As you all may have aware these last two weeks I was overwhelmed with preparation of our first kids birthday party. The D-day was last Saturday and the party was awesome. It was celebrated at home and here today I want to share the pain and the gain of planning to doing a successful kids birthday party at home.
For a kids birthday party, or for any party at all, there are only two key success areas: the guest and the host. Both ends should feel the same quality of satisfaction. These are the two things that are uneasy but not impossible.
So when planning a kids birthday we have to see the party from the host’s angle and the guest perspective. From the host’s angle the points are:
1. Who is the birthday boy/girl?
2. What she/he likes?
3. What she/he dislikes?
4. What are her/his habits?
5. How much is the budget?
6. What’s the parent’s idea of the party?
After you get all this information you need to think what you can do to make it real and exceed the host’s (the child and parent) expectation.
1. How are you going to get your supplies?
2. What is the color scheme?
3. When do you need the bigger part to be ready (photo booth, play ground, activities, entertainment)?
4. When do you need to re-confirm and do the final checking?
5. When do you need to make everything ready (goodie bags, decors, invitation, etc.)?
6. How long do you need to set up the venue?
7. Do you need help to set up the venue (manpower) and during the party?
And then of course you need to think about the guest’s perspective.
When you think about guests in a kids birthday party obviously you would think it’s the children. That is wrong. You will have two guests: the children and the parent/adult. If the party is for bigger kids some parents are likely to leave the kids by themselves and pick them up afterwards. But smaller kids are going to have someone, either parents or nanny, by their side during the party. And these adults need to be attended too.
So some things I have learned from doing our first event of kids birthday party last Saturday, which I think will make a successful kids birthday party at home if you follow them, are:
1. Remember the kids nature: play. Kids love to play. It’s their job by nature. So instead of arranging nice chair, table and a stage, provide a small playground. No need to be fancy but should be enough with toys to play with.
2. Provide couple of play activities to keep the kids busy if they don’t hang out at the playground. For example couple of tables filled with lego and play doh. Our tables here were a success. Some girls sit there almost the entire time to try various shape with the doh and lego.
3. Like I said in point one, there is no need to arrange chairs in theatre style, facing a stage with birthday cake because sitting to watch a birthday cake is definitely boring. Even for an adult.
4. Kids won’t stay put in one place for long. So you need to set the lay out flowing without making the kids stuck in one end. For example we had photo booth where the kids gathered for singing happy birthday and blow the candle. And then they moved to the next spot where magician took the show and afterwards moved to another part where small games were played by the MC.
5. Right timing. We have to be able to read the situation and decide when the party should start. If you set the party to be started at four and only two guests have showed don’t push it. Wait until the crowd gathered. And with kids party, singing happy birthday and blowing the candle should be put at the first event before the others. Why? because at this time kids have just started to show, they are still in good spirit of coming to a birthday party. They are still easy to gather.
6. Good MC is a must. This person would provide the red thread for the entire event and help guide the kids from one show to another. This person is also in-charge in providing direction for the adult where to go and what to do whilst the kids are having fun at the party. I have attended a kid’s birthday party recently with luxury setting but so boring, the MC ended up singing local sad song out of tune. There was no focus, no guides and no engaging entertainment. Kids and parents like chicks who lost the mother.
7. The adults should be entertained. The host of the party we organized provided several casual worker to deal with children so the parent can relax and hang out with each other. We told the MC to direct the adult to the other section to enjoy food and beverages whilst the children joined the birthday activities on the other side. Some parents were worried for leaving the children but I told them that we have workers to take care of the children. And besides it wasn’t like the two section was world apart.
8. If done outside you have to make sure there is someone takes guard the gate so no kids can run out to the street.
9. Enough food. It’s better you have too much food than lesser. Guests stuffed with food are better than guests leaving with empty stomach.
10. If done at noon or at hot temperature, make sure you have cold drinks and ice cubes. A lot of them.
11. In the end great decor won’t mean much if the party sucks, boring and lack of food.
I am so glad that the party run smoothly although we did find some obstacles like stupid workers were hard to direct, lazy casuals said no plates for the burgers and tried to enforced me to use carton box on the buffet. She was lucky because she was employed by the host. If I were her boss I would have sent her home right away without paid.
Also the birthday boy hates birthday party so much. He hates being photographed, he hates all the noise and he hates balloon. So we set the party without songs from audio system and MC had to use her own strength to voice out instead of using mic with sound system. At first we insisted to still use balloon for the runway only (the welcome path of red carpet that lead to the photo booth/backdrop) but when the boy made complaint we decided to put them aside.
An incident happened when the boy came out to hold a balloon that was left in a corner and it popped. He run into the house and refused to go out to his party. So we had to remove all the balloon from the house and only then he wanted to join his own party.
I was glad to hear the good comments from moms who felt the relax and great ambience that let them eat and enjoy without having to attend to their kids all the time whilst in the party.
And I am glad the first event was finally over.
I am hoping that the little promotional card we distributed to the parents that day can score us some more gigs.
Here are some pictures of what we did for the event (mostly handmade by ourselves):
Do you have anymore idea to consider to make a successful kids birthday party at home? Shoot!