Welcome to the wonderful world of Children’s Parties

Published January 2, 2012 by childrensentertainer

Welcome to my blog. My name is Mark Keeble (aka Marko Sparko) and I am a professional children’s entertainer. My website can be found at www.markosparko.com

This blog is all about entertaining children. Not just at birthday parties (although that is a major area I would like to talk about) but all year round.

I have two young children and know what it’s like to keep them amused! What keeps children’s interest? What is the best activities and games for different age groups? What is the best food to give at children’s parties? What do you do to make a great children’s party?


Naughty Children

Published February 4, 2012 by childrensentertainer

What should you do with naughty children at the birthday party? A short answer would be: don’t invite them! A persistently naughty child can really upset the flow of a birthday party. Over the years of performing professionally as Marko Sparko I found the naughty child problem happens less and less often. The reason for this, I believe, with more experience and confidence you can nip potential trouble in the bud. Also being a confident performer a child is less likely to play up.

However, very occasionally I will encounter a particularly troublesome child. I have found that some parents are  very little help in controlling a very naughty child. This means it will normally fall on my shoulders! 🙂

On arriving to a birthday party I’m normally friendly with the children but at this point I don’t want to get too chatty with them. For one reason I need to get on with setting my stuff up but also I don’t want any potential trouble makers thinking they can exploit my easy-going nature! So I try to be a little bit reserved just at the beginning. So if I child starts grabbing any of my equipment I will politely, but firmly, tell them not do so. This is often all that is needed to stop any future trouble.

If a child is still causing problems I will gradually get firmer with them. At this point I’m secretly hoping that the parent (if they are at the party) will step in. Strangely a grandparent (not necessarily the naughty child’s grandparent) is more likely to step in at this point. If this is an older child’s birthday party one of  his or her friends have on occasions tried to get the naughty child to behave. If trouble is still escalating I will now try to have a few quite words with the child. I will usually say something along the lines that he/she is spoiling the birthday child’s party and try to explain to him/her that this is very disrespectful. Of course explaining that to a 5-year-old is not necessarily very easy.

If problems still persists then I will take drastic action. This is extremely rare but I will, if necessary, completely stop the party and have a very firm talk (in front of everyone) with the problematic child. Also at this point, if possible, I may decide to change the program to a quieter activity.

There you have it. This is how I handle naughty children. Your comments are welcome! I’m certainly open to advice myself and I don’t pretend to know everything!

It has to be said, that boys are much more likely to cause trouble than girls. Some people may not like me saying that, but I have found this to be the case.

Going back to the very beginning, if you know that a particularly child is a persistent trouble maker, I would seriously consider not inviting them. This can be very difficult decision to make if the birthday child wants to invite the whole class. Also, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (the child and their parent) and I would only suggest this if the child in question is an exceptionally and consistently badly behaved.

Birthday Party Music

Published January 5, 2012 by childrensentertainer

What’s the best music to play? Of course it’s going to depend on ages, whether it’s a boy or girl party, the latest fad and simply what the birthday child likes.

However, I would certainly recommend the Pop Party series. At the time of writing there are 9 volumes. I think my favourite is Pop Party 2!

Check them out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pop+party

How many children shall I invite to the party?

Published January 3, 2012 by childrensentertainer

The main factor to determine this will be whether you are having the party at home or in a hall. However other factors will be your child’s wishes and even your child’s age!

Obviously if you are having the party in hall, you can invite as many children (within reason) as you wish. However I really wouldn’t recommend you invite too many (IMO 40 is too many!). As a professional entertainer I have a powerful amplifier and wireless microphone. Assuming you haven’t got this equipment you will find it difficult to be heard by 40 or 50 loud and excited children.

When the birthday child is 5 or 6 years old, they will often want to invite the whole class. This will mean 25 to 30 children. In a hall, I would say this is the maximum you’ll want. Problems arise when siblings are invited or the party is a joint party, which could easily push the total number of chilren over 40 (or even 50). Don’t do it! You’ll have to be firm with your child or your friends and family! 🙂

As children get older you’ll find they are more selective as to who they invite. I’ve found 8 year olds (and older) will only invite their closest friends and will often only invite friends of the same sex. This makes everything more managable.

In your house of course everything is different. Even if you have a large house you’ll seriously have to cut down on the number of children your 5 or 6 year old will want to invite. You could have the party in the garden, but as we all know the English weather is so unprecictable. Many times I’ve been asked to do the party outside (in the middle of summer) only to pick everything up 30 minutes later when the weather turned. This is something you really don’t want to do.

If you slide the coffee table  to one side and rearrange the rest of the funiture I think 10 to 15 is a comfortable number to have in your house.

Of course small parties can have their own problems. I have performed at a children’s party with just 3 children! This makes it difficult to play games and get the children involved. Also I happen to do balloon modelling so I believe each child at this party went home with 10 balloons each! Invite a reasonable number (there will always be no-shows) and everything will go well.

Finally, make sure the birthday child actually gives out the invites! I party I did several years ago and the birthday boy forgot to hand out the invites and wondered why nobody turned up! This was a tough party!