Everyone has seen a stereotype of what kid’s birthday party entertainment looks like. It opens with a clown in horrible makeup scaring kids with his crazy laugh and giant shoes. It ends with an adult laying on a couch trying to pronounce coulrophobia (the fear of clowns).

I’m pretty sure this is an unlikely scenario for a kid’s birthday party, but a room full of wiggly bored kids is not unlikely at all. In fact, it happens all the time. So, how do you avoid it? Well, do your research first. These are the best places I recommend for finding children’s party entertainers in the Bay area.

1. Yelp: This is the top place I would suggest. Anyone can create a website and call themselves a party performer, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t have enough experience with specifically entertaining children. As parents know, it’s hard to keep a kid’s attention. It takes a special touch. That’s why I suggest reading client reviews, and Yelp has an easy to navigate rating system. It’s also a popular site and more traffic means more feedback for you to look at before you hire someone.

2. GigMasters: GigMasters has pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros. They have a good rating system, so you can see reviews. A lot of the performers listed here charge less. If you want budget birthday performers then look at GigMasters. Based on the pros, you can probably guess the cons already. When you spend less money, there’s a good chance you’re losing out on something else, whether that’s experience or talent or both.

3. GigSalad: This site is similar to GigMasters, but it doesn’t have as many entertainers listed. Still, it’s a good place to do some comparison shopping.

4. Bay Area Parent: Bay Area Parent has print magazines for specific regions of the bay as well as an online site. This is a really good place for finding people who are advertising their services. The entertainers you’ll find here tend to be higher quality because they have to pay for the advertising space. Someone who is just starting out or not getting jobs won’t have the funds to advertise with Bay Area Parent, whereas someone who is established and busy, will have a specific budget for listings like this. You won’t find an entertainer spending their money here unless they are serious about the business of making kids happy.

5. Google: Let’s say you have a kid who wakes up every morning with a lightsaber in his right hand and a blaster in his left. A party magician won’t make this kid’s day, but a Jedi birthday will. You can type Jedi birthday into the world’s most used search engine and find a master who will teach him to use the force for good. The same principle applies to other party types whether you need a star wars theme, a superhero birthday party, a ninja party, or even a magic show, there is someone who specializes in what your kid loves and Google can help you find that someone.

6. Andy Zandy: Hey, you’re already here, how could I not bring up myself? If you’re looking for kid’s birthday party ideas, well, I’ve got them. Just click on the parties link at the top of the page to see all the different party options I offer.

Kids Birthday Party Entertainment should never mean bored kids forced to sit still and watch a clown give a monologue. Reading reviews and doing your homework will give you the greatest chance of finding someone who engages kids, gets them moving, and turns your party into an event your child will talk about for months afterwards.