Tag Archives: Hampshire

Finding The Right Entertainer For You

Choose

 

Booking a Children’s Entertainer can cost a lot of money. So how can you be sure that you are spending yours on the right one? By the end of this blog you will know How To Choose The Most Suitable Children’s Entertainer For Your Event. But before you skip to the last bit, read about the ways you could be caught out.

A few years ago, there was only one source of reference for finding a Clown, Magician or Party Entertainer. It was the Yellow Pages. This directory was The Place to look – and it wasn’t easy to advertise in it. You could get a free line, but nobody would see you or you could pay for an advert. This was expensive, a small box would cost hundreds of pounds. This cost deterred ‘fly by night’ Entertainers. Only committed Entertainers would commit to an advert. In fact, you weren’t considered a ‘real’ Entertainer unless you had an advert in the Yellow Pages.

These days it is not only very easy to become a Children’s Entertainer, it is incredibly easy to set up a free, attractive website and give a false impression of professionalism. So how can you see through the pretence and avoid being stung?

“A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS”

When you look at an Entertainer’s website, Can You See Any Photographs? There is a trend for Kids’ Entertainers to use cartoons or caricatures in their promotional material. This is fine, but quite often the image looks nothing like the real thing. If you can’t see any photographs of the Entertainer – Ask yourself why? Would you buy a mobile phone from looking at a cartoon? Probably not, so make sure you have seen what the Entertainer really looks like.

“OH, YOU LOOK OLDER IN REAL LIFE!”

When you see a photograph, How Old Is It? One disadvantage of websites is that it can be difficult to update the images. It is possible that the photograph is many years old and the Entertainer has aged dramatically. There are many youthful looking Entertainers who look a lot greyer and wrinklier in reality! One way to see more recent photos would be to check their Facebook page. This might have more recent images and therefore you can be happier in making your decision. If there are no photographs there, then be really worried!

“HE WAS SO GOOD, I’M GOING TO NAME MY NEXT SIX CHILDREN AFTER HIM!”

So you like the look of a particular Children’s Entertainer and you’re now looking for something that will tell you about How Good They Are or How Other Parents Rated Them. You are likely to find lots of Claims, Quotes & Reviews on their Website, Facebook page or Netmums Advert.  But can you trust these? If a Shop or Product makes a claim, by law, it must be provable. However in the case of Entertainers, this isn’t so. Unfortunately, this means that there are some Entertainers who may make false claims. Therefore it is best to consider their claims and ask yourself if they are reasonable and possible. Then either dismiss them or ask for proof. The same could be said for any Celebrity Quotes. Ask for proof and if there is any hesitation in the Entertainer’s reply, then it probably didn’t happen. Finally in this section, I come to Reviews or Testimonials. With experience of internet shopping, it is common practise to check out the reviews of a product before buying. There will generally be a mix of good and bad, and from this you will be able to decide if the product is right for you. When looking at an Entertainer’s reviews, bear this in mind – There will rarely be any bad ones. Why? It is because if somebody posts a negative review on Facebook or Netmums, it can be removed. So when you look through the good reviews, be aware that like the Claims and the Quotes, these might be fictitious. Unfortunately, it is too easy for Entertainers to make up their own review. So to check if they are real, check the people who made the ‘review’, have they made other contributions to the review site? Do they have real history? Are they related to the Entertainer? And do the reviews all say the same thing? To sum up, I’m really saying that your decision shouldn’t be based on their reviews alone.

“WOW! PICTURES THAT MOVE!”

Is There A Video Of The Entertainer? This can be a good thing to help you choose. Look on Facebook or Youtube and see if there is any footage or show reel of the Entertainer in action. It doesn’t have to be their show, but it should be video and not just a montage of photos. This will let you see and hear them and will give you a better idea of whether you like them or not. Like I said before, if there are only cartoon images or no images of the Entertainer, be very worried!

“I SAW THIS ENTERTAINER AND…”

I’m nearly there, we’re very close to finding out the best way to choose an Entertainer and this is the second best way. Recommendation! If your friends or a member of your family has used an Entertainer, they will give you the most honest review ever. They will tell you if they were bad, boring or brilliant! They will also let you know whether or not you should also use them. Just a thing, if they do say that the Entertainer was ‘bad’, ask them why? This information might give you pointers to help you choose.

“DAH DAH DAH” (That’s supposed to be a trumpet fanfare!)

So here it is… The best way To Choose The Most Suitable Children’s Entertainer For Your Event. Book an Entertainer you have already seen. It sounds obvious really, but it is the best way. You will have seen their show, their appearance and their behaviour. You will know exactly what they look like and you will know if you like their act. And this is why it is the best way.

So to finish, what I’m saying is when you are booking someone for your Children’s Party, use as much care as you would when making a large purchase. And if you choose carefully and make the right choice, your child will be the happiest boy or girl in the world!

I hope you have found this blog helpful. If so, please share it with your friends on Facebook etc and feel free to add any comments.

Service!

tennis-ball--grass-court--Wimbledon-generic-jpg

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships are under way. So for the next two weeks, we’ll be hearing Umpires calling the word – SERVICE!

So LET me tell you about the SERVICE I offer.

My aim is to provide you with a service which has NO FAULTS!

I have a SET of procedures that I follow to help you have less stress and make your function ACE!

When you book, you will receive written confirmation of your booking.

On the day before your booking, I will text you to confirm everything is okay and I will prepare my show to MATCH the ages of the children.

Again to reduce your stress, I will arrive at your venue in good time and will be ready to start on time.

All the GAMES at my parties are non-elimination and are suitable for all ages.

All the music I play is vetted and checked for any inappropriate lyrics.

It’s true that the children might make a RAQUET, but everyone will LOVE the party!

Home or Away?

Do You hold Your Child’s Birthday Party at Home or in a Hall?

Kids Party Clean Up

So you’ve decided that you are going to have a birthday party for your child, but where is the best place to hold it?

Are you happy for all of their friends to come into your home? Or is it better to book a large room or hall and let them run riot there?

Well, I hope I can make you aware of some of the pros and cons about both.

AT HOME

There are advantages with holding your children’s party at home.

Cost – It’s free!

Availability – You can have the party anytime you like!

Travel – You live there!

And you know exactly what it’s like.

You can arrange which rooms you are going to use and make as much space as you need. It’s possible (weather permitting) that you can make use of the garden as well.

One thing which is important to consider is, how many children are you inviting? If you are getting the whole class to come along, do you have the room for 30 or so children? If you haven’t, then you should keep a cap on the numbers. Invite best friends only, or only the girls, or only the boys.

If you do have room for that many children, be sure to clear the room which they will be using. Get the settees pushed back to the walls and move any valuable (or not so valuable) ornaments out of the way. Children do like to run around, so you really do need to make sure they have the space to do so.

Regardless of the number of children you have invited, be prepared for mess. Unfortunately there is a very high chance that someone will spill a drink, or drop a piece of chocolate cake. So if you have a lovely cream carpet in your living room, it’s best to keep that room out of bounds!

One more thing about having the party at home is to consider how the children will behave. A party is often the only time class friends meet up outside of school. So when they meet, they will act like they do at school. Imagine what children do at playtime, they run about, they play games, they play fight and sometimes actually fight. This is how they may behave in your home. Be prepared! Make sure that there is some structure that will keep them occupied. It might sound a bit OTT, but have a timetable in mind for how the party will go. Be flexible though, because sometimes what seems a great idea in your head doesn’t go so smoothly on the day!

The final thing is the cleaning up when they all go. Well to be honest, you are likely to have that whether you are at home or a hall. But the advantage of cleaning up at home is that you can take your time. There’s no pressure to ‘be out’.

IN A HALL

This could be a Village Hall, Community Centre, Scout Hut, Social Club or Church Hall. It is going to cost something to hire and is probably going to have time slots of availability. But the big advantage is space!

This is the most likely option when you are inviting the whole class. A good hall will have space for tables to be set up for when the children eat and still have plenty of room for them to play.

You may not have to travel too far to find a good venue. But an important thing to consider is parking. If the weather is bad and you are ferrying party food to and from your car, you don’t want to be miles away. Also, if it’s difficult for you to park, it’s going to be hard for your guests, which could make them late.

Something to look out for in your hall is a Sound Limiter. This is a ‘box’ which is fitted at one end of the room and it monitors the sound volume. If the sound gets too loud, it will cut out the electricity. These devices are fitted to stop loud music being a nuisance to the neighbours, but are sometimes set so sensitively that children can cause a cut out.

When you book your hall, be sure to get some form of confirmation and a contact telephone number. Many halls are run by volunteers and sometimes they are very good and sometimes they are… ur… a little bit too casual. I have experienced these casual caretakers at quite a few parties. On more than one occasion, they have been late opening up the venue. Instead of having half an hour to set up, the parents have only got into the hall five minutes before the party was due to start. This really does cause unnecessary stress. If you have a contact number and send them a reminder on the day before your party, you should avoid this.

Also when booking the venue, be sure that you do have enough time to set up the room how you want and pack away afterwards. I know of a venue in Portsmouth, that only allows fifteen minutes between bookings. That means one party has to clean away in seven and a half minutes and the other set up in the same time. Again, this is unnecessary stress.

To sum up, the advantage of a hall is that there is much more room and there is no chance that any of your stuff getting damaged!

Whether you decide on Home or Hall – The Amazing Mister Tall can provide the perfect party package!

The Quest For The Perfect Pass The Parcel

A light hearted look at one of the nation’s ‘favourite’ traditional party games

In this article, I will endeavour to discover the best way to play Pass The Parcel. I’d like to start off by saying that it isn’t one of my favourite games. In fact, I’m not a fan! If requested, I will play it at parties, but prefer to play better games instead. By the end of this piece, I either will have converted myself into a fan, or converted you into my way of thinking.

I’ll start with its origins…

Pass The Parcel was first played in Neolithic times. It was invented by a caveman called Dug and his friend, Neville. Instead of a parcel, they used a rock. A few things stopped the game being a success; they didn’t have paper, they didn’t have music and there was just two of them.

Moving on to The Dark Ages, Pass The Parcel was played by many many people. Again, there were problems… It was dark! So they didn’t know who had the parcel, if they had unwrapped it and what it was when it was unwrapped.

It was in Victorian times that Pass The Parcel really became the nation’s favourite. It was so popular that hundreds and hundreds of people would take part, with games lasting for weeks. It was said that there was so much paper from the unwrapping, that you could have seen it from space.

So how do you play Pass The Parcel?

Well there are no hard and fast rules, but here is the usual way the game is played. (Or should I say the way that parents anticipate the game will be played.)

The children sit on the floor in a circle.

A parcel is given to one of the children.

Music plays and as the music plays the parcel is passed from one child to another.

When the music stops, the child holding the parcel unwraps one layer of the parcel.

The music restarts and the parcel is passed on again.

The previous two steps are repeated until the last piece of paper is removed and a large prize is revealed.

Everybody claps and cheers for the winner.

Where can potential problems occur when playing Pass The Parcel?

The children sit on the floor in a circle.

A parcel is given to one of the children.

Music plays and as the music plays the parcel is passed from one child to another.

When the music stops, the child holding the parcel unwraps one layer of the parcel.

The music restarts and the parcel is passed on again.

The previous two steps are repeated until the last piece of paper is removed and a large prize is revealed.

Everybody claps and cheers for the winner.

I’ll go through each of the potential problems.

The children sit on the floor in a circle. Getting twenty, or so, under sixes to sit in a circle is as easy as juggling with live salmon! They sit in all different places, they sit so close that they are piled up or they sit so far away, the game could be called Post The Parcel! Little Jessica doesn’t want to sit with Little Johnny and nobody wants to sit near Ralph. So the way to get the children sitting in a circle is to trick them! While they are standing up, get them all to hold hands. This still isn’t easy, but is better. Once they are all holding each other’s hand, they are in a ring (see you’ve tricked them). Now get them to sit and you are in a position to start the game. Phew!

A parcel is given to one of the children. This is the easiest task of the game, but consider what you have wrapped the parcel up in and how well you wrapped it! Wrapping paper is the obvious choice, followed by tissue paper and then maybe a newspaper. But beware if the newspaper is The Sun. It’s best not to include page 3, with its picture of Delilah, aged 23 from Cumbria!! And use a little bit of tape to keep the parcel wrapped, not a whole roll of sellotape.

If I do play Pass The Parcel, I use specially made cloth bags.

Music plays and as the music plays the parcel is passed from one child to another. Now this is where the trouble starts. Little children just love to receive a parcel, it must be for them. “What? Pass it on to the next girl? I don’t think so, it’s mine, I’ve been given it by the very nice grown up. Why should I give it to someone else?” This is what the average three year old is thinking, so you have to encourage them to pass it on and then of course the next child thinks the same and so on and so on. It is only the experienced party goers, the professionals, who are probably about six or seven years old, that know how to play the game. So if your party is for under fives, you might want to hire some seven year olds to help.

One thing I do is include forfeits or challenges. So when the music stops, it might not be a prize that they reveal. It has helped a little, but again, it’s only the older children who understand the concept.

When the music stops, the child holding the parcel unwraps one layer of the parcel. Now we’re getting to the really tricky bit. You might be thinking that I’m going to say about the child taking more than one layer off. That’s a mere fly in the ointment compared to the bigger issue.

When Pass The Parcel was first thought of, there was one prize. And it was the only prize. As the parcel was passed round, if it stopped on you, you knew that you weren’t the winner, yet. But you might be, when the parcel was really small and had just a few layers left. In recent years, it has become unacceptable for anyone to be a loser. Everyone should be a winner, but maybe not as much of a winner as the winner!?! So, instead of there being one prize, a little prize is now put in each layer. It might be a chocolate, or a small bag of sweets. But every child playing knows that when they unwrap the parcel, they will get something.

That’s a good thing, right? Well yes and no. This means that the person in charge of the music has to stop the music at every child, they have to get the timing right. And if they get it wrong, or the parcel is passed a bit too quickly when the pause button is pressed, they have to say “Actually George, it’s Sophie’s turn. Give the parcel back to her.” Also, because the children know that they are only going to get one go at unwrapping, if they have already had their turn, they are no longer interested. They are no longer involved in the game. And finally one child is going to be last. They have to sit there and watch all the other children eat their little prizes while they are waiting. This is all pretty demoralising stuff for little people.

The music restarts and the parcel is passed on again. “Pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, go on, pass it on.” I bet you’ll say this a thousand times!

The previous two steps are repeated until the last piece of paper is removed. Depending on the number of children taking part, this process is going to go on for a long time. To be honest it is one of the reasons that I don’t like to play it, it takes so very long and it’s not just the grown ups who lose interest. If you think about it, the process of music playing, parcel passing, music stopping, parcel unwrapping and music restarting probably takes a minute. So a Pass The Parcel with twenty children will take twenty minutes from your party. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Everybody claps and cheers for the winner. So you’re in charge of the music, everyone has had their little prize. Some of them are eating the sweets or chocolate already. It’s the big moment, the big prize, but who is it going to stop on. You might turn your back and press stop without knowing that your child is holding the parcel! Or little Terry is gripping hold of that parcel and making sure that he is not going to let it go. Or the music stops just in mid-pass, two children have their hands on it. Arrrrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whatever happens, you are going to be a right meanie! One solution is to allow the song to play until the end. This way, you can chivvy the children along and make sure that it is being passed fairly. Of course it’s best not to use a song that every child knows and will realise that the end is coming up. And instead of having the prize in the parcel, just have a piece of card with the word ‘WINNER’ on it. Then if two children win, you can give out two prizes. Simples!

I believe that the perfect party game should have the following…

Involvement: Nobody sitting out, or thinking that they haven’t got a chance to win.

Tension: Not nervous tension, but that feeling of “Oooh oooh ooh, is it going to me?”

Excitement: This goes with the tension and everyone playing should feel the same.

Surprise: This could be the surprise of getting a little prize, getting a forfeit or being a winner.

Delight: Most of the players should feel happy about who won. I say ‘Most of the players’- sometimes children do need to know that losing is part of a game.

So how do you play the perfect game of Pass The Parcel?

I would say “Don’t!” Haha!

But if you really wanted to, play it with a dozen seven year olds, with only one prize, but some forfeits in the wrapping.