A great way to make your child’s birthday party memorable is to hire an entertainer. If you choose the right entertainer, kids can make a great audience and, best of all, are easily delighted. However, from the invitations and guest lists to requisite birthday cakes, parents are already overwhelmed with all there is to do, nevermind looking at endless choices of entertainers. While the choices may seem endless, knowing the specifics will allow you to make the right choice for your child’s party.
So, here are some things you need to know about when deciding to hire a great entertainer for your child’s birthday party:
• Clowns – Most people and experienced entertainers advise against hiring a heavily made-up clown for party revelers under the age of 4 because, while kids love clowns and silly antics, they can be a bit scary for the younger kids. This shouldn’t be a problem for older elementary age kids as they will love a clown that can incorporate physical comedy such as falling down and pie-in-face, into the act; kids this age find that hysterical. It can help to increase a child’s comfort level with an entertainer by getting a photo to post on the refrigerator beforehand.
• Characters – You should remember that if your 2- to 3-year-old has a beloved favorite character, remember before you hire a real-life version that a six-foot-tall Clifford, Barney or Elmo can seem overpowering. It is also very important to find out what, besides a photo opportunity, the character will bring to your party table. You should also keep in mind that the character may need an assistant to lead the children in activities.
• Musical performers – Young children often love musical performers who can play guitar and either play musical games or use puppets. If you are considering hiring this type of entertainer, you should look for someone who can handle young children’s short attention spans. They will also need to be flexible about interruptions from the kids. Older kids may enjoy a singer who can play piano or guitar and involve the kids in the musical selections without the aid of puppets or games.
• Magicians – Magicians often work really well for the 3-8 year old age group. Keep in mind that they often respond best to a magician who is silly and who might, for example, blow his nose in a handkerchief before making it disappear. Straight magic appeals less to this group since many things in their lives already seem magical because they do not understand the mechanics of how things work. Children who are older than 8 years old tend to prefer an adult-style magician. It is critical that you make sure that whoever you hire has experience with your child’s age group.
• Jugglers and Puppeteers – Kids love the visual appeal of movement which makes jugglers and puppeteers great for children’s parties. A talented juggler can make for an excellent birthday entertainer for the 4-8 year old age group if he can juggle different, colorful items in varying quantities to put on a visually appealing show. A puppeteer is also a great party entertainer for birthdays catering to this age group because he uses colorful puppets that will captivate the children’s attention and tells funny jokes that make younger kids laugh. Even the adult party guests will stay entertained with a puppeteer by interacting with the puppets and becoming a part of the skit.
You can look for ads for children’s entertainers in the parenting pages of your newspaper or check supermarket and toy-store bulletin boards. You can also ask other parents for recommendations of entertainers they have used. It is very important that you get at least two recent references from clients with kids your child’s age, and find out when the entertainer last performed for these children.