ar comes that special time that every parent either loves or downright dreads: their child’s birthday. Some revel in the opportunity to throw a party, whilst for others it just causes a headache. Nonetheless, every parent wants to throw the perfect party, but the question is, how?
Young Children: 4 – 8 Years of Age
For younger children, those aged 4-8, a great birthday party is pretty simple – they need loud music, sweets, cake and sugary drinks, fun games, and lots of friends to keep them entertained. At this age, they are not conscious of status or popularity, they merely want to have fun with their friends and feel special on their birthday. If you wish to hire out a hall or play-place then that will definitely impress your little guests, but throwing a traditional party at home would be just as much of a success – you may need to spend some time cleaning up the mess afterwards but it’s a much cheaper option for those on a budget. Simple decorations such as paper chains look highly effective, and foods such as finger-sandwiches and jelly and ice-cream would go down a treat. Sundries such as themed paper plates and cups are available widely and cheaply nowadays and these are much safer than grown-up china crockery in a children’s environment. Hiring a magician is an option, but party games such as ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ or ‘musical bumps’ are just as popular as they’ve ever been as they pertain to the fun loving nature of younger children. These games can also be modernized with contextual ideas, such as ‘pin the wart on the Gruffalo’ as opposed to using the traditional image of a donkey.
Older Children: 9 – 12 Years of Age
For older children, roughly aged 9-12, parties become a little more complex. Boys and girls begin to become conscious of each other and your child may well express a wish to have a single-gender party. Furthermore, children at this age seem to favor more active parties, such as paint-balling, roller-skating, bowling, or indoor-skiing. This is because they require more engaging activities (they have quite simply grown out of party games!). All of these kinds of venues can be easily located and many of them have their own in-house party packages, although many have a minimum number of participants so be sure to check the finer details before you commit to a booking.
Teenagers and Young Adults
Teenage parties are usually the most demanding on the parent. Your teenager may well be particularly conscious of aspects such as status and popularity at this time in their life and their party choices may reflect this. Start times become later and guest-lists are usually much larger, so many parents chose to hire a hall rather than having a lot of rowdy youngsters at their home. A DJ is often a popular choice to keep the music up-to-date. Many DJs also supply their own lighting, which will help add to the party atmosphere and reduces the need for a lot of decoration, although age-appropriate balloons are an easy addition.
At this age many children chose to combine parties with someone who has a birthday near theirs’, thus resulting in the party being a bigger event, at a shared cost. It may be a good idea to suggest that your teenage child’s party is themed, adding a fancy dress element or a simple red carpet may be a good idea and help to prevent inhibitions. After all, if everybody looks similar to each other no-one will feel out of place. Another popular choice for teenagers who don’t particularly want a huge disco is to go to the cinema or arrange a restaurant trip with friends. Make sure you book the table and inform the restaurant of your special occasion, as many restaurants offer special additions such as candles and cakes for the birthday boy or girl.
When it comes to organizing killer parties, the needs and requirements of your brood will differ not only from age to age, but from child to child. Most importantly, make sure that you allow your child to have a say in their party and they’ll appreciate you forever!
Al Sharrow had been working as a children’s entertainer for over 5 years before he bought a stake in up-and-coming company Party Bus Essex, which supplies party bus hire to Essex and nearby counties. The fleet is suitable for both kids and adults and has proven to be a great hit with guests, and the team regularly provide themed decor to make the occasion just that little more special.