On occasions, due to ages of the children and numbers invited, having a party at home is just not practical; growing boys and girls need more space as they become (over) excited at the prospect of spending 2 to 3 hours in the company of their peers!
Add to this the need for space for food and other equipment and you can see why more and more people are opting to hire local venues for children’s parties. So, before you do anything – order the cake and find various bits and pieces of themed party supplies – take a moment to find the right space for the party…
The options: the venue
It only takes a cursory glance and you will be amazed at what is on offer on out there in terms of space for hire…
The BIG question is this: are you self-catering or do you want the venue to do it for you? Clearly, your answer to this question will inform your choice of venue.
There are some places that do offer a party experience, with food thrown in, from the local zoo to the ‘petting’ farm. Other places will also offer various packages, but check what it included. You will more than likely be given a price per head, so your party of 20 guests could actually end up costing you a lot of partying cash… but, for some, the advantage of turning up and having everything done for you is too good an opportunity to pass off!
If you are self-catering, organising the entertainment and generally hosting the whole thing yourself, then you may find you have more options:
- Church or community halls – usually a vast open space, with kitchen and toilets, these venues are perfect for children to run around and generally have a good time, make sure, however, if you pay a deposit or ‘breakage deposit’, what you must do to get the cash back.
- Local authority run centres – in some areas of the country, the local council will also have a variety of halls and centres that they hire out for a few hours a time.
- Sports clubs – again, some sports clubs will have a hall that they will hire out and are perfect for larger number of guests. They can, in some instances, also offered a catered option.
Hiring a venue is all well and good, but you still have 2 to 3 hours to fill. On one hand, you would think that the birthday boy or girl, along with their guests, would be happy to play for the whole of that time but, depending on their age, 2 to 3 hours (or longer) can seem an age to a small person.
The best option is to always have some form of entertainment on standby; again, you can follow the do-it-yourself approach and there are literally hundreds of ideas on the web to help you plan your perfect party.
But, if clowning around and just generally ‘being all things to everybody’ is your idea of your worst nightmare, then the time has come to buy in some entertainment – and again, there are hundreds of ideas.
Tip: save some cash and book them for about half an hour after the party has started; that way you can welcome all your guests and let the initial excitement wear off!
- Magician – tired and tested, the idea of inviting a magician to perform is for many, the perfect solution. However, quality will vary so spend some time researching and reviewing online the many local acts you will undoubtedly come across.
- Fairy or princess – an all-girls party based on the fairy tale castle and princess theme is perfect. And, with a little research, you will find that you can buy in the entertainment and partying services of a princess or Head Fairy to help the party go with a swing…
- Characters – on a similar note, party entertainment companies have realised that having characters for children’s parties are big hits, hence Spiderman could make an appearance if you so desired! Likewise, they have some great look-a-like characters that will make every birth boy or girl’s dream complete.
- Sport or active entertainment – there is also the possibility of hiring your own ‘sergeant major’ who can put the party guests through their paces. From age appropriate obstacle courses to games, this is perfect for any sporting birthday boys and girls. If this is the case, don’t forget to forewarn your guests… and buy in extra drinks!
- Disco – again, a massive firm favourite is the disco and there are many disco entertainers with all the gear, including lights and the latest trendy music. But, even kids can feel awkward about being the first on the dance floor so, as well as throwing your own inhibitions aside and getting on the dance floor yourself, you may also need to have some games that encourage participation. Once up and dancing, you’ll find it hard to stop them.