing the children’s arc of tension. First a tightly guided activity and then a freer activity, such as jumping on a bouncy castle. Plan breaks: then give them something to drink or eat or help them to the bathroom if necessary. At a children’s party, you really need to direct the children! After all, they are not all doing it on their own yet.
Everything lasts shorter in real life than in your schedule
Watch your time in planning. Some parents think eating a wiener sandwich takes an hour. Trust me: eating two frankfurters sandwiches takes no more than 6 minutes! Then you keep time at the end of the party.
As a DJ myself, I have at least 30 games in my head. Of those, I do maybe 6. With children as young as eight, for example, I always put in a quiz for variety. Such a quiz may be nicely broad, for example, not only about soccer players, but also, for example, about related topography. Example: which city is closer to Paris: Barcelona or Madrid. That way you involve everyone at the party. Not only in the games, but also in the music.
Step 3 when planning a children’s party: The bouncy castle
For example, if you have rented a bouncy castle for your party, that bouncy castle is often already on when the kids come in. And that bouncy castle is then always very gently calling to the children, “Come here, come here, come jump on me!” If you’ve figured out that you’re not going to use the bouncy castle for another hour in your schedule, it’s not helpful that the thing is standing around distracting the kids the whole time.
The beauty of such a bouncy castle: it can also be turned off!
It doesn’t drain so quickly that you have to fill it up all over again afterwards. Then when it comes time for the kids to jump, you can make it a whole event again, with countdowns. The children see the bouncy castle rise, perhaps seeing it for the first time. Then you count down until they can get on the pillow and then they can have a good time jumping.
Tip: always have the vendor secure the bouncy castle (and check before he leaves), because there are always children who are going to try to push the bouncy castle over. And that, of course, can be dangerous.
Storm track at a children’s party
Of course, an assault course is also great fun to rent, but always stay tuned for that, too. If the children sit on it unattended, accidents can happen. The other day I was at a children’s party with an assault course and a dangerous situation arose: the children had climbed to the highest point and were tilting to one side to see if it could fall over. The assault course was four meters high. And so that one almost fell over. I took the kids off and made it a game: two by two they went over and the winner got to report to me. This went on like that for a while. The birthday child’s mother came up to me and said, “You do that quite nicely, I’ll take it from you, then you can play music again.” She stayed with it for five minutes, and soon it became a problem again.
So manage the bouncy house and assault course you hire, stay there to keep an eye on it and secure the objects.
Planning your children’s party in brief
In short, when planning a children’s party, keep the following points in mind:
Manage the expectations of the other parents at the invitation
Create cadence in your party with tighter and looser activities and breaks
Secure bouncy castles and other dangerous objects such as storm chutes or have them secured by the supplier and do not leave them unattended.
Are you in the mood for a fun children’s party? Then get in touch and I’ll help you plan and execute a successful children’s party!