A good party venue can take all the stress out of having a kids birthday party. We overview key issues when choosing a children’s birthday party venue.
Everyone is busy these days and as a parent, there are always demands on your time. Having your child’s birthday party at a chosen venue can remove a great deal of the stress and effort that is involved with organising a birthday party.
Often, by choosing a venue, you can relax a little more, knowing you won’t have to be slaving over a hot oven or spot cleaning the carpet after all the little guests have departed – you can leave that to the professionals!
There is such a wide variety of venues (depending upon where you live, of course) that just about every child, no matter their age or entertainment preference, can be catered for. This article will give you some suggestions to get started.
This will be influenced by whether or not you are charged a hireage or entry fee, whether you choose to bring your own food or have the venue cater for the guests or if there are things they can make / buy at the venue.
There might be a cost per guest, which may have a bearing on how many kids your child is allowed to invite. You may need / want to buy extra food if necessary (e.g. taking a group to the movies). You may choose to have the party activities at the venue and then come home for the food, for example, which could greatly reduce the costs. Depending upon which part of the country you live in, total costs may vary widely.
The most influential factor on your choice of venue will be your budget and the number of children you would like to invite. If you haven’t set a budget, make sure you get quotes from venues and keep a note of the potential costs – many small things can add up quite quickly and you’ll still want to provide a gift for the birthday boy or birthday girl!
As some venues cater from pre-schoolers age, you can start using a venue as soon as your child can crawl. However, be mindful that some children may not enjoy large, frantic venues and can sometimes be a little overwhelmed or scared of any bigger children not associated with the birthday party. As a general rule, venues work best from about age 3 or 4, depending on the child.
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There are nationwide venues specialising in children’s entertainment, such as playlands which host birthday parties. Fast food chains that specialise in Birthday Parties are always a popular option with youngsters, especially if you go to one with a tubular playground attached.
If you live in Auckland, then there are venues such as Rainbows End or the Zoo or Kelly Tarlton’s. Christchurch has (amongst many exciting possibilities) the Antarctic Centre, while Dunedin (also a city offering much choice) has the wonderful Cadbury Factory.
Unless you’re prepared to travel, you’ll need to make the most of what your particular location can offer. Chat to other parents to get ideas, or search the Kiwi Families database for options in your area.
Some venue ideas:
- Craft Shops (beads, jewellery, plates)
- Climbing walls
- Community hall or rooms
- Create-a-plate / ceramic studios
- Factory tours (e.g. Tip Top, Cadburys)
- Farm visits / animal parks
- Fire station
- Horse riding
- Ice / roller skating rink
- Indoor sports centres / action adventure centres
- Local park
- Mini-putt golf
- Swimming pools / hot pools
- Ten Pin bowling
When children are younger, parents tend to stay with them at birthday parties. As children become older, parents seem to be content to drop them off, which is quite a bit of responsibility for you. Bear this in mind, as you may need to have another supervising adult to assist you especially if you’re in a venue where children could wander off and explore. A good general rule of thumb is one adult to four or five children (a bit like the pre-school teacher ratios).
Hopefully this won’t occur, but it’s even more important to deal with a badly behaved child quickly and firmly when you’re hosting a birthday party at a venue, as opposed to being at home. There may be safety considerations, such as being in a large place and needing to know where everyone is (e.g. if you’re at the zoo). In addition, when there are other people enjoying the same venue, they don’t want their day spoiled by a whinging, unpleasant child.
As a precaution, you may need to monitor which friends your child will be allowed to invite depending upon where the party will be held (and the nature of the children).
Remember – don’t get stressed, this should be a fun day! Pick a venue that suits your child, your budget and the number of available helpers. Above all, have fun with your child!