Kids Parties – A DJ Primer

Kids Parties

By Gregg Hollmann, “Party Professional”

Do you currently offer DJ services for kids parties? If not, I highly recommend adding this fun and profitable party type to your portfolio. In this article, I will share tips and tricks to ensure that you have a great experience.

The Opportunity

A few compelling reasons for DJs to entertain at kids parties are:

  1. They are fun! Kids are generally friendly, enthusiastic and easy to direct.

  2. They are short. Often these parties are just 2 hours long.

  3. Kids parties tend to fall on off-peak times. For example during weekdays or in the early afternoon during the weekend. Kids parties can help to fill up a DJ’s performance calendar.

  4. Kids parties offer the opportunity to improve one’s Emcee skills, as they are extremely interactive and require that the DJ/Emcee spends a lot of time out on the dance floor.

Performance Tips

  1. Know Your Audience – entertaining at kids parties can be tricky when considering that there will often be a range of ages present. While the difference between a five year old and 8 year old is just three years, in terms of life experience and physical/mental faculties, it is a huge difference! Select your games and activities based on your audience. Some games/activities will be difficult to lead for younger guests. Be particularly wary of playing “elimination games” (e.g., “freeze dance”) with young guests who may cry if called out. If offering elimination games to younger guests, bend the rules, or be very gentle.

  1. Bring Hula Hoops – bringing a dozen or more hula hoops to a party is a great way to keep kids occupied and energized. In addition to being used for a hula hoop contest or hula hoop relay game, the kids enjoy playing with the hoops while the music is pumping. Lower quality hula hoops can be acquired at dollar stores. Better quality hula hoops cost more, but last longer.

  1. Get on Their Level – if done correctly, you as the DJ/Emcee at an interactive kids party will become just another child guest. Get into “play mode” yourself, and when speaking with child guests, try to crouch down to their level rather than hover over them like a big imposing giant. Definitely don’t hide out in the DJ booth and avoid the dance floor. While I don’t do this, some DJ entertainers dress in a kid-friendly manner – for example, wearing a funny hat.

  1. Memorize Names – when entertaining at kids parties, I make it a point to learn as many of their names as possible, and then address them individually on the microphone throughout the show. This makes your party more personal, and is very impressive to the parents who are watching the action!

  1. Go Hard, or Go Home – once it’s time to engage the kids, I seek to offer a non-stop program of line dances, games and routines. Rather than milking a single game for 30 minutes (like musical chairs as an example), I’d prefer to use fast-paced versions of games and pack more entertainment into the session.

Some of my favorite games/activities for kids parties – and again this depends on their ages – are:

Dances – Cha-Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, Whip Nae-Nae, Cotton Eye Joe, Chicken Dance, Y.M.C.A., Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake, Animal Action, Hokey Pokey, Conga Line.

Games – Hula Hoop Contest, Hula Hoop Relay, Freeze Dance, Huggy Bear, Stuff It, Mummy Wrap, Musical Chairs, Coke-Pepsi, Tricycle Races, Limbo, Dance Contest, Lip-Sync Contest.

Dance Music – To energize a party, I recommend spinning upbeat current dance music for kids parties – family friendly of course. I personally find kids specialty series like Kidz Bop and Barney to be boring!

Pitfalls to Avoid

A few things that DJs shouldn’t do at kids parties are:

  1. Take Photographs of the Kids – for good reason, parents don’t want photos of their children on the internet or your Facebook page. If you’d like to post photos online, be sure to get advance permission.

  1. Touch Children Inappropriately – I recommend keeping any physical contact with kids to a minimum – I personally like high fives or a pat on the shoulder. As a DJ entertainer, you never want to be accused of touching a child inappropriately.

  1. Ignore Safety of the Children – While there if often mayhem, you need to make the safety of the child guests your top priority. If you can’t get control of the room, enlist parents or adult guests to help you. For any game, make safety announcements such as “no roughhousing.” Keep kids away from your speakers and from any lighting that can burn them.

In Conclusion

Done properly, kids will love your interactive DJ entertainment and not want to go home. Parents will love you for keeping their kids engaged and out of trouble. Adults guests will be quick to grab your business card for a future party of their own.


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