• Laura Hills-Leigh

Choosing Children’s Party Entertainment



Children’s parties can be stressful. The amount of work that goes into the organisation and logistics behind the scenes is akin to a military operation. Not to mention the size and extravagance of the whole affair, which seems to grow year upon year!


One thing’s for sure, you know you won’t be able to run entertainment for your kid and their guests at the same time as preparing the food, putting together party bags and making cups of tea for the other mums and dads.

You need to book some party entertainment….

And wouldn’t this whole thing be much easier if someone just told you what to book?


Yep.


That’s why we’ve created this guide to children’s party entertainment. With a breakdown of the various types of entertainment available; including some pros and cons, what type of child it might work best for and an approximate age range.


We’ve even included some specific advice for toddler parties and pre-teens. You’re welcome!


Character Visits:


Perfect For: Imaginative little ones who would love to meet their hero

Ideal Age Range: Approx 3 to 7 years old


Features:

A visit from your child’s favourite character.

Princesses and superheroes are the current trend for character visits, but visits could feature a huge variety of characters, from their favourite toy to their favourite fantasy creature. Even animal characters are available, with a huge choice of mascot costumes out there too.


Pros/Cons:

Character visits are literally a dream come true for the birthday child. Spending time with a character they admire adds sparkle to their special day, creates magical memories for them and spurs on their imagination.

Characters provide many photo opportunities for all of your guests, making the party one to remember.

On the downside, mascot characters can sometimes be scary or intimidating to small children, so it’s best stick to face characters (such as princesses or superheroes) for shy or introvert youngsters.


Activity Hosts:


Perfect For: Any child that loves to be involved in party games and activities

Ideal Age Range: Any


Features:

An entertainer to run party games, dances and other activities for your party.


Pros/Cons:

A professional party entertainer will keep the children amused so you don’t have to – meaning less stress for the party organiser. A good entertainer will adapt their games to different age ranges and abilities, meaning this activity can suit everyone.


It’s important to be aware that other entertainment (such as a bouncy castle) may clash with activities run by your entertainer, leading to very few children joining in. To get the best out of this entertainment, be prepared to let the bouncy castle down at times to keep the children involved in the games.


Performances:

Perfect For: The Quiet Observers and the Theatrical Entertainers

Ideal Age Range: Approx. 3-12 years old


Features:

A short performance run by an entertainer.

Performances are often comedic or educational shows that stand alone. They involve children sitting and watching and can include audience participation or volunteers. Great performance options include: magic shows, clowns, circus, animal parties.


Pros/Cons:

Performances are great for both introvert and extrovert children. For those with a shy disposition, sitting and watching the show keeps them involved in the party. On the other hand, the opportunity to volunteer to help with magic tricks or holding animals is perfect for those who like the limelight.

Smaller venues may not be suitable for performances that require a minimum stage space, discuss this with your entertainer before you book.

Some children may find clowns or certain animals intimidating or frightening. Consider timetabling any additional entertainment before or after the performance to avoid children getting distracted from the show.


DJs and Discos:


Perfect For: Kids who love music and dancing

Ideal Age Range: Any


Features:

A disco party with music, dancing and lighting.

Disco parties can come in many different forms: from a basic DJ set up, to UV Raves and Karaoke Parties to entertainer-based packages with games and party dances.


Pros/Cons:

Adding a few tweaks to your set up can make this form of entertainment suitable for any age range. For children 0-3 years old, add Freeplay items and activities (see below). For children 4-9 years old, add party dances and games. For older children and teenagers, a more traditional DJ set up will keep them happy for hours. A disco party is flexible enough to add other forms of entertainment along with it (such as bouncy castles or face painting, etc).


A full DJ set up may not be well suited to small venues or small groups of children - look for smaller alternative such as mini discos. To avoid clashes with other entertainment, make sure to book your entertainers from the same company (or, even better, have them all run by the same person!).


Freeplay:


Perfect For: Independent youngsters who want to do their own thing

Ideal Age Range: Approx. 0-7 years old


Features:

Any space filled with as many (or as few) Freeplay items as you’d like.

Great Freeplay items include; bouncy castles, soft play areas, ball pits, parachutes, tricycles and other vehicles, instruments, bubbles, sand pits, etc


Pros/Cons:

Freeplay items are a great way of allowing children to amuse themselves during a party. This kind of party is ideal for very young children or those that are easily distracted. Freeplay allows children to explore, socialise and play their own games.

It is often cheaper than other entertainment options.

On the downside, some children require more structured play and Freeplay can often require more adult supervision from the parents attending. Booking Freeplay activities alongside more structured entertainment can also become distracting for your young guests so be prepared to put the Freeplay items away at these times.


Add-On Entertainment:


Perfect For: Parents who want a little something extra

Ideal Age Range: Approx. 3-12 years old


Features:

Flexible activities to add on to your party that allow children to drop in and out when they want.

These activities are often one-on-one experiences and allow each guest to get creative or receive something to take away from the party afterwards. Great flexible entertainment options include: face painting, balloon modelling, glitter application, craft activities, etc


Pros/Cons:

These activities are great in addition to other entertainment, such as a DJ/Disco or with Freeplay items, but can work equally well as a standalone activity too. Their flexibility allows children to take part when they feel like it. They can be adapted to your party theme and often allow each party guest to take away a souvenir, such as a balloon or a glitter tattoo, etc.


Younger children can occasionally be uncomfortable with one-one-one activities such as face painting. Also, it is important to be aware of allergies with face paints, glitters and latex balloons.


Entertainment for Toddlers:


Perfect for: Tinies that already love to party

Ideal Age Range: Approx. 1-3 years old


Features:

Party entertainment for really little ones needs to allow them the freedom to explore and have fun but with plenty of supervision


Great ideas include:

Freeplay (see above), Dance and Sing Parties, Music-Making Parties, Craft/Messy Parties, Sensory Parties.


Entertainment for Pre-Teens:


Perfect For: The older kid that’s “too cool”

Ideal Age Range: Approx. 8-12 years old


Features:

Party entertainment for older children needs to let them have fun, whilst still under parental supervision and yet keeping their reputation in tact!


Great ideas include:

DJ Entertainment (see above), Nerf Gun Parties, Pamper or Make Up Parties, Sleepovers, Karaoke Parties, Sports Parties etc




We hope this guide helps you out in your quest to find the perfect party entertainment for your child. For more information, or tips and advice, don't hesitate to get in touch!

PartyFriendz provides a range of entertainment for children's parties, including:

Get in touch for more information.


Written by Laura Hills-Leigh

partyfriendz@hotmail.co.uk  l  07368240478 l  North West England

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