We all have to deal with them…classroom parties. They are either a source of joy or a source of misery, but we all have to deal with them at some point in our careers. Classroom parties…better known as CRAZY TOWN! What if you could have an EPIC classroom party without pulling your hair out?
What if I told you that you could enjoy the party with the kids instead of dreading the day and the craziness that might come with it? Yes, teacher friends it is possible!
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The Plan for a Successful Classroom Party
In order to have a fabulous class party that goes off without…well with minimal hiccups because lets face it nothing is ever perfect…you will need a few simple things.
Pick a Theme
First on the list…A THEME! Now this might be a no brainer however, I am not talking about a simple Valentines Day, Easter, Christmas…I mean a real theme. Think about how a simple Valentines Day part could turn into a Kingdom of Hearts party with an Alice and Wonderland theme that ties literature into your party. Or the Winter Party (Christmas if you can call it that in your school) party that takes a Frozen theme and you explore science and the different states of matter? The sky is the limit but a theme is just the beginning of making the rest of the party come together.
For some amazing classroom party themes, check out Room Mom Spot for an amazing classroom party theme ideas.
Get a Room Parent
Which brings me to my next MUST HAVE! A room Mom or Dad! Even if you are in a Title 1 school where parent involvement is low, chances are the parents just aren’t sure how they van help or what to do. So take the time to show them.
One thing I have found in 15 years in Title 1 schools with little parent involvement is that if you show them how, chances are they WANT to help.
Every year I had a room mom and even a room dad. They may have needed some guidance and my planning skills but they were willing to do the work. So use them. They want to do things for their children and it gives them a sense of belonging to the classroom community as well.
And you never know, you may be the teacher that teaches them to be an amazing room parent for the rest of their child’s educational career. First step, is send them to that link above, because it’s written by a room mom!
You are going to want an activity of some kind to keep students from running around wild. It could be a craft, it could be a science activity or even tied to your math and literacy standards. The key though is it needs to be fun, engaging, and all your supplies to be on hand and ready to go.
This is where your parents come in. Have them prepare sets of supplies for each student so you are not having to scramble during the party to find things. Then during the activity, have parents that attend the party sit strategically around the room so you have extra hands all over.
Have a clean up procedure in place so when students are done there will be an activity for them to do until the rest of the class is finished.
Get Your Students Involved
Next on the list is something that may be hard for teachers who like complete control over everything but trust me, this little gem is too often overlooked. Get your students involved in the planning!
What better way to find out what would keep them engaged and the stress under control then to let them become party planners. Tying this into your financial literacy standards makes it even better.
Your students can make up a plan, a budget, and even decide in the theme. Once they decide on a theme, they can come up with activities that are educational and fun. Often we don’t let them get involved in things like this because we think they can’t but even my kindergarteners were excited to help plan our Polar Express party.
When they help plan it, they are emotionally invested in it as well…better chance they will appreciate the party and not just see it as a free day to be crazy and uncontrollable.
Give Useful Gifts — Don’t waste your money!
Lets talk about party favors. Every teacher I know can’t wait to give their kiddos little gifts at a party. Then the day of the party, after all the kids have gone home, you find your hard work under the table broken. Yep..been there done that! So here is how to stop…limit..the destruction.
Give gifts that can be used and are useful. Books, games, pictures, etc. These types of gifts are better than a bag full of play-do and little trinket toys that will be broken before the party is over. So if you are gonna spend your money, don’t waste it! Make it count!
Plan Healthy Snacks — Balance out the Sweets
Last, but not least, lets talk FOOD!!! This is a very controversial topic and every school has their own policies. The best thing I have found over the years is to limit the sweets and instead go for healthy alternatives. Not to say you don’t want sweets, um….hello…bring on the chocolate…but, no teacher I have ever been friends with has loved the fact that they received 12 dozen chocolate cupcakes from Wal-Mart.
So make sure you and your room parent have a plan for what you want at the party and who will bring it. Get a sign up sheet ready weeks in advanced so that parent have time to plan their purchase. You may find that you want a cute healthy snack but a parent doesn’t have time to make it…but they do have time to run get the ingredients. If you give them a heads up you may be able to have time to make it yourself, or find another parent who can’t afford to buy anything but will give time to make something.
Tie your food into your theme…having a Kingdom of Hearts party, serve heart shaped chicken sandwiches, or heart shaped cucumbers. Imagination is key here. And we all know teachers have an abundance of that.
Well teacher friends, I hope these ideas have helped you wrap your mind around having a successful classroom party the next time you plan one. There is no guarantee that Johnny won’t put frosting in Suzies’s hair but there is a chance that it won’t push you over the edge because you are so stressed out from a disaster of a party.
Do you have a favorite tip for teachers to have a successful party? Share your tips snd tricks below!