How to organise a memorable occasion for the children in our lives
Children’s Week provides the ideal opportunity to organise a celebration that brings the community together. This annual week is hosted across Australia, bringing joy to children nationally and locally. It’s our chance to celebrate children’s talents, achievements, contributions and rights. Ensuring children and adults alike will enjoy themselves, is easily done when fun is the focus.
This year’s theme is ‘children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others. Building strong social connections is vital for our mental health, no matter our age.’
With some thoughtful planning and consideration, you’ll be able to create a memorable occasion. To help support you in running a Children’s Week celebration, there are grants available too.
Here are some tips to ensure a successful celebration.
It’s all about the kids
The best way to create a child-friendly celebration is to make it interactive. Children have a right to rest, play and celebrate their culture and the arts. As leaders in their lives, it’s our role to nurture these rights in any way we can.
Plan activities and decorations that appeal to their senses:
- Sight – use plenty of colourful artwork displays and movement in the decor
- Sound – use music and uplifting sounds to brighten their mood
- Movement – keep them active to focus their boundless energy
- Food – delight their tastebuds with a delicious and nutritious menu
- Rest – excitement and stimulation lead to tired kids, setting up a quiet zone gives them permission to rest when their body needs it. The adults will be grateful for a moment of calm too.
Children explore with their hands, so choosing robust materials that they can touch is a must. A mix of sport and craft activities works well for catering to all abilities.
Using posters that ask questions is a great way to encourage creative thinking for both children and adults too.
Choosing multiple levels of participation ensures children can go be involved as much or as little as they desire. Setting up activities suitable for different age ranges is a great way to make sure everyone is able to join in.
Remember that families come in different shapes and sizes when you’re promoting the celebration and during the celebration. Using inclusive language such as ‘parents and care givers” or ‘family’ ensure no one feels excluded.
Make safety a priority
To be able to relax and enjoy themselves, children need to feel secure. This happens when they are surrounded by people they can trust. It’s our role to protect the kids of our communities so anyone involved in the celebration must have a Working with Children check/Police Check. Depending on the area, these can take some time to process, so make sure you apply early.
When organising people to help you run the celebration, start with a thorough recruitment process. Have a list of questions you need to ask and maintain clear records with their contact details, role at the event and safety check listed.
The best celebrations run smoothly when there is an established a chain of command. This ensures information is clearly passed on and decisions are made the appropriate level. Once you have allocated communication officers, lay out a communication plan for everyone to follow with who is responsible for communicating to ensure there’s no mixed messages.
Before hosting the celebration, check if you need permission forms, allergy checks (if serving food) and consent forms for photos or videos. These will all need to be distributed, completed and returned prior to the day of the celebration.
It’s also important to choose accessible facilities – look for things like a kitchen if preparing food, access to bathrooms, ramps for wheelchair and pram access and chairs so people can sit down.
If the weather will be warm – make sure there’s plenty of shade, access to water and sunscreen available.
Be prepared in case of changes
Event management has needed to become more adaptable over the past year, with COVID-19 causing events to be postponed and cancelled numerous times. Think about how you will communicate last minute changes to attendees. Some events can be moved online within a couple of days’ notice whereas others may not be able to go ahead.
Notifying people of a location or time change can be time consuming, so it’s important to have a plan ready to action.
Get the children involved
Children love showing off their creations, artworks and skills. Asking the children to paint pictures or make drawings for you to put on display sends the message that you are proud of their achievements and gives them a chance to show off their learning.
Another way to make them feel valued is to involve them in the planning. They could prepare plates of food to bring or help distribute flyers with adult supervision.
Some ways to involve children on the day of the celebration are:
- Have older children responsible for supervising little children during activities
- Ask younger children to help put back materials they have used when finished at an activity
- Consider asking groups to do a performance such as singing or dancing or a presentation
- Ask children aged 7+ to make announcements, they’ll enjoy speaking into a microphone and feel important when everyone at the celebration hears their voice
At the end of the celebration, encouraging adults to recognise their children’s achievements can be done in simple ways. Presenting their children with a seedling or creating a poster with all the things they love about their child. Making a badge with a photo of them together on the day or painting handprints on a t-shirt. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, kids relish the experience more than anything.
In 2021, Children’s Rights Queensland is turning 50, and to celebrate, we’re offering grants to groups and organisations delivering celebrations and projects during Children’s Week 2021. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go to https://childrensrightsqld.org.au/childrens-week/grants/
How will you be celebrating Children’s Week in 2021? We’d love to hear what you have planned and will be sharing more information about celebrations on our social media platforms in the lead up to Children’s Week. Send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media with #childrensweek2021 #childrensrightsqueensland #crqchildrensweek