Should you have your next kids party at home or in a venue? To help you choose the best alternative, we’ve listed the benefits and downsides of each option.
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer; both options can make for a truly magical and unique party. But hopefully, this article will help you make a decision.
What do children venues have to offer?
Children venues go by many names: Activity centres, family entertainment centres, party centres… Each venue will be different and will operate differently. An understanding of what they are, and what they have to offer, will help you in your decision process.
When considering a venue, start by looking at the type of activities or games they provide.
1. Indoor or outdoors activities
Are the activities mostly indoors or mostly outdoors? Depending on the time of year, you may favour one option over the other. Some venues provide both. If the weather is bad and the outdoor activities aren’t possible, it’s nice to know there is a backup plan.
2. The ideal age for the activities
The activities offered by a venue are designed for a specific age group. For example, a venue that offers arcade games won’t be designed for the same age group as a venue with ball pits. When considering a venue, check the ideal age for the activities. It should be indicated on their website.
3. The theme of the venue
Some venues will have a theme. This theme will dictate the style of the activities, the decoration and the atmosphere of the venue. Whether you want to comply with this theme is up to you. Most venues will allow you to bring your own decorations to make the party more unique.
Venues will offer different party services. Make sure they suit your party needs.
1. The space provided
When booking an event, the venue will grant you some space. Depending on the venue, it can be as little as a table in the main hall or your own private room. These rooms can cost more but give you more flexibility to create and host the party you want.
2. The venue catering
Venues generally offer flexible catering for parties. However, don’t expect this meal to be well-balanced… it’s a kids party after all. The menu prices should be available on the website of the venues.
The third factor to take into account is, of course, the price of the venue. Typically, venues will charge per kid. Check your local area to see what the price range is.
The benefits of hosting a party in a venue
We’ve listed the main benefits of hosting a party in a venue instead of at home.
1. On-site safety
One of the major benefits of having a party in an activity centre is the on-site safety and security. Children can run around and have fun without the parents being worried. Note that most venues will still require parents to be present at the venue. Take this as a great opportunity to have a cup of coffee and read your book.
2. Flexible catering
Venues will typically provide food and beverages as well as the whole table set (Cutlery, napkins, glasses…). The hidden side of this service is the piece of mind it provides. Most venues will also provide the option to self-cater. This allows you to add your own special touch to the event. For example, you can book lunch at the venue but bring your own custom cake.
Venues will provide you with space you might not have at home. From chairs to cutlery to floor space, our homes aren’t usually equipped to host an army of kids. In addition, some venues will also provide a music system and can recommend entertainers for the event.
4. Less to do
Generally speaking, venues will reduce the amount of organisation required. Home parties require more time for preparations and for cleaning afterwards. Venues allow you to enjoy the event and then go home to a clean and quiet house.
5. Unique activities
If there is a specific activity your children wish to do, a venue might be the only answer. In other cases, having the party at home is the obvious option. For example, having a sleepover vs an afternoon bowling.
The benefits of hosting a party at home
Venues are excellent at doing what they do. If you want to join the ride, you will have a great time. On the other hand, if you wish to have a more custom and unique party, hosting it at home might be the way to go. We’ve listed here the main benefits of hosting the party at home.
Activity centres can be pricey, especially if you have a large group. The price is set at the booking. If some kids can’t make it, give the venue a call. Otherwise, you could be charged for guests that don’t show up. Having the party at home means you won’t have to worry about this.
Venues need you to join in with the experience they have to offer. If you wish to model the party your own way, consider having the party at home. For example, most venues will already have a theme. If you wish to have your own theme, have the party at home and hire an entertainer.
3. Venues are very strict on rules.
When it comes to entertainment, being strict on rules is a good thing. However, it does require you to research what can and can’t be done in the venue. For examples, what is their policy on birthday candles? Or, is the venue allowed to provide you with a knife to cut the food?
4. Venues can be extremely busy
Their busiest times are weekends and Thursday through Saturday evenings. You will need to book the venue, 5 to 6 weeks in advance, to guarantee a spot. In addition, if you’re having your event on a busy day, expect numerous other kids. If noisy crowds are a nightmare scenario for you, consider hosting a more relaxed party at home.
Booking a Function Room
It’s also possible to book a regular function room or community hall and decorate it to match the kid’s party theme. This is often a good option for family events or for older children. The price will be based on the room and not the number of attendees. The downside is you must provide everything yourselves. If you go down this route, double-check with the venues what are the rules when it comes to decoration, candles, games etc.