In elementary school, certain occasions like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and the end of the school year are cause for celebration. Those celebrations take the form of a class party, usually put together by the class “room parent.” The room parent is a volunteer who assists the teacher with a variety of tasks from planning parties to arranging for field trip chaperones to help collect supplies for special projects. The only experience before my child that I had about any parties was through casino party company in Colorado.
Planning a class party need not be difficult or time-consuming. As a veteran of many class parties, I will share some important tips:
Donations of Food, Drink and Supplies
Collecting money is time-consuming, and many people will not get around to sending in a contribution. Instead, create a list of needed foods or supplies and send it home to parents with a request that they RSVP to you by a set date,indicating what they can bring. If you have a class email list, send it home by email, too. By requesting RSVPs, you only have to contact people if you don’t get enough RSVPs. Those few calls you do make can be for very specific needs: “We still need 12 juice boxes, a package of black pipe cleaners and some red construction paper. Could you send in one of those for the party?”
When you do get commitments, write down what each person says he or she will bring. In particular, make a note when people stop you at the school and offer to bring something, so you don’t forget.
Communication by Email
Using email as your primary communications source lets you handle this volunteer task when its most convenient for you. But add the phone number as a back-up for those families who do not use email.
Party Food Choices
A class party does not require a half dozen choices of different foods. Plan to serve only a few simple finger foods that are easy to clean up. Messy foods like cake or half-gallons of ice cream are not popular with classroom teachers.
Suggested foods include: Bite size pieces of fruit (place on a skewer for a nice effect), cookies, or cupcakes. Check with the teacher about allergy issues.
Avoid dips. Avoid foods that are sticky or gummy. Gummies and similar sticky candies promote cavities if good brushing does not take place after eating them; they also pull off dental appliances and pull off the expensive protective sealants that are applied to children’s molars to prevent cavities. Even if your child is a gummy lover, the class party is not the place for gummy candy consumption.
For quantity, plan a little extra in case parents bring younger siblings along.
Party Drink Choices
Use individual juice boxes at a class party. The big bottles are cheaper and less wasteful, but in the interest of time and spill avoidance, go for the individual servings.
Party Crafts and Games
Choose simple crafts and games. One craft and two games is enough for a typical classroom party.
Good sources for classroom party crafts and games ideas include Family Fun and Enchanted Learning.
Suggested activities for a school class party includes the following: scavenger hunts, guessing games, serial story telling where one child starts a theme story and each child adds to it, clothespin crafts, pipe cleaner crafts, spoon relays (where kids carry something in a spoon from one bowl to another), musical chairs, and other activities in which the whole class can participate at once. An alternative to having all children participate at once is to have timed participation at three or four stations if the class is large.
Activities to avoidat a school class party include the use of loose glitter on projects, games in which only a few children at a time can participate, the use of only paper activities (word searches, crosswords, etc.), at a given party, movement games that require a lot of space, crafts involving more than 3-4 steps, or activities involving liquids.
Keep It Simple
A class party should not be expensive or overly dramatic. Creating an expensive or high drama event in a school is likely to result in resentment by other classes and to generate complaints from parents asked to provide the supplies for the overdone event. Keep in mind that most kids go to plenty of parties and the class party is not the be-all and end-all of parties. It is simply a time for a break from the classroom routine and a small celebration with their classroom friends.
The best things to bring to school for a class party are your smile and cheerful attitude. These will do more than any food, craft or game item to ensure a successful class party.