Classroom parties are the best. Growing up, these were my favorite days. They were a break from the constant drum of math, language arts, and spelling. Now I get to help create these special moments for my kids.
It is also such a gift to our teachers, who are already overloaded, when we take the class party over and make it special.
I’ve been one of the class party moms for many years now, and I use a basic structure for each party I plan. Here is the template I use for all parties:
You can download the template here: Classroom.Party.PDF.Planning.Guide
*Some of the graphics used in this printable are free clipart from Jones Design Company (their celebrate collection). Emily has amazing resources!
I usually plan:
A seasonal beverage
3 healthy snacks: fruit, veggies, cheese sticks, etc.
2-3 “other” snacks: these can include chips, popcorn, crackers, trail mix, etc.
1-2 desserts: Sometimes the crafts double as dessert as well (ie. cookie decorating).
Crafts: It is good to have a couple of crafts that kids can do in “centers.” I’ll explain more below.
Activities: These can be whole class activities, such as “bingo,” a photo booth, or a gift exchange (see below).
Brown paper sacks: It is nice for each student to have brown paper sacks to take their items home in at the end of the day. You can get the big ones at the grocery store (they usually do not charge for this), or you can buy the smaller lunch sacks.
Print out a holiday sign or coloring page, have the kids decorate it a day ahead of time, and then staple, tape, or glue this onto the bags with their names.
Music: It’s not a party without it! Pick your playlist or Pandora station ahead of time, and figure out how to play it in the classroom.
*Special Note: Netflix has a crackling fire that people can pull up and put on the screen. It makes it very cozy for classroom parties.
There are a few classroom party tricks that help the celebration run very smoothly. The last thing we or our teachers want is total chaos during the class party.
*Set up a day ahead if possible. Go in after school and get the classroom set up the way it needs to be for the party. For many kids, it works well to create clusters of desks that act as “centers.” If you can’t do this a day ahead because the party is in the late afternoon, lunch time will work also. Gather all of the supplies needed and put them in their areas. Double check numbers.
*Use Sign-Up Genius to organize parents. This makes it so much easier than trying to track down emails and figure out who is bringing or organizing what. You set up the event on the website, then email the link out to parents. They go to the site and sign up for what they want to do or bring. Along with food, I also put on the event the opportunity to help with or organize the crafts and activities.
*Pre-portion crafts. Using ziplocks, place the supplies for the craft in bags, one for each child. This helps minimize confusion, and running out of materials.
*Divide the students into groups and have them rotate through the various centers. It works well to have them start at one center, and then move to another when they are done. This usually works out pretty well with flow, because kids are continually leaving and coming to centers.
*Decide how to best run the activity. For example, if you are doing class Bingo, then decide how you will do each round. Will you let multiple kids win or just one? Will there be prizes? What happens to the winners after they win? Can they win again, or do they move to coloring a pre-printed holiday page to pass the time while others are playing?
*After completing the activity at each center, have them place their item in their brown bag with their name on it. This will ensure that items are not lost or confused with another student’s.
One of my favorite classroom activities is the CLASS BOOK EXCHANGE.
You can download the book exchange printable here: Class.Book.PDF.Exchange