Hosting Large Group Events with Children: 5 Avoidable Traps

The last thing you want after you’ve put on a huge event is to find out that it was boring.
But that’s exactly what you’ll get if you don’t consider the younger guests attending your event. You’ll be glad to know however, that there are some simple rules you can follow to avoid your event falling into the “boring event” trap and instead have those kids ’Snapchatting’ about their great time.
There are a few circumstances where you would be running a large event with children attending and the most common are; Corporate Family Fun Days, Community Events, Charity Days and School Excursions.
The most common solution for event planners in most of these situations is to either hire in carnival rides and games to a local sports oval or hold it in a large purpose-built venue like an amusement park or a kid’s play centre.
So, let’s take a look at how Event Planners can avoid five common traps when planning large events with children…

1. Know your purpose

The purpose for holding your event can often be lost in the excitement for holding one. Make sure you clearly understand what the desired outcome of the event is and why you’re hosting it. 
Is it an appreciation day for staff and their families? Appreciated staff are more likely to go that extra mile for the business they work for.  
Are you creating consumer events where children are your main audience? Will you need to measure the ROI on the events effect in your marketing campaign? 
Or are you wanting to create a fun excursion for the hundreds of students from your school? It may be an expectation or culture within your school community.
Whatever the reason, being clear on the purpose first, will get you in the right frame of mind to start planning a great event.

2. Know what your guests want

Always consider what would be most meaningful to your guests (young and old). 
Children tend to have short attention spans and won’t sit still with all that energy. However, most adults will want to let the kids run wild, while they converse and join in the occasional activity. 
If your event is being held at an amusement park or attraction, kids will be easy to accommodate, however adults are usually out of their comfort zone. In circumstances like that, ensure adults have a dedicated space for them to lessen interruptions and feel confident that the children are satisfied and safe.
An alternative solution is to use an adequate and straightforward venue or park, then hire activities in to entertain the children. You may find that creating an event from scratch comes with some limitations like variety, council permits and the added stress of guest safety. Consider how your budget can be used most wisely to create the biggest impact. 
For family events – where you are treating both the adults and children, find a way to offer a mixture of activities for all age groups and abilities. A venue that offers a mixture of activities that parents (or teachers) can enjoy with the children is great, but perhaps also ensure there is a chill out zone where the adults can retreat when they’re worn out. 

Chill Out Zone at Luna Park Melbourne

3. Get the right type of entertainment.

You want to ensure you provide a memorable experience for both the kids and adults at the event. Thankfully there are several options you can choose from, but not everything will appeal to everyone. Rather than providing one staged activity for everyone, offer spaces where young groups can play with minimal supervision.
When you include games, activities or shows for children you will find they have a far more memorable experience and can leave the event feeling satisfied and pleased they attended.
In the case of a Corporate Family Fun Day, creating a fun environment helps to bond staff members outside of the office. They will be talking about the event for months. Look for venues that provide ways for your staff and family to laugh and forget about the stress of the office.
Staged shows like musical bands appeal differently to people, as do acrobats or performers, but they go a long way to creating a great atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. 
Amusement parks offer a variety of options for younger children and big thrill rides to keep your more daring guests entertained.

A Range of Entertainment Options

4. Ensure safety and security

For events involving children, anything can happen from a simple fall resulting with a cut on the knee to a lost child who can’t find their supervisor or parent.
You want peace of mind that your guests are safe and if there are incidents, then procedures are in place to look after guests and resolve issues quickly. If you don’t have that in place from a venue, ensure that you have people certified in attending to accidents at the event.
Schools have this covered to the eyeballs and will always have a plan if anything goes wrong. But sometimes it is overlooked for corporate events and family fun days, so make it a priority to ask your chosen venue what their procedures in case of an emergency are. 
Another point to note is, when parents know their kids are in a safe environment where they can have fun, they are more likely to relax and enjoy the day as well. Open parklands don’t offer this level of security and some venues are simply not equipped for kids to safely wander around. Gated, kid-friendly venues are the best option due to their security and mindfulness of children on their premises.

5. Provide appropriate food options

Providing adequate food options are a factor often left to the last minute yet is a necessity for events longer than two hours. 
If you want to provide your guests with food and beverages consider - will you allow them to bring their own food and beverage, will you ensure there is a kiosk or food outlet available for them to purchase refreshments themselves or will you have the event fully catered?
If you plan to fully cater the event, a buffet of delicious food and beverages (BBQ menus work really well), are a great idea for larger groups.  
Younger kids don’t generally eat a lot, so consider offering small meal boxes that include a drink and snack. 
No matter how you choose to cater for your event, ensure all catering provided is prepared hygienically – the last thing you want is your guests getting food poisoning. 

Catering for the Family

Guest post by Colby Heppell | Marketing Manager, Luna Park Melbourne

Colby works closely with the event executives at Melbourne’s iconic Luna Park to provide a unique experience for every guest who holds a function. Coming from a background in branding and customer service, Colby believes creating a great and memorable impression will have guests coming back, as well as them recommending the venue to others. Luna park Melbourne’s bayside venues can handle any type of event, big or small while providing unique atmosphere, entertainment, catering and safety.

For more information on Luna Park Melbourne check out their Event Birdie page or their website.