A good and experienced Children’s DJ for a disco should be happy playing to any age group and even for mixed ages from 5 to 9 or any 2 year difference. However, playing to a mix of ages at the same party can mean it’s tricky keeping all of the attending ages entertained properly as all ages will have different tastes in music and what they consider a fun disco.
It takes a certain type of DJ to do a Children’s party properly, and it’s simply a matter of understanding the needs of the age group(s) attending.
An experienced Children’s Disco DJ should not just come along and play some music in the hope that the children will have a good time; they really should get involved! This is done by organizing and playing the children’s own choice of games and competitions, showing them the dance moves to some of the songs and by being completely approachable, friendly and interactive.
Giving out prizes for just about anything the children are doing at the time is also a guaranteed hit whether it is because someone is the best dancer, most original dancer, best singer, loudest singer, or to the children just trying the hardest!
A DJ can usually play to almost any number of children, but please bear in mind that playing games, organising competitions and handing out prizes (particularly with younger children) represents a huge part of what a DJ does for them. For a children’s disco, consider inviting anywhere between 12 and 35 children because it helps a DJ organise games and competitions, making the party very manageable. With fewer than about 12 children, games etc. may not work quite as well as the atmosphere may be lacking, whilst with more than 35 or so children, these activities can sometimes become difficult to organise!
Consider how long the party should be based on the children’s ages. For younger children around 4 to 5 years of age, shorter parties between 20 to 45 minutes work well because they can become easily worn out. For older age groups such as a 6 to 9 year range, a longer party around two hours can be possible. With younger children, up to 5 or 6 years or so, use relaxing music at a low volume so not to scare anyone. Once the party gets started, a good DJ will then start introducing a competition or two (best dancer / best or loudest singer etc.) with prizes for the winners to warm things up.
Then possibly a game or two mixed in with the music (all of the Birthday Boy or Girl’s very own choice wherever possible) and plenty of songs with ‘actions’ or ‘moves’ which can be organized or demonstrated by the DJ. Constantly handing out prizes, throughout the party and organizing all manner of competitions and games with prizes is usually the best way to keep the children’s attention.
You cannot just play a song and leave the children to it, especially with the younger ones, as they will lose concentration very quickly, not to mention leaving a large group of them unsupervised. If children need to take a break, a DJ can usually suggest a short break for ‘tea’ about half way through. This can be a ‘proper’ sit-down tea or just a break for drinks & crisps. Also for very young ones- a quick reminder to use the toilet!
Straight after ‘tea’ is a great time for you to bring out the Birthday Cake (if you have one and it’s a Birthday!). Ask the DJ to lead a group sing along as the candles are blown out. There is plenty of time for someone to cut the cake into portions- ready for you to offer everyone a piece.
After a break, plan to play some party games. Older children (6 or 7 years and older) will often feel too ‘grown-up’ for Pass-the-Parcel, so this can be substituted with Musical Chairs. This is a great way of helping you to tidy away the furniture from ‘Tea’ too- we’ll simply ask the children to bring their chair onto the dance-floor when they have finished eating and commence the game. This will give you time and room to clear the tables after ‘Tea’. Then it’s back to the Disco again, with more music, games, competitions, spot-prizes, etc.
There really is no ‘set-routine’ as such to any Children’s Disco, but this (or something similar to it) in my experience normally works well. A good DJ should be happy to change or re-organize what he does or any running orders in any way that suits the customer.
The truth is, a good DJ for any party should ‘play-it-by-ear’ and decide what to do or play next based on his experience, on any feedback from the children or organizers, and the general reaction to the Children to the last thing he did.