Life is beautiful. It’s about giving. It’s about family.
– Walt Disney
Want to organise a family-friendly event? Much of the mechanics of organising an event for the whole family is similar to other events. But there are a few extra things to consider.
Read on to learn about…
- What makes family-friendly events different
- The steps to planning a family-friendly event
- 10 ideas for organising your own event
Key differences between a family-friendly event and other events
Family-friendly events aren’t a completely different beast than events for adults. After all, kids are (almost) people, too. But there are a few key differences you should be aware of.
1. Safety first
All good parents care about the safety of their children, so you should ensure that it takes priority at your family-friendly event.
It’s a good idea to check that the venue for your event has mobility and pram access. There should also be a place where parents can park their prams and proper event signage.
Tip: Read our guide to event signage to make sure you direct people to the right entrances.
3. Child-friendly themes
Needless to say, there are also themes that should be off-limits at family-friendly events. These include anything strictly for adults, such as alcohol, sex, and violence.
Tip: Use our guide on how to choose an event theme to point you in the right direction.
4. Types of activities
Kids have a lot of energy and creativity, so choose activities that can stimulate them both mentally and physically, as well as inspire a sense of wonder.
Great ideas for family-friendly activities include:
Key steps to planning a family-friendly event
Now that we’ve covered the key differences between family-friendly events and adult events, it’s time to make a plan for how it should be organised.
1. Pick a date
Pick a date that gives you enough time to organise the logistics and promote the event. It’s a good idea to account for delays and unforeseen events, so include a healthy buffer.
Tip: Check out our guide on how to choose the right date for your event to help you out.
2. Set a budget
Since you’ve already picked a theme for the event, it’s time to calculate how much money it will cost you to organise. Again, you should leave yourself a buffer in case of additional expenses.
Tip: We’ve put together a guide on how to manage the event budget you can use.
3. Find a venue
With the budget in mind, you should take some time to research and shop around for a suitable venue. Keep in mind that it should be safe, age-appropriate, and accessible.
Tip: Use our guide on how to find a venue for your event to point you in the right direction.
4. Promote the event
Use the planning stage to also lay a marketing strategy. It may be as simple as sending out an email, or you could go all out with a social media campaign.
Tip: Facebook is a great tool to target parents who might be interested in your event.
5. Use a checklist
There are a lot of moving parts when organising an event. It helps to write down all the major tasks and cross them off as you go.
Tip: We’ve prepared an event planning checklist you can use to get started.
10 ideas for organising a family-friendly event
Now to the nitty-gritty: the ideas you can use as inspiration for your own event. We’ve collected 10 ideas along with examples of how event organisers have used them in the real world.
1. Sports competition
There are many options when it comes to sports competitions for the whole family. You could organise a fun run, a hula hoop contest, a family pentathlon, or a mini-golf tournament.
Tip: UNICEF has put together a comprehensive list of sports activities for kids and parents.
2. Treasure hunt
Treasure hunts (or scavenger hunts) are a great way to involve all members of the family. Leave clues around your local area and have families compete to find the treasure.
Tip: Use this guide to treasure hunts to learn about different formats and themes.
3. Magic show
Kids love magic tricks, but adults can be equally fascinated by how a good magician uses distraction and sleight of hand to perform illusions that can fool even the sharpest observer.
Tip: Look at the Tivoli Theatre’s Family Magic Show to find some inspiration for your own.
Adult skills are always handy to have for when the kids finally leave the nest. Make an event out of learning one of the most important ones: cooking good food.
Tip: Farmdrop has created a list of six family-friendly cooking classes you can be inspired by.
5. Craft workshop
Although many children have craft classes in kindergartens and pre-schools, it’s not often they get to create something artsy with their parents and extended family.
Tip: Find inspiration for printmaking, drawing, and painting at The Lightbox Workshops.
6. Family rave
One of the downsides of parenthood is that you don’t get to rave like back in the good old days. But the invention of family raves has opened the experience up to people of all ages.
Tip: Check out Big Fish Little Fish, which is a company that specialises in family raves.
7. Laser Tag
While hardball and paintball can be a bit rough for the young ‘uns, there is a safer (and equally fun) alternative: Laser Tag. Find a cool-looking military setting and charge up the ray guns.
Tip: Have a look at Bullwood Skirmish and see how they organise LaserTag games.
8. Music lessons or performance
Not all parents are equally enthused by the soundtrack to Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine. But there are plenty of other genres that will appeal to the whole family.
Tip: Check out Bach to Baby, which is a company that teaches classical music to kids.
9. Children’s story setting
Bring children’s stories to life by organising an event that uses one of the classic tales as a theme. Families can explore Alice in Wonderland or the world of Dr. Seuss in real life.
Tip: See how Discover Children’s Story Centre created The Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss.
10. Film screening
Organise a simple film screening of classic family-friendly movies that can introduce kids to older classics. Bring parents back to a time when they were kids themselves.
Tip: Use this list of good old-fashioned children’s movies from IMDb for inspiration.
Get the family together
Parents can easily get caught up in their work, so it’s important to create opportunities for them to spend quality time with their kids.
Use the ideas in this article to make magic happen during half-term and other holidays when the kids are off school.