Saturday, August 27, 2005

Planning a great children's party

What's the key to a great children's party?

That's a great question. Many parties that are thrown for children are built around the notion that kids will play well together and entertain themselves. Thus the advent of Chuck-E-Cheese style parties. The draw for parents is that they have minimal time investment, attractive for busy moms and dads or those who are creatively challenged.

The problem? They're not special. They're not memorable. The one-size-fits-all approach hasn't ever really worked well for anything. Children are unique. They have divergent interests and attention spans. Some are creative, some are talkers, some just want to run and play.

The solution? Plan a real party. I hear you saying "you don't understand." I know it's tough. You're busy. You have to work. You have to take care of everyone. You have community obligations. You have church obligations. You have to sleep. That's what makes it Special. The gift of your time is the most meaningful of all. Taking time to plan a unique party, tailored to your child - that memory will last a lifetime.

It takes about 10 hours to effectively plan a children's party. That's 2 weeks of lunch breaks. First decide on a theme that really interests your child. Decide on a location that will work for you, then set a date. Send your invitations early (3 weeks is good), then set a day about3 days in advance to follow-up on those who haven't RSVP'd (earlier if you have catering to confirm). Be creative with your activity plans, include 1-2 arrival activities to keep early and on-time arrivals entertained while you wait for everyone to get there. Plan 1 or more craft activities (even boys like crafts), especially something personalized with each child's name. Be sure to plan at least 2-6 active games, always plan for more than you need!

Plan refreshments that take very little prep time and/or can be prepared in advance. It's sometimes a good idea to hire a professional entertainer, like a clown to do twisty balloons or face painting.

Make your list for shopping and plan where you need to go. If you're shopping on your lunch break this is double-important! Ask a one or more friends to help you on the day of the party. It's always good to have an extra person who can make a run to the store for that one last thing.

If you still feel overwhelmed, call on a professional. Our company takes care of all the planning, invitations, RSVP tracking, decorating, running the games and activities and clean up. All for less than you'd expect!

Happy planning!


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