Party ideas for 4 years
There are lots of fantastic games for this age group, and with the suggestions below parties should no longer be a daunting experience.
There are a few things to remember for the 2-4 age groups:
At this age childrens attention spans are phenomenally short. Bear this in mind when you think about timings for your party. You will probably need a different game after about 10 minutes. This isn't as bad as it sounds as you can break the games up by getting the children to run to the end of the garden and back (great for burning off sugar induced energy). Part of the game should be helping clear up the mess afterwards - with games like pass the parcel this can almost be as much fun as the game itself! Also children will love to go back and play again at a game they have already played - rather than doing musical cushions 4 or 5 times in a row you can play it 2 or 3 times, do something else then have another couple of rounds later. Rather than be bored you will find that the children actually enjoy it more the second time round as they know what to expect and how to play. This makes them feel clever!
At his age children are not mature enough to cope with the idea of winners and losers. Make sure everyone gets lots of prizes, an equal amount of sweeties / chocolate whatever you are giving out.
It is also worth bearing in mind that with younger children there can be a huge range of differing abilities; try to tailor some games to those that seem to be struggling - parties are meant to be fun for all and if you can identify if a child needs a bit of extra help please do so to prevent tears later.
It is also important to have a few quieter games after a couple of boisterous ones this helps prevent escalating energy levels deteriorate into hysterical tears which can happen very quickly.
Remember that it is a party and parties are meant to be fun. It doesn't matter if timings aren't kept to or schedules aren't met - as long as you have happy children that is all that is important.
Finally, if you can ask / bribe / cajoule/ blackmail another adult or two ...or three into helping then do so. It will help reduce the absolute exhaustion that you will be faced with afterwards, and may even afford you the oppertunity to put your feet up and have a drink once your little ones are safely tucked up in bed.