Any parent who has ever organised a bash knows that there's so much to consider - the invitations, the venue, the food, the decorations, the party bags - and that's before you've even thought about how to keep the crowds amused.
If you're looking for kids party entertainment ideas and don't have a clue where to start, don't panic: we've done some research, and come up with a list of the types of kids' party entertainers that have been the biggest hits with our lot - from real life Elsa and Annas, to puppeteers worthy of a much bigger stage.
There's something to match every party theme and budget, as well as options that will suit a variety of age groups. Now your only task will be whittling it down to just one!
We'll start with an oldie but a goodie. No one (not even the adults) is not wowed by an animated performer pulling doves out of their pockets. Little ones will appreciate simpler tricks and a shorter show, as their attention spans tend to wane, where as older groups will love anything from card tricks to close-up magic. When you call, ask if they'll include the birthday boy or girl in their big finale - they'll love being the star of the show.
Clowns have come a long way from the slightly sinister models of our childhoods. These days, they're bright and fun, although they're still pulling the same old tricks (hankies up the sleeve, anyone?). If you want a more modern take, see whether there are any circus performers that offer party deals in your area - firebreathers, unicyclists and gymnasts all go down well, and some of them will even teach the guests some of their skills too.
Balloons often come as part of a clown package, but if you're not keen on clowns or just want something a bit more grown up, there are independent balloon artists that will make animals, flowers and more in front of a captive audience. It's still well worth the money, as balloon making is actually deceptively hard (the only animal we've managed to master is a snake... )
Perhaps one for a 5+ audience, as we can't imagine anyone younger sitting still for longer than a number of minutes greater than their age! Caricaturists are great for any party theme, and the resulting pictures, when stuck into a cheap frame and paired with a slice of cake, make for a fab alternative to a conventional party bag.
Another one that works with almost any type of party, face painters can transform your child's classmates into any animal, character or object their heart desires. It's worth trying to find face painters that work in a team, rather than a solo artist, because the less patient partygoers can get frustrated if they have to wait their turn for too long.