Bounce houses and balloon animals are perennial choices for young partygoers, but if you’re looking for entertainment that’s more original, here are a few fun ideas that even adults can appreciate.
“Bubble-ologist” Casey Carle has blown square, fog-filled, spinning, and six-foot-wide bubbles for Continental Airlines, Old Navy, and a recent episode of Paula Deen’s television show Paula’s Party. Carle and his BubbleMania: Comedy ... With a Drip! team work primarily in the Northeast but will travel internationally. Their acts can be purely comedic, or more educational with lessons about the science of bubbles. Rates run about $500 to $1,000 for a half-day and $1,500 to $2,000 for a full day.
Part children’s theater, part magic show, Arnie Kolodner Magic weaves illusions into classic fairy tales like Snow White and Cinderella. Kolodner, who was named “Best Family Magician” by New York magazine, has performed for Guardian Life; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; and the Down Town Association. His Magical School for Wizards, which features tricks like levitating brooms and disappearing chests of gold, will appeal to Harry Potter-crazed kids. Rates typically start at $650 for a 45-minute show and go up to $8,000 for a full-scale stage production for 500 people. Kolodner can also bring in additional entertainment like stiltwalkers and face painters.
Most improv comedy strays into raunchy territory, but Improv for Kids is strictly family-friendly. The troupe, led by Off Broadway veteran Walt Frasier, includes performers who have appeared on Comedy Central, Late Night With David Letterman, and Nickelodeon. Performed at New York’s Laugh Factory as well as at elementary schools and YMCAs from Washington, D.C., to Boston, the high-energy show incorporates live music, dance, and Whose Line Is It Anyway?-style improv skits like “Human Mad Libs.” Pricing starts around $1,000, with discounts for nonprofits.