For various reasons there are times when it is more convenient to have your child’s party away from home.
Discuss with your child what they want and make a list of possibilities.
Don’t just go to the local play centre and book, look for alternatives first.
You may find that the play centre does exactly what you want, but older children often have different ideas.
Some questions to ask:
It may seem obvious but check the place out before you book.
Following are some questions to ask:
- Have they held children’s parties there before?
- Are they able to provide you with names of people who have used their service and are willing to talk to you?
- What is the cost? Is it per child or a straight fee? If per child is there a minimum fee?
- What do you get for that amount?
- Are there additional charges? Eg for food and drink, favours, decorations etc.
- Are you required to pay the whole amount up front or a deposit?
- Do they provide the entertainment?
- How many people will there be to help you?
- Will other parties be held in the area at the same time?
- Do you need to bring the birthday cake or do they provide it? Is it an extra cost if they provide it?
- Can they cater for special needs?
- Do they give you invitations to send?
- Do they have a photographer? Is it an extra cost?
- Can you visit at a time when they are holding a party to see it in progress?
If you know people who have held a party there or are given some names then ask them:
- What age group were the children?
- How good was the entertainment? Did the children enjoy it?
- Was the food hot/cold when served?
- What number of helpers they had and how good were they?
- Were the favours and decorations as promised?
Places to party:
If your child has a specific interest then look for places that cover that interest and have an excursion there. Eg.
- Aeroplanes/flying – an airport small or large, with a meal there. Joy flights.
- Dinosaurs – museum
- Sport – attending a sporting event, or holding a party at a sports setting. These can include swimming pools, gyms, ten-pin bowling, horse riding, karate, the park or any other sport your child loves.
- Space/space travel – planetarium or museum.
- Ships/boats – visit to ship or take a trip on a river, lake etc.
- Fireman – fire station or fire museum.
- Trains – take a train trip. Don’t forget tourist trains such as Puffing Billy in Melbourne.
- Animals – the local zoo, Wildlife Park or aquariums.
- Arts/crafts – visit an art gallery. Check out craft suppliers to see if they hold parties. Many hold lessons and these can be adapted for a party.
- Children’s theatres.
- The local park – check out the facilities, there could be a play area and bar-b-que facilities.
- Local fast food outlets often run parties out of peak hours.
- Check small restaurants to see what they can provide for a special meal. This could be combined with an outing.
Not all of these places run children’s birthday parties, but a visit to them with a picnic lunch will be a great birthday treat for your child and those who join them. Many of these lend themselves to small parties of two or three guests.