After being a Room Mom for several years, I have determined that the most enjoyable part of being a Room Parent is planning for class parties. Planning fun class parties is easy to do, and the reward is huge when realizing the happiness it brings to the children. Planning a great class party can be divided into a few basic categories: crafts, games, snacks, and goodie bags.
Crafts for class parties should be kept simple. The younger the grade, the easier a craft should be. Preferably, a craft will take no more than 10-15 minutes and be easy to clean up. When planning parties for Kindergarten and 1st Grade, I have tended to use stickers rather than glue. Glue is messy and takes a long time to dry. Oriental Trading and local craft stores offer many options of foam crafts children can make with pieces that peel off and stick together. Crafts that include a child’s picture are always a huge hit. When planning a craft, the key is to keep it simple and neat.
The most anticipated part of the class party is always the games. Check with your child’s teacher to determine his or her preference as to how rowdy or calm the games should be. When choosing a game, remember to include each child and reward each child regardless of the winner. Class parties should be fun for everyone, and no child should leave feeling like they have lost. Some of the best games I have used minimize the need for a winner and loser. Kids love to dance, so freeze dances are always a lot of fun. For quieter games, consider bingo or a guessing game. For an example of a guessing game, the children can guess how many pieces of candy corn, jellybeans or conversation hearts are in a jar. The winner keeps the jar of candy and everyone else gets a smaller version of the same candy. Again, remember to keep the games easy and clean, and monitor time wisely.
Choosing snacks for a class party can be difficult, especially if there are food allergies in the classroom. The best way to plan for snacks is to contact the teacher and determine the safest way to handle food allergies. If food allergies are not an issue, food safety should still be considered. Request that any food items be store made and pre-packaged rather than homemade. I always like to offer two snacks, a healthy snack and a sweet snack. For example, this Valentines Day we will offer a drink along with apple slices and cookies that can be decorate with frosting and sprinkles. Children love snacks, and with a little advanced planning, snacks will be one of the best parts of your class party.
Goodie bags are simply themed bags that are sent home with the children after a class party. They can include little toys and trinkets, candy, pencils and erasers, stickers or temporary tattoos, coupons to local ice cream stores, and much more. Your imagination is the limit when considering what to use in your class goodie bags. Preferably, goodie bags should not be opened during the party as this could lead to lost items and distraction. Hand them out as a final gift after the party is over.
In closing, keep in mind that class parties are normally quite short. Each activity should flow naturally into the next activity, and time should be monitored well. For a 30 to 45-minute party, each activity should take no more than 10-15 minutes. Goodie bags can be handed out at the end of the class party. The most important thing to remember when planning a class party is to have fun with the kids. This will ensure a successful class party regardless of what activities are planned.