Kids’ parties are an important way to celebrate milestones and promote socialization among kids. With all of their benefits, however, there are just as many challenges. A group of kids can be boisterous and chaotic at the best of times, and will often be even more so during the excitement of a party. It’s also not uncommon for accidents to happen — spills, broken vases, and scraped knees are a couple of outcomes parents anticipate.
In the chaos, it can certainly be stressful for parents and caregivers to keep the party and its attendees organized. However, it isn’t impossible, as long as you keep the following steps in mind.
Establish Clear Rules
The first step in successfully organizing a children’s party is to set clear ground rules. This will be most effective if the ground rules are conveyed to parents or caregivers beforehand — such as when invitations are sent out.
These could be rules such as how to dress and how activities will be structured. Ideally, the rules for each activity should be regularly reintroduced as you transition to each new activity.
Simplistic signage can also be helpful, although the signage will depend on the age group of the kids. For example, if you’re planning a scavenger hunt or an obstacle course, signs such as “Start here!” with an arrow may be useful for an older group of children, while signage with pictures and arrows may be helpful for younger children.
Designate Areas for Activities
By designating certain areas for different activities, it will be easier to clear previously used activity areas. It will also give the kids a tangible indication of the shift in activities. By moving them from one area to another, you can demonstrate the last activity is over and a new one is beginning. Therefore, you will likely not need to reiterate that the last activity is over and nudge them into shifting gears as often. Different areas may be designated for different games, entertaining demonstrations, and eating.
Hire a Professional Entertainer
Hiring a professional entertainer can help you keep a children’s party organized in many different ways. These entertainers can keep the children engaged and distracted, while also working with the parents or caregivers to lead the children through activities.
Professional entertainers like party clowns are especially helpful because they typically specialize in entertaining children and utilize multiple entertainment methods. While such entertainers can help parents and caregivers lead the children through activities, they are not babysitters. Stay present or find another adult to provide a helping hand when needed.
Plan Structured Group Activities
Structured activities can be a useful tool to keep children on-task and relatively self-organized. Sports and games are common examples. Ideally, these activities should involve interaction between the kids to maintain the party atmosphere and promote socialization between the children. While structured activities can reduce the need for oversight from parents and caregivers, some supervision will still be needed for safety and to avoid any disputes.
Keep Them Engaged
No matter what activities you plan for a party, they must be highly engaging. The best way you can do this is by providing age-appropriate activities that align with the kids’ interests. You can lead typical kids’ games or even rent equipment for special interactive party games. You also should not be afraid to shift gears into another activity if one isn’t a huge hit with the children.
Get a Bounce House
A bounce house is a great way to keep kids entertained while remaining in a confined area. It is also a great means of burning off energy. They are also a great stage for imaginative play or “make-believe”, which has a multitude of psychological benefits for children.
Not only does it provide a space for children to express their creativity and language skills with others, but it’s also a great way to cultivate emotional self-regulation, according to a variety of studies collected by the Scientific American.
In a bounce house, kids can fly through the sky like Peter Pan or team up together to defeat a villain as their favorite Marvel character. Encouraging kids to play make-believe in a bounce house will keep kids occupied, but it will also give you time to handle other matters at the party. Keep your eye on the kids throughout though, to avoid any accidents if the kids get too rough with one another.
Keep Them Fed
A children’s party can burn a lot of energy for everyone involved, which often leads to a lot of hungry kids. Any parent knows that a hungry kid and a grumpy kid are one and the same. As such, always provide plenty of food. Similarly, keep plenty of drinks at hand so kids can stay hydrated.
You should also have a plan on how you plan to feed everyone. You can do this by calling individual groups to get food, having them form a line, and writing their names on their plates and cups. It can also be a logistical challenge to prepare food for so many children, so it may be worth considering buying in bulk or renting concession machines. The latter can also be a fun and interesting addition to the party.
Give Them Objectives
By giving the children objectives, you can keep them goal-oriented, and therefore encourage them to stay focused. Objectives can be related to individual activities, or may span the entirety of the party. For example, a game like, “Capture the Flag” has a clear and tangible objective. Meanwhile, some parties could employ a party-spanning activity such as a scavenger hunt, which encourages the children to find items or fulfill goals throughout the day.