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Play Barn VS Kids Entertainer (Reviewed)


If you are planning a party for your child, there are literally hundreds of things you can do with your kids. Everything from taking them to a theme park with some of their closest friend through to a DVD night at home. However ,we find that the two most popular options are arranging a party at a play barn or hiring a children’s entertainer.



Why Is This Important?

There is a good chance if you have children, you have considered both of these options. In fact there is a very good chance that you have actually done one (if not both) of these options. As these are the two most popular options, our goal for this Blog is to compare the two parties. We'll go through how they work, the pros & cons of each and how much you will be expected to pay. It's your choice, of course. This Blog will give you more insight on which option is best for you and your child.


The Children’s Entertainer

Most parents that go for this option book the entertainer for two hours, but there are some time slots that range from 90 Mins or even an hour. Most entertainers will not offer packages shorter than an hour.

The idea is simple: you supply the venue and the food while the entertainer will come along to run and host the party. They will make sure everyone is having a great time. The actual content of the two hours varies from entertainer to entertainer. At Non Stop Kids Entertainment, we have numerous packages but the most popular is a two hour package called the Hassle Free Party. Over the course of two hours, we would run a disco, perform a magic show, make balloon models and play loads of high energy party games. Other kids entertainers may do something similar or something completely different, but we promise you it's an amazing and memorable experience.


With this sort of package, you organise the venue. It could be a village hall or a function room in a pub or restaurant. A lot of clients these days are holding parties in their own home in a living room or conservatory. All you would be responsible for is supplying the party food that the kids eat. You could provide a buffet that you have prepared yourself, order in fast food (e.g McDonalds and Pizza) or you can hire a catering company in to cater the party. There are a lot of options that you can go for depending on your budget.

he basic Regardless of the type of food served, the entertainer will run everything, you just feed the kids and hand them their coats on the way out. To start with, there is normally a disco playing as the kids arrive. Afterwards, the entertainer will go into some sort of show (normally a magic show or a puppet show). After the show, you feed the kids and the entertainer will prepare for the second half. Once the kids have eaten, your entertainer will have everyone sing happy birthday. To conclude, through to the end there will be party games and action dances and dance competitions. That's the basic concept of a children's entertainer party!


The Play Barn!

Most play barn parties follow the same pattern. Initially as the kids arrive, they are allowed to play on all the play equipment. This normally lasts for an hour. Usually they don’t have exclusive use of the equipment, rather they play in the play barn with all the other children that have paid to be there. After this ends, a party host will take the kids to one side and play some party games with them. Sometime later, they are taking into a private party room and this is where the children will be served party food and sing happy birthday to the birthday child. After this, the party ends and the children leave.

With a play barn, you typically pay per child. This price per head covers the use of the play barn, the allocated party host and the food as well that will be served to the children. As you can see, there are some differences.


Which Is Best?

There are a number of advantages of hiring an entertainer to host a party. One of the main advantages is that it makes the party feel special. Kids get taken to play barns all the time, therefore having a party in a play barn just doesn’t feel special. It’s a little like going to the theatre vs going to the cinema. It always feels more special going to a theatre because you are seeing live entertainment and it’s something you don’t do all the time. Typically, you won’t get this same feeling going to a cinema as it’s something people do all the time. With an entertainer, the whole event will feel special. You will have your own venue and the children will be doing something they don’t normally get to do.

Another point to consider is that generally the staff at play barns are not trained entertainers. This means when they are playing games with the children, they won’t do anywhere near as good a job as if you hired an entertainer. This doesn’t mean they are bad people, it’s just that controlling and entertaining about thirty 5 year old’s is a skill that only comes through experience. Sometime ago, our Director Craig took my son to a play barn party that he was invited to. When it came time to play games, the kids were taken to one side and the idea was the party host would play about half an hour of games. She played one game and she totally lost control of the kids. She ended up cancelling the party games and giving the kids more time on the play equipment. She was a lovely lady, she just didn’t have the skills to keep 30 kids entertained.

A big advantage of having a play barn party is there is less hassle from the parents point of view. The play barn will generally organise the food and when the children are playing in the play barn, they look after themselves. There are normally cafes on site as well where the parents can go and buy themselves a drink and a snack. This is a lot easier than a party where you are doing everything. You have to sort the party food and make the parents endless cups of tea and coffee! And even though your entertainer is running the party from an entertainment point of view, you will still have to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Another thing to consider is price. The advantage of a play barn is that everything is included in the cost per head. For example, if you have 20 kids at the party and they charge you £15 per child, that means you are paying £300. With an entertainer, you might pay £200 for the entertainer, however they are other costs you need to consider. The cost of the food, the venue and decorating the venue. The advantages of hiring an entertainer is that you can have as many kids as you want. It won’t cost much more to have an extra 10 kids (you just need to buy a little more food). Children generally want to invite everyone they know to their parties, so having a lot of kids can be expensive with a play barn. Furthermore, if children don’t turn up on the day of the play barn party, you still have to pay for everyone! Even worse, if extra children turn up (such as siblings and other friends) you would be charged more. With an entertainer, you are more in control of the costs.

The other advantage of hiring an entertainer is that generally the whole experience is more varied. The kids at the party will see magic, balloon modelling, a disco, party games. There is no chance of them getting fed up as there is so much going on. With a play barn, the whole experience gets boring fairly quickly. A lot of the time with a play barn, the kids at your child’s party might not even be playing together. With a large play area, they could not see each other at all until it comes time to eat.

Another thing to consider is that if your child has something they are really passionate about, an entertainer can normally incorporate that theme into the party. For example, at Non Stop Kids Entertainment we have performed parties based around Star Wars, Doctor Who, Thomas The Tank Engine, Paw Patrol and much more. It means that the party is specifically designed for your child. At a play barn, that simply wouldn’t be possible!

One final thing to consider is the amount of children you want at your child’s party. As a parent, you will know that children get invited to so many parties these days it’s almost impossible to say yes to every party. More parents say yes to a party where there is an entertainer than a play barn party. A lot of parents think that they take their child to play barns all the time and therefore it is not a problem missing one of these parties. This is not the case with a party that is hosted by an entertainer.



The Choice Is Yours!

Ultimately, the decision is yours. If you want an easy life then book a play barn. You will have very little to do other than sit there and chat to the other parents. However, if you want your child’s party to be really special, then book an entertainer. From a cost point of view, the price tends to work out the same no matter what you do. Of course, you can find cheaper entertainers, however they are cheaper for a reason. If you decide to go with the cheaper option, check out our other Blog that offers advice on how to spot a bad entertainer.

If you would like to speak to Non Stop Kids Entertainment about having us provide the entertainment for your child’s party, then give us a call on 0333 301 3002. The other option is visit our contact form by select the banner below fill it in and we will send you a no obligation quote within the hour. We look forward to hearing from you!


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