10.15.2010

Fun Friday: What Makes a Fun-tabulous Kiddie Party?

Third Friday of the month:  Parties / Celebrations


11 children's parties over 16 weeks. Imagine that! These happy events filled most of our weekends since late June.  I didn't even include the invitation for tomorrow, and still expecting a couple more 'til December.  As I write this, I remember counting all the preggy ladies I know during a baby boom in our circle of friends last year. Next thing I know, the invitations came one after the other.


Eight out of eleven parties we've attended were first birthday celebrations. As expected, they were festive, colorful, loud, fun, exciting -- each one unique and memorable in their own (big) way.
I have been an event planner for over a decade and I never attempted to organize a kiddie party (except for my two kids) for the simple reason that children's parties have its own dynamics that I just don't want to bother dipping my fingers into. Weddings and corporate events were stressful enough, and adding kids into the equation might just make me go coo-coo! I can only suggest ideas when asked and just leave the planning to the kiddie party experts.

So after attending an unprecedented number of these birthday bashes in a span of four months, I'd like to share some unique and creative touches which I spotted at these parties.

What makes a fun and fabulous children's party? Take a cue from some of these inspiring ideas, in no particular order:

1. UNCONVENTIONAL & ARRESTING DECOR

Dress up your venue with unique venue decorations and stage design that will set the overall mood and tone of your event. They don't have to be over the top to create impact. Your decor should carry and reflect your chosen theme and color scheme.

In lieu of balloons, why not use giant paper pom-poms like these...
Simple yet sophisticated pom-poms in shades of pink and brown dot the ceiling of EnchantĂ© Restaurant &Bar 
Bright, colorful ceiling swags and balloon art liven up any party venue (Photo: Wowie Wong)
Bringing in a mascot (think Hello Kitty walking around the party venue) would surely win points for audience impact!
See Hello Kitty back there posing with guests? (Photo: Sharon Jabanes)


2. ENGAGING ACTIVITIES FOR GUESTS

If you are expecting kids of all ages at your party, better prepare some engaging activities to preoccupy the youngsters while they wait for the program to start. Even your adult guests would enjoy some creative diversions like coloring contests, and may favor posing for a hired caricature artist.

Girls just flock over a "beauty salon" booth, while the boys can have their favorite character tattoos! Arts and crafts like buri hat decorating and bead bracelet making are surefire hits as well.
Glamorous make-over treat for the little girls (Photos: Wowie Wong)
Get wild and western with these mechanical riding horses. Expect endless lines as kids won't get enough of these simulated galloping horse rides, yee-ha!

How about a play-all-you-can treat at the amusement center? Or throw an outdoor swimming party before a sumptuous dinner buffet...

Remember, your celebrations don't have to be confined to restaurants, hotels or clubhouses. Outdoor venues work just as great.

3. SHOW-STOPPING PERFORMERS & LIVELY ENTERTAINMENT

There are numerous choices for entertainers that would fit your party needs -- animal shows, balloon artists, magicians, acrobats, etc. Find one that you think will click with your crowd.

Eight years ago, I watched this up and coming magician-host throw out witty antics and skillful ventriloquism at my niece's first birthday party. Recently, he's been making waves again and his acts still win over the audience, young and old.  This man can really be the life of your party.
The amazing Wanlu  (Photo: Wowie Wong)



4. UNIQUE THEME CAKES

Aside from the stage design, your cake can act as the centerpiece of the party. Look at these amazingly beautiful and sweet creations!

The gang's all here -- Sanrio Cafe theme cake & cupcakes  (Photo: Sharon Jabanes)
Castle cake tower with matching cupcakes  (Photo: Francis Portraits)
Multi-tiered fondant cake with a jumbo cupcake topper


5. EXCITING GAME PRIZES, TREATS & LOOT

Children's parties would not be complete without a few mandatory games.  Provide wonderful prizes that kids would want to have: novelty items, popular character toys and trinkets, coin banks, food keepers, school and art supplies, accessories and the like. Moms, and dads too, would surely go ga-ga over these items as well!


You can also surprise your guests with several booths that offer some useful personalized souvenir items which they can take home:

Water-proof label stickers in assorted characters from Sticker Galore; re-inflatable picture balloons on sticks from BalloonPix Galore. Plus, bedazzled bracelets and key chains that are just so snazzy!



Thoughtful loot bags with cute and practical items, nicely packaged and labeled, to thank all your guests for coming to your party.
Different giveaways for boys and girls  (Photos: Wowie Wong)
Aside from the basics:  preparing your budget and guest listchoosing a venue and deciding on an appropriate thememake sure you have a unified look for all the elements you use in the party -- from stage backdrop to invitations, cake and table centerpieces.



Last but not least, the food you will serve is equally important, if not more. Guests would always appreciate and remember a satisfying meal at any party. You can also have a separate buffet for the children or have a plated meal composed of well-loved dishes for kids.



Serving delicious fares, achieving a cohesive look, coupled with an entertaining program and attractive prizes will surely make your fĂȘte a truly fun and fabulous affair!  Happy party planning!

* * *
Here's my first video upload of the kids who can't get enough of the horsey rides.  The girl can't seem to move hers while my boy, at 00:10 seconds, just went past her and galloped away on his (plastic covered) mechanical steed!
video

Un-watermarked photos courtesy of:
Francis Portraits
Sharon Jabanes
Wowie Wong
Sticker Galore / BalloonPix Galore FB sites

This feature is a compilation of parties I've attended. Here are the suppliers used by my friends:
Party planners: Fun For Keeps, Party Perks, Do Me A Favor
Entertainment: Wanlu Magician & Ventriloquist c/o Fun For Keeps
Booths/Favors: Sticker Galore and BalloonPix Galore
Venues: Greenhills West Clubhouse, Valle Verde 6 Clubhouse, Enchante by Chef Jessie

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