28 June 2017

Party Entertainment - Made Simple

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Although it may feel a little daunting, holding a fantastic party for your child can be easy. I've assumed that you can find a venue, send invitations, and prepare some food (you won't need that much). If you follow these rules, your kids will have a brilliant time, and so will you!

How long should the party last?

1-2 years old: 1-11/2 hours
3-4 years old: 11/2-2 hours
5-6 years old: 2-3 hours
7, 8, 9 years old: 2 - 31/2 hours


How many guests should we invite?
Try to keep the numbers down - ten to fifteen kids is plenty for a party at home. Up to thirty if you plan to hire a church or village hall. Have at least one adult helper per six children.

Themed Parties
There are lots of great ideas: Pirates; Magic; Mermaids; Jungle Party; Dinosaurs; Fairies; Football; Fancy Dress; or your child's favourite TV character. Obtain themed accessories from one of the many party goods suppliers, or get the kids to help make them. Ask the guests to wear something to suit the theme if they like, but make it clear that it's optional.

Professional entertainers
A professional entertainer will make your party really special. There is a lot of choice - a magician, a puppeteer, a balloon twister, juggler, clown, or a music or art workshop and more besides. Call well in advance to check availability. Most can offer a show within your party, or will run the whole party if you prefer.

Activities
Avoid competitive games if the kids are under 5. Vary energetic games with more passive ones. Make sure to include one game where all the kids get a prize, for example, pass the parcel, treasure hunt, or a piñata - a Mexican game in which the kids take turns to beat a cardboard jar full of sweets with a stick, until the jar breaks and the candies fall out. These can now be obtained as treasure chests, animals, pirates, and many other varieties. Kids LOVE this game! Keep the sweets to a minimum and include some healthy snacks, so the kids don't get too strung out on sugar.

Plan more games than you need, this way if some games don't work out, you can abandon them and quickly move on. Some suggestions:

Mummy wrap (5 years+)
Buy one loo roll per child and some cheap sticky tape from your local pound shop. Divide the kids into teams, with one adult helper per team. The kids have to wrap the adults in loo roll as best they can in 5, 6, or 7 minutes. They can use tape to stick the loo roll on if they need it. Prizes for the neatest looking mummy, and the best-covered mummy. NB: Your adult volunteers will get very warm.

Balloon games
Various relay games can easily be played with balloons. Teams, standing in lines, can pass a balloon over their heads, between their legs, etc. The last one then runs to the front of the team and again begins passing the balloon. For older kids, a balloon-bursting race is lots of fun.

Ha Ha and Rumbletummy
The players sit in a circle, and one child says 'Ha' as seriously as possible. The next player must say 'Ha ha', the next 'Ha ha ha' and so on. Anyone who laughs has to stand outside the circle, and can pull funny faces (without touching any of the players) to make the other kids laugh. Rumbletummy is the same, except the players lie on the floor at right angles, with each child's head resting on another's tummy. When one player's tummy starts shaking with laughter, it can become very infectious!

For a cheap source of more ideas, try Collins Gem: Family & Party Games, and/or obtain the Early Learning Centre CD: Sing & Play, for pre-recorded games such as Simon Says, Musical Bumps, and Pass the Parcel (suitable for all ages up to about 8, but you can join in too!)

Whatever you decide to do for your kid's party, remember:

. Have your video camera at the ready

. Be prepared to make changes if necessary

. Name badges, especially useful at larger parties

. Most parties nowadays end with all the kids receiving a party bag, so that they have something to go home with - for example; a little present, a small bag of sweets, and a balloon

. You probably won't need it, but don't forget a first-aid kit for emergencies

. Plan your child's party several weeks in advance, and you will have lots of fun; and that means the kids will have fun too

. ...and don't forget Grandma, Grandpa, and other family members who may want to help, and who will thoroughly enjoy the party as well!

Party Entertainment Made Simple

By Doug Roberts (Potty the Pirate - children's party entertainer)

Contact 01273 220299


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