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A Party for All Ages

Marta Block


This Sunday is Grandparents' Day. It's not really a day you think of for having a party, but it did get us thinking. What do you do when your guests range from toddler to oldster? How do you plan a party that works for guests of all ages? It's tempting to try and plan two separate parties, one for each age group, but doing so may cause your guests to miss out on the chance for different generations to have fun together. As you might imagine, we have some tips. For food, you'll want to serve a healthful buffet full of colorful and enticing foods that kids can be left to munch on without mom and dad supervising. These veggie presentations, both from Martha Stewart, work well for everyone. Kids will be delighted with the colors and dips, parents delighted with the low calories.

veggie bites from martha stewart  martha stewart veggie recipe

Several types of entertainment work for diverse groups. Children of all ages enjoy music! You can choose a band or DJ with a large repertoire, or honor the older generation's heritage by choosing a mariachi, polka, klezmer or bluegrass band. Doing so will give your older guests a chance to talk about their own childhood and the kinds of music they remember liking. Magicians and other variety acts are a great fit for a multi-generational party as they can tailor their act to work on multiple levels. Dancers, including belly dancers and hula dancers are another great fit for this sort of party, especially if they include an audience participation part in their show. Children are naturally drawn to the graceful, fluid movements and nothing beats a photograph of grandpa and munchkin dancing side by side.

party with stilt walker

Whatever entertainment you choose to hire, make sure to let the performer know that you'll have a diverse group of guests and ask for ideas of how they might tailor their show to meet the needs of everyone. If possible, arrange the event space with several seating groups of different sizes. This will allow older guests who may have trouble hearing in loud spaces to be able to talk (like the photo below, although we don't recommend white for a party with kids). It will also allow parents to have "adult time" while still watching their kids. If the party is in the evening, a special quiet room where children can rest, nap, or watch TV would be especially thoughtful.

 multiple seating arrangement

What ideas do you have for multi-generational parties? Share them in the comments below.