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Are you knee-deep in DIY birthday party planning for your kiddo? Maybe you’ve got the balloons, the food, and the centerpieces, but you haven’t figured out the party activities. If you’re looking to share the workload on party day — and have a super-fun event — consider hiring birthday party performers.

One of the questions I get from moms is, “But what do I DO with the kids for a two-hour party?”

If you’re hosting a party at home, you may be wondering the same thing. After all, if your party is really cute, but not all that fun, then what’s the point? Hiring a birthday party entertainer can make your party more exciting and memorable for the kids and easier on you.

Let’s dive into all things party princesses, balloon animal artists, magicians, and even farm animals!

Why Hire Party Performers?

Kids can certainly entertain themselves with games and crafts that you set up and supervise. But here are some reasons why hiring party performers is a game-changer:

  • Professional Quality: Party performers are experts trained to engage children of all ages. This means a seamless, enjoyable experience for the kids and their parents. Be sure to tell the performer the age of your guests so they can gear the performance for the appropriate age.
  • So Many Options: When it comes to kids’ entertainment, the options are endless. From party princesses who look like they’ve stepped straight out of Disneyland, to face painters whose work you’ll be sad to see washed down the drain, there’s something for every child’s interest. Think about costumed character, clown, magician, caricaturist, balloon artist, fortune teller, mobile petting zoo, pony rides, juggler, puppet show, ventriloquist, dancer, impersonator, science experiments and more. If your party is holiday themed, you can even hire Santa or the Easter Bunny to attend! Whatever your party theme, you can probably find a party performer to fit your party theme.
  • Stress Less: throwing a party can be a lot of work. But sharing some of that load makes it easier on you as hostess. When the party performer is leading the kids in a song, story or activity, you can actually relax and enjoy your party instead of feeling on-duty.
  • Create Memories: party performers can transform your celebration into a lasting memory you and your kids can look back on together.

At my twins’ 10th birthday party, we hired a face painter at the girls’ request. The painter also made balloon animals, which was a great surprise for our guests. They were thrilled to have painted faces AND balloon animal hats.

Twins Top Ten Face Painting Collage by The Party Teacher

How Much Do Party Performers Cost?

I get it; we’re on a budget here! Like with all things, the sky can be a limit when it comes to your party budget, but there’s also no reason to spend more than you need to. In 2024, the average price for children’s party entertainment in the United States is $250 per hour.

Some things that can impact the price are:

  • experience
  • performer popularity
  • add-ons
  • duration
  • your location — how far a drive are you from the performer?

As always, get quotes from multiple performers to work out the average in your area and what you can expect to get from your money. By planning entertainment in advance, you can see how much of your budget to set aside for entertainment.

Pssst, remember to plan for tipping on top of any quotes you get. If you were happy with the service provided, tipping 10% to 20% is standard.

How Long Should the Party Performer Stay?

I always recommend having the performer stay at the party for one to two hours, depending on the size of the party and your other plans. This means each kid gets a meaningful interaction without anybody feeling rushed.

However, you know your child better than anybody, and you know what their attention span looks like. Some factors to consider:

  • age of the children
  • type of entertainment
  • party schedule
  • party budget

Make sure you’re clear on the package you’re purchasing. A costumed character might provide a variety of services, depending on the level of package and length of the visit.

If you will open gifts, have other activities, and serve a meal or dessert table, then one hour with the performer may be plenty of time.

Where to Find Party Performers?

Beyond Google, here are my top places to find fantastic kids’ party performers:

  • Performer Marketplace: Try a marketplace service like TheBash, GigSalad or PartySlate. These online services let you search for performers in your area, read reviews, and compare prices and services. It’s free to book a performer through the marketplace, and you can pay through them as well.
  • Social Media: hashtags are your friend! Look for the name of your city alongside your party performer of choice. You’ll find a treasure trove of balloon animal artists and face painters. As a bonus, you’ve got their portfolio at your fingertips.
  • Local Event Listings: next time places around you are putting on a show or festival, check out who they’re hiring for inspiration.
  • Community Forums: put out the word that little Timmy is having a birthday bash on your local Facebook group or mom forum. You’ll get lots of advice and more recommendations than you can shake a stick at.
  • Personal Recommendations: Ask your mom friend group: where did you hire your party princess? Where did you find your visiting superhero? One local firm probably has a wide variety of princesses for hire.

You’ll want to book your performer at least four weeks in advance of your party. That lets you secure your top choice before they book up.

Vetting Children’s Party Performers

Like with any person who’s going to be working with small children, you want to make sure to vet performers to ensure the highest level of quality and professionalism.

My tips for vetting performers are:

  • Trust Your Gut: if something about the communication or responsiveness feels off, do not book them. You don’t want somebody to be flaky on the day!
  • Research the Performer: use our friend Google to look them up on social media.
  • Read Reviews: what do the two-star reviews have to say? Weigh them up against the positive ones. Was the performer on time? Flexible? Kind to all the guests?
  • Check References: ask the performer for references and speak to them directly. It’s even better if you know somebody personally who’s worked with the company before.
  • Chat with the Performer: If you have a special request, ask about that before you book the entertainer. No reason to book a face painter who can’t paint sharks if all the birthday child wants is a shark!

Party Inspiration

As a party planner, this is my favorite part. Check out some of these parties and how performers played a magical part in them:

  • Princess Party: do you have a little party prince or princess at home? Surprise them with their fairytale favorite in their own home. This party by Beijos included three princesses.
  • Petting Zoo Birthday Party: even as an adult, I find petting an animal the most magical experience. This pink barn party from Just a Tina Bit featured baby farm animals and I wish I could have gone!
  • Magician-Themed Birthday Party: for your magician in the making, why not book a professional magician to show them that magic is real? Beijos planned this “magic one” first birthday party, featured on Kara’s Party Ideas.
  • Swan Lake Ballerina Birthday Party: if your child is all about tutus and ballet slippers, this party featured on One Inspired Party has loads of inspiration. A principal ballerina performed for the guests and then taught a mini ballet class!
  • Avengers Birthday Party: Mornings with Mickey styled this fun, modern superhero party — and got Captain America and Iron Man to join in the festivities!
  • Pirate Party: Look, if Captain Jack Sparrow wants to come to your party, I think you have to let him, right? Beijos Events knocks it out of the park (again) with this modern take on a Pirate Party.

BTW, if hiring a professional is not in your budget, I always recommend recruiting aunts, godmothers or a favorite baby sitter. We did all three at our Twins’ Top 10 Favorite Things Party. My volunteers provided mani-pedi services and helped me supervise our scavenger hunt. (Parties definitely take a village!)

Twins Top Ten Nail Polish Station Collage by The Party Teacher

Need to get your party organized?

I hope this introduction to hiring a party performer for your little one’s birthday party has been everything you need! Remember, the sky is the limit when it comes to kids’ party performers.

I am a click away if you need a little helping hand in your party DIY adventures. Here at The Party Teacher, I’ve made it my mission to lessen your workload and double the fun!

Download my free party planning worksheets to help yourself get ahead and make this day the most fun time for your kiddo and your guests! One balloon animal at a time.

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TPT 14 Party Planning Cheat Sheets 11-23-1

Party planning should be fun— not stressful!

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These are the exact 14 worksheets I use to plan all my parties!

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TPT 14 Party Planning Cheat Sheets 11-23-1

Don't miss my FREE Party Planning Cheat Sheets!

Don't miss my FREE party planning cheat sheets.

These are the exact 14 worksheets I use to plan all my parties!

Have fun planning your party (and stop worrying about what you're forgetting).

Plus, you'll get all the latest parties, tutorials, and discounts from The Party Teacher.

You have successfully subscribed! Thanks for joining the party!

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