Good planning can make or break a party, especially when it comes to keeping kids entertained and on track! Leaving too long between activities, making the party itself too long, or simply failing to plan enough things to do can all be easy traps parents fall into. We’re bringing you the best tips about how to make your party a hit- from someone who knows! Experienced entertainer Tony the Magician shares his hard-won lessons about planning the perfect party.
There are many areas you need to consider when planning a party, and most of the important planning will be around the entertainment and activities you’ve lined up for the day.
How long should a party go for?
As an experienced entertainer who has been to a lot of parties, I have been asked many times how a party works, time-wise!
- Kids parties are short, generally around two hours.
- Popular times are 10am to 12 noon or 2 pm to 4 pm on a Saturday or a Sunday. Another option that’s simple is a Friday afternoon after school!
- Deciding whether it’s an afternoon or morning party may also influence where it will be held – at home, at a venue or in a park.
- When you have booked entertainment or games arranged, the duration of the party needs to allow for set up and set down of entertainment
Morning parties vs. Afternoon parties
As an entertainer, I do just as many morning shows as afternoon shows, it just depends on the family’s preferences. Here are some things to consider:
An afternoon party may be more suitable when:
Children have conflicting activities on a Saturday morning (such as school sport). If the birthday child is involved in Saturday morning activities, or their close friends, perhaps an afternoon party may be more suitable. Similarly, some families go to church on Sunday, so an afternoon party would be more suitable to accommodate these commitments.
A morning party may be more suitable when:
Your child and their friends are not so sporty – or it’s not the season to play their preferred sport. As well, having a morning party allows parents to organise a family gathering in the afternoon if they wish. Afternoon shows also allow families to spend time together in the morning, drop their child to the party and go and do some shopping or pursuit for a few hours before they return (or rush out for that last-minute present).
Plan your party around what suits you as a mum, not every child you invite will be able to attend. Check their best friends can make it and organise the rest around you. You cannot please everybody every time!
Choosing a party location
If you’re looking at booking an entertainer for the day (such as a magician), these are the best venues to host your party (in order of preference!):
- Community centre or Scout Hall
- Covered back patio, or clean garage
- Backyard under cover
- Backyard (no cover)
Parks- Parks are popular to host kids parties in general because your house doesn’t get dirty, children can let their hair down and it’s cheap! However, if you decide to have your party at a park, it will limit the entertainment you may be able to book. Many magicians have had a bad experience performing in parks – for example: a rabbit ran away, it rained, wind blew props away, balloons pop on the grass, children are easily distracted, and the list goes on!
Homes– There are a few positives for home venue parties. Anything indoors is a controlled environment for an entertainer to perform their best! It’s weatherproof, fool-proof, rabbit-proof, prop-proof and best of all – the children will be able to concentrate on the show, which is why we are booked in the first place.
Party entertainers and timing activities
- Entertainers generally arrive at the time the invitation states, and may take up to 30 minutes to set up and meet and greet the children as they arrive.If you wish your entertainer to arrive early for any reason it’s best to flag this with them at the time of booking.
- It’s important to know how long the entertainment act you’ve booked will run for, and share the order of events for the day with them. This way they may be able to help things run a bit more smoothly for you and your child. For example, as a magician, my show runs for 45 minutes and if the parent shared the cake-cutting timing with me, I can twist balloons for the kids while they wait to cut the cake – or help with games and piñatas.
- Usually, it takes the same amount of time to pack up as it does to prepare for a show, so allow another 30 minutes for this. One entertainer is more than enough for the kids, so you can save money on jumping castles and face painters by using just one rather than a combination.
- MOST IMPORTANT: The best entertainment books out months in advance! Avoid disappointment by booking the entertainment for your party as far in advance as possible.
Party Entertainment Etiquette
No eating or drinking during entertainment. It’s recommended that you resist feeding the children while they are being entertained. Drinks spill, children cannot clap with food in their hands, and it causes interruptions to the performer’s routine and the show loses momentum, resulting in a weak performance. Save food and drinks for before and after the show.
No talking during the show – for adults or kids! Parents are encouraged to watch the show as much as the children – it creates the perfect setting to perform in. If parents are talking behind children during a performance it can distract the performer and the audience. If it is necessary to talk during a performance, please do it quietly in another room where you can’t be heard.
This information is brought to you by Tony’s Magic Show. Tony is a Children’s Magician in Sydney who provides an unforgettable brand of kids party entertainment. Tony is Licensed to entertain children at birthday celebrations, Holy Communions, christenings, child care centres, libraries and schools.