My daughter turns five next month and I am on the hunt for someone to entertain 20 children for a couple of hours. As her birthday is generally the last party to be held before the summer break, we see a lot of entertainers. So this year I was hoping to find some alternative children’s party entertainers.

Entertainers are not cheap. Performers local to us charge a minimum of £160 for one hour’s entertainment. Rather pricey if holding a party on your own, particularly if you have also forked out on a venue. However, this didn’t stop me looking around to see if I can find my Top 10 Alternative children’s party entertainers.  I found some interesting entertainers that I wanted to share with you, including one that was within budget.

1. Acting The Party

Acting the Party is an award winning, unique, form of entertainment that is affordable and stress-free. Sounds perfect, right? What’s the catch? The secret is that there isn’t an entertainer. Instead, there is an interactive audio story play which you receive in the post as a CD or a USB, then hit ‘play’. The children will then be entertained for two hours through role playing, story telling, puzzles and games.

Each themed audio party is narrated by a professional actor and is full of sound effects and music to help set the scene. The whole party is designed so that once set up there is very little the parent needs to do. The ideal party size is eight children or multiples of eight. This was the only form of entertainment I found within budget, priced at an affordable £24.99.

2. Punch & Judy

We stumbled across a Punch & Judy show the other day at our local park and it brought back fond memories of my own childhood. My heart leapt with joy as I caught sight of that iconic red and white stripey tent. My husband and I were giggling away as we watched Judy and the Crocodile fight over a string of sausages. The girls were equally entranced.

If you are interested in hiring a performer for your child’s birthday, they often offer a mini magic show as part of a children’s party package.  They will also tame the crocodile for very young children. Check out the Punch and Judy Fellowship for performers near you.

That’s the way to do it.

3. Bubble Show

My two are obsessed with bubbles. There is a chap, known in our house as The Bubble Man, who performs on the South Bank just outside Tate Modern. He has a huge bucket of magic bubble liquid (I call it magic as I have no idea what is used to make such big bubbles – my attempts at home with Fairy Liquid always fail miserably) and incredible nets that he uses to create gigantic bubbles.

He is a bit like the Pied Piper, always surrounded by children. If the kids haven’t managed to pop the giant bubbles, you can often see them floating across the Thames. Anyway, it turns out that you can actually hire a Bubble Man, not The Bubble Man. Or maybe you can, he just always seems too busy to even ask. Just ask Google for ‘Bubble Party’ in your area.

Discover my Top 10 Alternative Children's party entertainers | The Parent Express

4. Travelling Natural History Museum

A dinosaur expert, Dinoman, will come to your venue of choice and wow you with his dinosaur themed entertainment. The party involves casting and moulding fossils to take home, teaching using real fossils and bones and life-size replicas along with some good old fashioned dinosaur themed party games. The whole experience is tailored to the age group from toddlers through to pre-teens. Perfect for the dinosaur obsessed.

5. Be my Bear

Be my Bear is similar to the Build A Bear concept with the convenience that you can hold your party anywhere. They specialise in teddy bear making kits which can then be shipped directly to your home. Each kit includes an unstuffed animal, stuffing, Wish Upon a Star Charm, birth certificate, a luxury carry bag plus party invitation and instructions.

All you have to do is choose the animal (bear, unicorn, husky, etc.) and the size, which range from 10 to 16 inches. The website also has useful free downloadables that will help you plan your ‘Be my Bear’ party. Prices per kit start from £6.95.

If you are bored of balloon modelling or limbo dancing and are looking for someone unique to perform at your party then check out the Top 10 Alternative children's party entertainers | The Parent Express
6. Home Petting Zoo

For children aged six plus, holding an animal show is a great way for the kids to learn about individual animals. The kids will also be able to touch and stroke some of the animals. Most companies bring a variety of animals from snakes and lizards to meerkats and owls. Zoo parties also cater for the under sixes, however, the variety of animals that they will be able to bring will be limited.

Holding an animal show is better suited to smaller parties (15 children and under) otherwise it’s a bit overwhelming for the animals.

Discover my Top 10 Alternative Children's party entertainers | The Parent Express

7. Sublime Science

Award winning Sublime Science makes science fun for children by offering demonstrations and hands-on activities for children aged five to 12 years old. Expect to see experiments such as Making Yummy Sweets (to eat) and Gooey Slime (to take home) as well as Bubbles, Smoke, Fizzing Potions and even Flying Rockets. Each party lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and they even guarantee ‘no-mess’ which sounds good to me.

8. Creation Station

An art inspired party that can be themed around your own party theme and/or around your child. Creation Station has entertainers nationwide who will entertain for up to two hours and provide floor and table covers, overalls and all materials. The general format is that the children will decorate their own party bags and then will fill the party bags with two of their own creations. The activities vary considerably from decorating a wooden box with paints and gemstones to creating a masterpiece on a stretched canvas. There are several party packages to suit all budgets.

9. Dance Party

The Official Dance Party will arrange for one of their professionally trained party leaders to provide an energetic one to two hours of dancing entertainment. They offer different types of packages such as Cheerleading, Street Dance, and Bollywood which is driven by the age of the child. For children aged four to six years old, they offer either a Ballerina & SuperHero Party or a Pop Disco Party.

I love the idea of a Pop Disco party where, amongst the dancing and games, they also learn a mini choreographed dance. For an additional cost, you can also hire a face painter or a glitter tattoo artist.

10. Magician

Who doesn’t like a magic show? A magic wand, a black hat, a white rabbit and a lot of participation from an enthralled young audience. Google ‘magicians’ near you.

Over to You

I hope you found some inspiration in my Top 10 Alternative children’s party entertainers. As for my daughter’s birthday, we have decided to save our money and do the entertaining ourselves. Sure, it will be a lot more stressful but I might steal ideas from some of the entertainers I mentioned above.

Our young party guests will be decorating their own party bags, learning the Macarena (as it’s the only dance I remember from my youth) and chasing bubbles. My husband is also talking about doing his own Punch & Judy show (hopefully he won’t swallow his swazzle).  I will also throw in a few fun party games and follow my tips for a stress-free party. It could be interesting. I will fill you in on what happened in a few weeks time.

Are you planning on hiring an entertainer for your child’s birthday? If so, what alternative children’s party entertainers do you have in your area that you would like to share?