I began training as a children’s entertainer around 2011. Since then I’ve enjoyed working as a children’s entertainer around my other creative work and I’ve entertained many children at a wide variety of parties.
Along the way I’ve picked up skills and tips, so here are 5 simple hacks that could lead to a more enjoyable children’s birthday party.
Pop on some music and get the bubbles going. I’ve often found most children up to 5/6 years love to try and pop bubbles. There are many cheap, but effective bubble machines available or you can use a wand and mixture if you’ve got the stamina.
Pro tip: Move around the room so the bubbles spread out. This tends to encourage more children to get involved.
Make sure the bubble machine is only ever controlled by an adult. The mixture can be sticky and slippy, so avoid getting this on the floor or surfaces and as and when it does, wipe it quickly to avoid slips.
To add another layer, ask children to try and pop as many bubbles as they can with their nose, arm, ear, knee etc. Or get the bubble machine out for a bit, put it away and then get it out again later on.
I understand this can be tricky, but I’ve seen it make a massive difference when the hosting adult(s) doesn’t get too stressed. At the end of the day, parties are meant to be fun and they can still be immensely enjoyable even if things don’t go entirely to plan. Most children don’t notice/mind when something goes off track, and only get worried or stressed themselves when they see an adult panicking. I’ve seen a parent get so stressed they forgot to cut and serve an expensive cake they’d brought for their child and guests. This upset some children and wasted what looked like a tasty cake.
Pro tip: Some of the most enjoyable parties have kept it simple, allowing the hosting adult(s) to make sure everyone is fine and give themselves room to enjoy the party too.
Serve sugary food nearer the end of the party and avoid giving out too many sugary treats near the beginning. Children will have tones of energy from the excitement of being with friends and playing games. Sugar seems to affect every child differently and can make it hard for some children to concentrate and not get the most out of the games and entertainment.
Pro tip: Save the cake and sweet treats for later or near the end. Make sure children have easy access to drinks at all times, ideally some water too, and serve some fruit and healthy sandwiches as well as the cake and sweet treats.
3. Adults, get involved…
At parties where the children are 4/5 or younger, most adults stay for the duration of the party, although this isn’t always the case. As children get older, most adults tend to drop off and pick up at the end. If adults are staying for the party, encourage them to keep an eye on their little ones and to jump in if their child needs water breaks or is unsure whether to get involved. Remind adults about their noise. I’ve noticed many children become frustrated when they can’t hear entertainment because adults are talking loudly. Of course, it’s important adults have a good time; ideally a balance of quiet chatting, while keeping on eye on the children is great.
Pro tip: Children often find it hilarious when adults get involved with some of the entertainment, so jump in for a minute or two and let your inner child out.
Serving alcohol for adults can be nice, but it often makes adults talk louder. If possible, try and serve drinks for adults in a separate room and remind them to be mindful of their volume so that the children can still hear the entertainment. Of course, always make sure the adult/entertainer looking after the children is never left alone.
I understand there maybe pressure to host a party similar in style or expense to that of other parties. From my experience, the most enjoyable parties often keep it simple and focus on children having the time and opportunity to do something fun with their friends.
Pro tip: If you host a party during school holidays, it can be hard to get invites to guests and some children will be away on holiday. Holding parties during school term usually means more children will be able to attend.