Posts Tagged ‘children’s parties’

The “Shy” Party Child

laurajane021 December 18th, 2016 No Comments
The "Shy" Party Child | NWC Parties

The “Shy” party child may seem an unusual topic for a blog post and unlike my other posts doesn’t offer advice on the Children’s party world.  Instead, it’s an observational post and I hope to offer a very simple view and explanation (hopefully coupled with some tips) for the child who just doesn’t like to party.

Unlike the current world I live in, I was once a child who HATED children’s parties. I would not attend them, I would avoid them completely and if I was “forced” to go along by my mother I would be sick or sit with her the whole time refusing to join in. In fact, one of my earliest memories was being made to go as a clown to a disco party for a boy in my class, I stood by the table at the side and wouldn’t join the party – needless to say, we left early.

So how does someone who hated going to parties become a children’s party host (and as my friends would say one of the most enthusiastic people ever)? I have no idea! I have no idea at all. I don’t know when or what changed in me but something did and the anxiety (which I realise it was) started to go and I began to enjoy social situations much more (granted I was around 12 when this first started to happen and I am sure it involved fancying some boys), but below is the observation of what I can only explain as my first steps.

A comment we often get fed back from our parties is “Wow, you really include all of the children – even the shy ones that never join in!” this is the best comment ever! When a child who is shy builds up enough courage to take part through something we did – AMAZING! How do we work to do this?  What makes what we do have this effect?

One main thing I remember as a shy party child was that if I found someone who I could trust in a party or in a social environment I would feel better, also if I wasn’t forced to participate and if someone told me exactly when everything would be happening (mainly for me when my mum would be picking me up!) I would feel so much better. These are things I implement now and are great to bear in mind when you are hosting a party yourselves or if you are a parent with a child who is shy and hates parties. Here are my three steps:

Step one:

Take the time to explain exactly how everything will go, what time you will be back or the party will be over, which games they can play and when they will have food. We as adults are still sometimes afraid of the unknown and as simple as it may seem a party for a shy child really can be the unknown.

Step two:

Introduce them to someone who will take the time to offer them comfort and security if you have to leave or ask the party parent if you can drop by the day before or meet them after school so your child knows who is at the party. (I had three friend’s parents that I really learnt to trust when I was in school which helped a lot!)

Step three:

The biggest thing you can do (in my opinion) is NEVER tell a/your child or even say around them to others that they are shy. If we as adults were to tell ourselves every day that we are confident I believe eventually we would be confident, the same applies for a child. My mother told me I was fine and I had to get on with it and, well, eventually I did.

Never worry if your child doesn’t want to take part, never feel embarrassed if they cry when you go to leave – they will be brave and they will be fine, honestly take it from a “shy party child!”

 

We would love to hear your feedback or stories to share in our Comments below, from your own experience(s) with your child/children or a party you have hosted. 

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So, you are hosting your first kid’s party….

laurajane021 November 21st, 2016 No Comments
So, you are hosting your first kid's party....| NWC Parties

So, you are hosting your first kid’s party….the first piece of advice I have – buy a nice bottle of wine to look forward to that evening. Preparation is key!

Hosting your first party for your child can be a nerve-wracking experience.  I feel the only people who don’t dread it as much potentially are teachers – entertaining thirty children in a room does come naturally to them (speaking, as a daughter, of two teachers). However, for those to whom this is a new experience I have put together a few tips below to help you get through the hours before, during and after the party.

Top tip one:

Preparation is key however so is simplicity. If you are hosting for the first time maybe look to choose a leisure centre or a venue that supplies toddler toys, soft play and/or a bouncy castle – children will be happy to play independently on these for a good amount of time. Then adding a surprise element of entertainment such as a character visit. Check out our themed fun packages;

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They can work perfectly to add something extra special to the party! Some simple things that children also love:

  • Balloons
  • Balls
  • Party Blowers
  • Music

Children are really happy to entertain themselves in parties and something as simple as lots of balloons can be the perfect answer!

Top tip two:

Keep the time frame down. Children and parents will thank you for opting for a 1 hour & 30-minute party, as opposed to two hours.  1 hour of games and entertainment and then 30 minutes for food and party bags. When children hit school age, weekends can be filled with parties (we have party hopped before now and have bumped into the same children in multiple parties in a weekend!). This also takes the pressure off filling the time as you can jam pack an hour and then they can eat and be off!

Top tip three:

Activities! Crafts, crafts and more crafts! I will always advocate for crafts, as children really do love them, and then pass the parcel, musical statues, and musical bumps. Also, if you are feeling more creative a little treasure hunt always goes down well.  For some fantastic craft packs, check out:

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Keeping activities and games simple and effective means the children won’t get bored and you will hopefully avoid too much stress!

Top tip four:

To host or to mingle? This comes down to what you would prefer your role to be and either way is perfectly acceptable! Some parents (my mother, and I can only imagine the parent I will one day be) love to host and lead the games and activities but you do have to prepare to be ruthless when telling children, they are out – brace yourself in advance for the tears!! Or alternatively, you can opt for someone to come in and host. We offer entertainer packages for £130.00 where we will host everything for you for the two hours with an entertainer (not a character) but someone who will ensure that the party runs smoothly and you can relax and enjoy it!

Finally, top tip five:

Don’t panic. Parents really should be able to purchase a “Keep Calm I’m hosting a kid’s party” t-shirt! Children will always have a great time if there are music, food, and sweets! Be confident in controlling the room and have faith that your little one will look back and love the parties that you hosted! And always remember it could never be worse than me deciding to break my arm and spending the night in hospital, the day before my brothers 5th Birthday, when 20 pirates were descending on our house and my mother had a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old to entertain with the rest of the children…and STILL we all had a great time!

 

Hope you have enjoyed reading,

“So, you are hosting your first kid’s party….”

Good luck and check out our other blogs below for bargain birthday ideas and how to get through the dreaded pass the parcel game…!

 

Blogs here!

 

 

Laura x

 

 

The Politics of Pass the Parcel

laurajane021 November 3rd, 2016 No Comments
The Politics of Pass the Parcel | NWC Parties

Possibly the most famous of all of the party games. Read on as I attempt to break down “The Politics of Pass the Parcel” – loved by children and loathed by many parents. Why, you ask?  It’s merely passing a wrapped present around a circle? Simple! Oh no, it is so much more– in truth, pass the parcel is a game of quick wit, negotiation, tactics, cunning, tears and of course tantrums. How can we avoid this I hear you cry? Let me tell you….

The perfect parcel

No one loves an anti-climax – no one, thus selecting the perfect gift for the centre of a pass the parcel can be a challenge. I tend to select two small gifts (from Poundland or any pound shop) that are easy to wrap and look good! Combine this with three packets of sweets (the optimum number in my experience as the children usually care the most about the sweets) and you have the beginnings of a perfect parcel. Then, inclusive of the prize layer, wrap eight layers of paper – this ensures the game doesn’t go on for too long and children don’t loose interest. Each layer = one pack of sweets.

The music

Now this is key – this is how we combat any sweet problems. Select a song that all of the children know the words to and can sing along to. Then during the game you are able to award sweets for the best, sitting dancer and the loudest singers – thus ensuring every child feels like a winner.

These are the two basics and it now sounds so simple – but now we look deeper and begin to explore the playing of pass the parcel…it’s about to get dark..prepare yourselves.

The “I WANT TO WIN – I NEVER WIN” Child

During a game of pass the parcel, a child approached me – she uttered the immortal words “I ONLY (emphasis on the only) play pass the parcel when I get to win.” She looked at me – (similar to Regina George for all of the Mean Girls fans out there) and I turned to her and said “Well, in that case, I wouldn’t play” she looked at me again and before I knew it she was sat passing in the circle. She wanted to challenge me and win but I was prepared for this. For me, the playing and learning how to lose is just as important for children. The key to avoiding this are the singing games above and ensuring that the energy of the game is high – children will enjoy it even if they don’t win and don’t worry about letting that child win because they may get upset – they will be fine!

The Birthday Child

This is the most simple for me although it can prove problematic for parents – the birthday child gets to win a packet of sweets and unwraps, one layer. They never win the main prize as parents we all know how many toys you are already going to have to take home when the party is over – you don’t need/ want anymore.

The Slow Passer

My favourite child – and I can only imagine the child I once was. They can make a pass last for a whole chorus of a song. Even if you tell them once they will do it each time and stare at you as they do. My advice – read this and laugh to yourself as you label the various players as the game goes on. I also add the “Not slowly, pass fast” shout out for the children to do if someone is passing slowly – use at your own discretion.

The Steamroller

This child will stop at nothing to open that present – we lost three good layers once (and no the music hadn’t stopped they were just sick of waiting). This child just really wants to open that parcel and they will. You have two options here – wrestle the parcel from them (not the most graceful – been there done that) or stop around layer four on them. This way their sweets should last to the end and they won’t have got too wound up by the fourth layer – I never encourage this form of music stopping tactics however on this occasion, it really does call for it.

The Clever Passer

Another of my favourite children – they select a space next to a child who gets distracted easily, then when they are passing the distracted child doesn’t take the parcel thus the child next to them has to (or chooses to) hold it for longer the music then stops and they win – genius! I have been caught out many times by these children – they are clever. I avoid combating this, as such a well thought out strategy does deserve a reward!

The Distracted Child

My advice – don’t make them play.

And finally…

The – You Can’t Help It – But You Just Want Them To WIN Child!

There is always at least one child in every game of pass the parcel EVER that plays fairly helps their friends and sings along throughout. A moment that will forever stay with me was a little girl (aged 4) turning to her friend that was sad (I want to win child) and saying “Don’t worry it’s okay, remember we can’t always win – it’s the taking part that counts”. A wonderful moment and when the parcel coincidently stopped on her on the final layer (not fixed I promise) she opened it and with tears in her eyes said “I can’t believe I won” she then turned to her friend and said “Would you like to share my sweets” – needless to say she showed the true kindness and the real “Positivity of pass the parcel”.

 

If you have enjoyed this blog please check out our website for packages, party tips and stories!

 www.nwcparties.com

 

 

5 Top Tips – Birthday Parties on a Budget

laurajane021 October 19th, 2016 No Comments
Birthday Parties on a Budget | NWC Parties

When I was little Mum hosted each and every birthday party which inspired me to write; “5 Top Tips – Birthday Parties on a Budget”. Being one of four children – there were a lot to host. Did we ever have huge parties? Nope. Did we ever have other entertainers in – Nope. Did we love them – DID WE EVER!!!

I remember so many of our party themes from when we were little – My Barbie party, Rachel’s 101 Dalmatians party, bug parties, horse-riding parties (we went to the centre and finished at the house), football parties, pirate parties (which I remember vividly as I had broken my arm the night before said party – and was completely devastated to discover all of these people in my living room when I got home…I was an extremely dramatic six-year-old.).

I learnt to form the best – thank you mum, and if any of you know her I am sure you will agree – she is an extreme bargain hunter. When you have four children you need to be and yet at no point did we feel hard done by with our parties. So just how did she do that? And furthermore, how am I going to share these ideas without doing myself out of a job…

Here are my five top tips – Birthday parties on a budget….

Now we love a HUGE party too (who doesn’t?) – but here are some ideas for something on a smaller scale.

1: Keep the numbers low…

As obvious as it may seem to keep the party numbers low was a must in our house (I mean there are four of us already so we had half a party good to go!). Close and best friends (I would say ten is a perfect number), would be my best advice – sometimes birthday children can also feel a bit daunted in a big group!

2: “Ain’t no party like a House party!”

Parties at home are the best way to keep costs down – no need for room rental rates! Also, you can use up all of their house parties now so that when they are eighteen you can turn and say “Sorry Darling you had your house party when you were four – no chance now…”

3: Theme it – we love Fancy dress!!

Children love to dress up and if they are in a costume or if you have a theme it is a party already!! Themes will give you ideas for music and games, decorations and food – and will keep costs down! Keep your eyes open for our party food idea blog coming soon…

4: Prizes and Party Bags

Pound shops are brilliant – you can pick up loads of great prizes and they look fab too. Sweets are super cheap in Lidl, Aldi and Iceland – always my first stop! With regards to party bags – I am a huge believer in books – you can pick up some Princess and fairy craft books, pirate craft books and more for as little as 49p each (Lidl, Aldi, The Works), combine with some sweets and cake – sorted!

5: Activities

I LOVE our princess or character visits for this reason – they can be the one cost but can be so fantastic for home parties! Something different to break the party up and jam packed too. Also things like nail painting, crafts (www.bakerross.com) children love crafts and again you can theme them, cupcake decorating and they can eat them and Ice cream sundae making are great ideas. Combine these with three or four traditional party games and you are good to go!

 

I love parties big or small and I hope you find these “5 Top Tips – Birthday Parties on a Budget”, helpful?  Let us know below and we would love you to share yours!

Don’t forget to download our free E-book “Five tips to a stress-free kid’s party”

 

 

Part two – the creation of NWC Parties

laurajane021 September 20th, 2016 No Comments
Part two - the creation of NWC Parties

Part two – the creation of NWC Parties; thank you for sticking around for the second half!  If you have booked with us or had a visit you will have, at some point, I am sure spoken with me, sang with me, had a selfie with me or potentially danced with me (it has been known) as many various characters over the past four years – see image above!

NWC Parties was originally created in February 2012 with just me, my speaker and an abundance of enthusiastic Pop Star Party children – my original and first party theme! The parties came about with an idea from my Uncle (who still likes to take credit for the conception of NWC and protests he is still waiting on his royalties cheque, which is lost in the post 😉 ) and it simply grew from there…

My very first Princess party for Esme was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences – a wonderful group of children, who I have visited many times since and who I was completely convinced (having just painted all of their faces as myself) would call me out on not being the real Cinderella! However, this was not to be the case as I discovered when one of the little girls (Thea) explained very excitedly to “Cinderella” that the lady who was here before her had painted her face and what did I (Cinderella) think of it!

A precious moment – that I would soon learn would make every element of my job the best job EVER!

From that point on Cinderella and Tink visited lots of little girls and partied with lots of little princesses until suddenly in March 2014 we had a request…for a Snow Queen?!? Having missed the film I rapidly caught up on the premise of this film Frozen?! which I had assumed would pass by quickly (HA!). My first costume arrived (a lovely prom dress from a sixteen-year-old) and my mum was my assistant and off we went to Amber’s Party! Frozen a passing theme….oh how wrong I was…A Snow Queen was born and from then on – thanks to a wonderful and supportive fabulous base – we flew!!!

I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to grow my other businesses – my Zumbini, Zumba, Performing Arts Classes – all whilst getting to dress as a Princess on the weekend too (A fitness instructor/actor by week and a princess on the weekends – talk about a double life)

I am now predominantly based between Wrexham and Manchester (I like to say I am based on the M56 motorway). We have grown (and I use “we” as we are a team who have grown together) and I now have the pleasure of working alongside the most wonderful performers. Each of whom – as well as being extremely talented – are the most lovely and genuine people you could wish for. We aren’t a huge team – we are a bespoke team. We don’t expand and expand because when you sprinkle fairy dust too thinly the magic just doesn’t work as well.

We love what we do – we aim to provide the best service you could want and we love to make dreams come true and will endeavour to do so for a long time to come (or for as long as my anti-aging routine works ;-))

Here’s to an exciting and jam packed future for NWC Parties!

Our next Blog – “Bargain Birthday’s on a budget” is inspired by my Mother – the real original party host of the family (seriously her themes were amazing!!).

I look forward to sharing our tips and tricks with you!

 

Party host behind the presents

laurajane021 June 29th, 2016 No Comments

Welcome to, Party Host behind the Presents, blog – an introduction to myself and NWC Parties. My name is Laura, I am the owner and generally extremely enthusiastic lady behind NWC Parties. I thought it would be exciting for you in our first Blog on our brand new website, to know just who the, Party Host behind the Presents, is!

This blog will also allow me the opportunity to share my stories, trials, tribulations and a mountain of fabulous advice that I have been fortunate enough to gain over the twelve years that I have worked in the children’s party entertainment industry.

Where to start….

Twelve years seems like an awful long time and I imagine you are saying; “Twelve years, she only looks eighteen.” You are much too kind. It is true I have been fortunate enough to do this job since I was fourteen. Granted at fourteen I did not run my own business, although not for lack of trying and for the gift of a twelve year old brother who assured me if I sold apple sticks at 20p but bought them at 10p I would indeed be a millionaire. This was not (shockingly) the case and I soon had to relent and take a Saturday job (sourced of course by my Mother).

I began working at Jolly Jungle Children’s Play Centre in Wrexham – I LOVED it. From the off it was everything I love; high energy, child centred, fun and allowed me to be as dramatic as I liked! It provided me with constant amusement – I mean how can you ever be bored? (Sooo many mums disagreeing with me now…and uttering the words – “you try going there four times a week..”) I can imagine from the other side; the noise, screams, constant laughter and wailing would be extremely tedious. However, from a fourteen year old girls perspective who is getting paid the big bucks to be there (£3.75 per hour #livingthedream) whilst friends had paper rounds (I also had one – I have a rather determined Mother!), it was pretty awesome!

I worked constantly throughout the four years (pre-university), not only at Jolly Jungle but also in an after-school club, as a football manager, a waitress and I performed at every and all opportunities. After four years of part-time experience at JJ I moved on to Rascals Play Centre in Preston whilst at university. Reflecting on this as an adult, I now understand why the “Griffiths” family were not invited to a great deal of parties – we like to perform too much and I have three siblings; that’s a lot of mouths to feed. (My “Inviting the Siblings” party blog in September will reflect on this further).

At the age of eighteen, I filled in my application to become a Primary School Teacher, then on hearing about all of the paperwork, I swiftly filled out my application to become an Actor- the BEST decision I have made! Such a great choice, in fact, that my sister wanted to follow in my footsteps recently completing her Acting with Stage-Combat Degree. She says I’m the inspiration for her path in life and one day she hopes to be just like me (Rachel that sentence is especially for you ;-)).

I went to the University of Central Lancashire to Study Acting in 2007; the most amazing three years – a fantastic course, fantastic people (some of whom you may have had the pleasure of partying with since…) and an amazing learning experience that provided me with so many of the skills I believe have helped my business to succeed and flourish. Most definitely gave the improvisation skills to answer; “Queen Elsa, if it was you against the Hulk…who would win?”. I’ll leave that one up to you…

What’s Next?

Now I could go into more depth here about the raucous university Karaoke that provided the musical coaching and preparation for “Let it Go” or the Uni Dance off that taught me so many moves that our Princesses now “bust” in a party – but I feel that maybe for another week. The start of NWC Parties journey will follow shortly – it’s a good one (I promise!) and I can’t wait to share it with you!

 

Thank you for reading and please do download my free E-book “Five tips for a stress free kids party”

(and I know you think you may have guessed the first one – but no – it is not wine ;-)).

Lots of Love.
Laura x

get in touch

For more information about NWC Parties, packages, prices or to book a party please contact Laura

Address: North Wales and North West

Email: enquiries@nwcparties.com

info@nwcparties.com

nwcparties@yahoo.com

Phone: 07913963891