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Looking for a fun way to entertain the kids at your child’s birthday party? Browse this list of 23 brilliant kids’ party entertainment ideas. Each is a surefire way to fully entertain all the party guests (toddlers to teens).
I’ve based the list on ideas from the most successful kids’ parties I have hosted or been to over the last few years and added a few current trends into the mix too.
I’ve included entertainment ideas for hosting parties at home, in the garden or at a venue. There are DIY ideas you can do yourself or ideas for hiring party entertainers.
WHAT MAKES THE BEST PARTY ENTERTAINMENT FOR KIDS?
We all want to create a truly fun and memorable birthday party for our kids (and let’s be honest, it’s great if we can host a party that has fellow parents impressed too!)
One of the best ways to guarantee maximum fun is to plan some party entertainment. It doesn’t have to last for the duration of the party, but it can provide the party’s main focus and complement the party theme.
23 KIDS’ PARTY ENTERTAINMENT IDEAS
Go through this list of fun activities and entertainment ideas and find the one you think your birthday boy or girl would enjoy the most.
1. BALLOON MODELLING
You can hire a balloon artist to create fun animals and shapes from balloons. Or, if you are a confident crafter, you could buy a bunch of balloon modelling kits and set the kids free to model their own balloons.
Look at the brilliant Isopresso Balloon YouTube channel that demonstrates balloon modelling. (You will need to read the English subtitles), how to do balloon twisting and create balloon animals and other shapes.
2. PUPPET SHOW
Puppet shows are brilliant entertainment for children, from toddlers through to kids aged seven. Check local listings for puppet show entertainers – ideally with great reviews, or ask friends for recommendations.
Do be aware that some children can be scared of puppets, so make a note to ask parents beforehand and suggest they stick around with their child.
3. MAGICIAN PARTY
Magicians are brilliant at entertaining kids of all ages. Choose from magicians who can perform a show for a large group of kids or who perform sleight of hand and close-up magic for smaller groups.
Check local listings or hire a magician based on a friend’s recommendations and ensure the magician is skilled at entertaining kids.
4. MAGIC WORKSHOP
A great alternative to hiring a magician is to host a magic workshop (or wizard workshop) party for any budding Harry Potter kids.
I would definitely recommend booking an entertainer for this kind of party as it takes skill and expertise to teach magic tricks, especially to kids.
5. DANCE PARTY
Dance parties can be great fun. However, I think they work best for children from the age of seven. I would also suggest hiring a DJ or entertainer to get the party started and keep it going. Otherwise, you can face many kids sitting around and not participating.
Add an extra fun element by turning the party into a neon dance party with UV black light and neon accessories for the kids to wear that glow under the lights.
6. KARAOKE PARTY
Karaoke parties are great for kids from the age of seven right through to teenagers. You can hire a karaoke entertainer or use a Karaoke machine or app. Smule gets good reviews (iOS/Android)
Leave the kids to please themselves, taking turns or run the party as a Pop Idol-style singing competition.
7. SOFT PLAY PARTY
Is it almost a rite of passage for every toddler to have or attend a soft play party?! If you want a party that guarantees fun and ensures that you don’t have to host the party at home, a soft play party is perfect!
Most soft play centres offer party packages. You can usually hire a section of the soft play area and then have a birthday tea in a separate area.
8. BOUNCY CASTLE PARTY
Bouncy castles are a bit of a marmite entertainment option for parents. I guess it’s not surprising, given that they can be dangerous. However, a bouncy castle is a great way to entertain energetic kids if you hire a reputable company.
The best way to ensure that the kids are safe on the bouncy castle is to check the hire company for the following things:
- Does the hire company have a PIPA tag and number (Inflatable Play Inspection)?
- Is the hire company insured?
- Is the bouncy castle operator up to date with their RPII training (have they done the training within the last three years)?
You must ensure the bouncy castle is supervised at all times and follow the safety rules for bouncy castles. Here are some of the rules:
- Restrict kids on the inflatable to the operator’s manual limit
- Keep bigger kids separated from smaller kids
- Don’t exceed the height limit
- Be on hand to help kids on and off the inflatable safely
- Ensure there is safety matting at the entrance that is no more than two inches deep
- Ensure that glasses and shoes are removed
- No mobiles, tech or other items allowed
- Ensure kids don’t climb the walls of the inflatable
- Regularly check the anchor points remain secure
Check the UK Health and Safety government website for a full list of inflatable play rules.
9. TRAMPOLINE PARTY
If you’ve got a bunch of kids who like bouncing, but you don’t want to hire a bouncy castle a trampoline party is the perfect alternative.
Plenty of trampoline centres around the UK are filled with various kinds of trampolines to bounce and play on.
The parties usually involve your group having a set time on the trampolines rather than having them all to themselves. However, there is usually a breakout room where you can host a birthday tea afterwards.
My daughter had her 8th birthday at a Flip Out trampoline centre and had fun at other kids’ birthday parties at Flip Out over the years.
10. CLIMBING WALL PARTY
Climbing walls are springing up all over the place, and they are a great party idea for energetic kids. We’ve been to several Clip & Climb parties, which have been great fun.
As with trampoline parties, you usually have an allocated timeslot for the party guests and then a separate room where you can host a birthday tea.
11. DRAMA PARTY
Drama parties are a great way to get all the party guests involved in having fun. Check local and national drama school and theatre group listings for party packages.
We used Perform for our daughter’s 6th birthday party, which we held at home. Ten girls had a super time being led through a series of themed drama and acting games.
12. SCIENCE PARTY
How about a science party for budding science geeks? This is another option: hire a professional entertainer to wow the kids with science experiments or set up some experiments to watch or do.
There are some brilliant science experiment ideas for a kids’ party on Science Sparks.
13. GIANT BUBBLE SHOW
One of my best memories of my daughter at a birthday party was watching her become enveloped in a giant bubble when she was around four. The look on her face and the look on the faces of the other kids as they watched or took their turn was pure magic.
Giant bubble shows have become increasingly popular over the last few years, you can often spot giant bubble entertainers in city centres, and there are plenty of listings for giant bubble entertainers around the country.
14. WATER BALLOON TOURNAMENT
Water balloon tournaments are a great way to keep kids cool during outdoor parties on hot summer days. You don’t need to stick to water balloons. You could give the kids super soaker water guns as well.
Just remember to forewarn kids and parents that they will need swimming togs and a change of dry clothes.
15. SCAVENGER HUNT
You can create a scavenger hunt yourself or buy a ready-made kit. The great thing about scavenger hunts is that you can make them age-appropriate, so they work equally well for toddlers with parents in tow and cool teens.
Follow these simple steps to create a scavenger hunt:
- Put together a list of items for the kids to find
- Hide the things around your home or garden
- For toddlers to five-year-olds: Just let the kids search for the items.
- For six-year-olds to teens: Put together clues for each of the items. They can be as simple or as cryptic as is appropriate for the age group.
If you want to ensure that younger kids don’t get upset, you can have sets of each item and colour-code them, name-tag them or pop them in bags with name or colour labels.
16. PAMPER PARTY
Pamper parties are great for tweens and teens. Of course, they go down well with girls, but boys can also appreciate some pampering.
Set up a pampering station with the following pampering treats:
Peel off or sheet face masks (less messy than ones you smear on)
- Nail files
- Hand cream
- Nail polish
- Foot peel (for teens upwards)
- Foot spa
- Foot cream
- Cucumber slices for soothing eyes
- Spa headbands for holding back hair
- Spa slippers
17. GLAM SQUAD
Glam squad parties are great for kids from 12 years upwards and particularly for teenagers.
You can either create a DIY glam station with a selection of pampering, make-up and hair kit or hire a local beauty service to come and give glam-overs.
Temporary glitter tattoos always go down well at glam squad parties too.
18. SWIMMING POOL PARTY
This is an easy one to assemble if you have a swimming pool! Get a few inflatables and provide suitable pool party summer vibes, food, drink and music.
It is essential to be on hand to keep the kids safe during the party.
Plenty of local swimming pools offer pool party packages. The most fun is the ones that have giant inflatables for kids. My daughter has had great fun at London Aquatic Centre pool parties.
19. PIZZA PARTY
Budding chefs can have oodles of fun creating their own pizza dough and coming up with crazy combinations of pizza toppings.
This is a great idea for hosting a party for a small group of kids at home, or plenty of pizza parlours offer pizza-making parties. Pizza Express is particularly well-known for its pizza-making parties.
20. CHOCOLATE-MAKING PARTY
A chocolate-making party has to be the yummiest party idea ever! These parties are great for kids aged five and upwards.
Depending on the kids’ age, they will be able to mould chocolate or create truffles and assorted filled chocolates and decorate them.
Check local listings for chocolate-making parties.
21. SPORT PARTY
Got a bunch of sporty kids? How about a sport-based party? Football parties, rugby parties, and athletics parties all go down well.
Book a party where a professional takes the kids through skills, or set up your own party with sports-based party games.
You could even turn an athletics party into a mini Olympics.
22. CIRCUS PARTY
A circus-themed party is a great way to entertain kids from toddlers to teens.
Turn your garden into a circus ground and hire professionals to put on a show, or for older kids, you could hire a circus skills entertainer to teach them circus skills.
Alternatively, you could create a DIY circus experience with hula hoops, juggling, and tightrope walking (low-down!).
23. BOARD GAME PARTY
How about hosting a board game party for teens? Either choose one longer-play game as the focus or provide a selection of board games that are more quick-fire.
I’ve put together a list of the best board games for teens, which includes board games that work really well as party entertainment.
24. CRAZY GOLF
Crazy golf is super popular at the moment, with increasingly crazy settings and challenges. Crazy golf parties are great for tweens and teens.
TIPS ON HIRING PROFESSIONAL KIDS ENTERTAINERS
Taking the load off by hiring a professional party entertainer for your child’s birthday party is a great way to ensure you don’t spend the entire party stressed and run ragged. However, there are a few important things to remember when booking entertainment.
- Be clear on your budget and how far it will stretch regarding the number of guests to be entertained.
- Allow plenty of time to research and book: Popular party entertainers get booked up weeks in advance.
- Shop around to compare both the price and quality of the party package
- Ensure you are fully aware of what the party package you are booking entails and that it is suitable for the age and number of children invited to the party. Check if you will be liable for any additional costs.
- Double-check the cancellation policy before confirming your booking.
- Get written confirmation, either by email or letter. The confirmation must include the entertainment’s date, time and duration and specify the exact entertainer or type of entertainer.
- Ensure you are holding the party in a space appropriate for the entertainment.
- Go with personal recommendations from friends and family over reviews if you are trying to decide between options.
MORE IDEAS FOR HOSTING BRILLIANTLY FUN KIDS’ PARTIES
Kids’ parties are among the most popular topics on Mums Make Lists. Here are some of the most popular kids’ party posts:
- Kids’ party games – stuck for ideas for party games? I’ve got you covered with this big list of kids’ party games. There is everything from classic party games like musical statues to Minute To Win It ideas.
- Keep kids’ party food simple and stress-free with these easy-to-make kids’ party snack ideas.
- I guess the easiest way to avoid the stress of kids’ party favours is not to do them!! But if you aren’t brave enough to do that, you will find my post on kids’ party bags and favour ideas invaluable.
- Having trouble coming up with a party theme? Look no further than my big list of kids’ party theme ideas. There is everything on here, from pirate party themes to pyjama parties.
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.