Tips for Planning Classroom Parties

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‘Tis the Season for Classroom Parties…either you find them enjoyable and love helping or they are thorn in your side to organize. Either way, I hope to help you with some fun, fresh, helpful tips on planning this year’s classroom parties.

tips for planning classroom parties

Tios for Planning Classroom Parties

Organizing Classroom Parties

Get Organized: Talk to the teacher or volunteer coordinator at your school and make sure you are on the same page. What time is the party? How long does it last? What date/day of the week? How many volunteers do you need? What supplies do you need donated? Is it just one classroom of kids or is it combined? How many children do you need supplies and food for?

➞ TIP: I find it much easier to organize all 3 parties at once, instead of having to go back and do all the same legwork again every 2 months.

Network: Ask other moms who have done it before so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Spend a few minutes searching the internet to get your creative juices flowing, there are a ton of free resources and ideas out there (Google, Pinterest, Facebook. Mom’s blogs, etc.)

Once you have the information, what is the best way to disseminate it? At our school “backpack mail” or the old paper notes home seems to be the preferred way. But I hate killing trees, and notes seem to get lost on the way home with my 1st grader, so as a parent I love email. Consider using PTOManager if your school is set up for this, or even a website like BringIt which allows you to create sign-up lists. List what is needed, and when the slot is filled, everyone can see that and choose something else on the list. The problem I have with sending paper notes home is I get 12 people offering to bring juice boxes, napkins and plates, but no one signs up for anything else.

➞ TIP: If you’re going green and using electronic communication, check with the teacher if there are families without email and ensure they get a paper copy, that way they are able to participate too. {Editors Tip: for preschoolers or classes where children need to be signed in, a sign-up sheet clipped on top of the daily sign-in – with permission of course – is a great way to ensure everyone sees it!}

tips for planning classroom parties

Classroom Party Day Plan

Organization
For younger ones, ages Kindergarten through 5th, centers seem to work well for parties. Having 3-4 groups that rotate make it more manageable, especially for crafts if they need help. The 3 groups I suggest are:

  • snacks/food
  • games
  • crafts

To go along with this division, I also find it helpful to have about 3 parents in the classroom if possible, one to manage each station. Think about the theme of the party. Can you do anything extra to help aid in the celebration? Play scary music at Halloween, wear a festive shirt/jewelry to get in the spirit or make a special treat (that is allergy approved of course) or decoration?

Transition Time
Think of a fun book to bring in to read as the teacher transitions the room from class to party. Perhaps the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown for the upcoming Halloween Party. Ask your local librarian (or classroom teacher) for other good examples if you’re having trouble coming up with something in the appropriate reading level.

tips for planning classroom parties

Classroom Party Activities

Prizes and Crafts
When thinking of goodies or prizes, consider something non-food related. There are so many allergies to consider and also as the children get older many have orthodontics and can’t eat sticky food and feel left out. For Halloween bring mini-pumpkins the kids can decorate with markers, yarn and stickers. For the Winter Holiday bring snow-themed erasers and pencils or extra winter gloves/scarves/hats. For Valentine’s Day, consider making a craft like a mailbox to keep all those adorable valentines in. Think of the theme: maybe snowball makers in December or flashlights/glow sticks to pass out at Halloween since kids will be out late trick-or-treating.

For those that know me, I’m addicted to photography, so a foam picture frame is always welcome in my house, for any season or holiday. So in my eyes, this is always a good back up craft at any party, my favorite source is Oriental Trading Company, it has a wonderful selections (and prices) for supplies.

➞ TIP: Check out www.currentcodes.com for free shipping codes (if available).

Classroom Party Games

  1. Bingo is always a fun one you can play with the whole class.
    ➞ TIP: Remember to make different cards for each kid so they don’t all win at once. If you need help thinking of words that are grade appropriate check out the Dolch Word List.
  2. For older kids, mad-libs are a funny way to practice the difference between nouns and verbs, and you can find some free printables if you google “Halloween mad-libs” or winter, valentine’s, whatever applies.
  3. In the winter the most adorable game I have ever played is “make a human snowman”. (I’ve done this with 3rd through 5th graders, but not younger). The snowmen are really adorable! The kids are so much more creative than I even imagined. Snap a picture on your smartphone if you’re able to. Here are the instructions:

Make a Human Snowman:
Supplies:

  • A roll of toilet paper for each team
  • Sheets of colored construction paper for each team
  • Scissors & Tape for each team (to cut construction paper into shapes)

How To Play:

  • Have several teams of 3-5 children. Choose one person per team to become the human snowman.
  • When you say, “GO” they should wrap one of the people on their team up in toilet paper (leaving an opening for nose and eyes). Once they’ve built their “Frosty” they can utilize the construction paper to decorate him/her. (Make a hat, carrot nose, buttons, etc). Put a time limit on decorating.
  • Award each Frosty (unique, colorful, and most original)

For games with a “winner”, ask the teacher if there is something special you can pass out a coupon for; nail polish day/week (if it’s not allowed normally), chewing gum in class, bring in a stuffed animal all day to sit at your desk, etc. It’s a great motivator and doesn’t cost a thing!

tips for classroom party planning

Day of the Party

If you’re a working mom and it’s hard to get into the classroom, volunteering for the classroom parties are a really fun way to interact with the children, and usually only an hour out of your day. [Our school includes a Halloween Parade for the little kids before the party starts, so we get there around 1 p.m.]

➞ TIP: I use this opportunity to take a whole vacation day, and spend the morning at the spa (guilt free) because the kids are all in school, and afterall I’m taking the day off to spend with them anyway (wink, wink). Also, trick-or-treating begins at 4 p.m. on Halloween in my town, so it’s nearly impossible to curb the excitement and make my 5th grader and 1st grader wait to head out into the neighborhood. Taking a vacation day ensures we get maximum trick-or-treating time!

See you in the classroom this Halloween. I’ll be dressed in my Super Woman Costume and Cape, going as “Super Mom”, even though my kids say there is no such thing…but I know over 1,000 women just like us that qualify. Happy Partying.

Share your party tips with us in the comments!

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About Cheryl 57 Articles
Cheryl is a hyper-tasking mom (because who has time to only multi-task?) who stops to take pictures (and smell the roses), loves to jog (slowly) and volunteers way too much.

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