If you keep your event simple and stay in touch with the teacher and parent helpers, a classroom party will be a piece of cake. Start the planning as early as possible so that you'll have enough time to gather ideas, supplies, and parents to help you!
Talk to the Teacher
Before you do anything, meet with your child's teacher. Many parents feel pressured to turn a class party into a county fair, but it's more likely the teacher would prefer the event to be closer to cookies and punch. Be sure to ask these questions before the event:
- What is the party date and duration, and how many kids are in the class?
- Are there any particular kinds of food or refreshments expected? Does any child in the class have a food allergy or dietary restriction you should be aware of?
- How many helpers should attend? Will the teacher recruit volunteers or should you?
- Can you send a letter to other parents and request donations of time or money?
- Is there a particular theme?
- Will the party be inside the classroom? On the playground? In the gym or cafeteria?
- Does the teacher have any game or activity preferences or restrictions?
- How much time will you have to prep the party area? Time to clean up?
Plan the Party
Whether you're planning your child's classroom birthday party or the class holiday festival, simplicity is your best friend. Traditional food, games, and crafts are popular because they have timeless appeal to kids. Plus, you don't run into problems explaining game rules or placating picky eaters. Keep these tips in mind:
- Choose a theme. Try to tailor your choice to a subject the class has been studying — such as the environment or a favorite book — or to the time of year.
- If you're short on time, choose a craft or activity over competitive games.
- If you do plan competitive games, try to choose challenges that reward different kinds of skills, like memory, word, number, and physical achievement.
- Consider buying any supplies (such as napkins, cups, etc.) in bulk. It will save you time and money when you plan the next event.
- Even if you've discussed the students' dietary issues with the teacher, it's probably best to stay away from foods like peanuts and peanut butter, which can cause a severe allergic reaction in some kids.
- Try to send each child home with a party souvenir. These can be as simple as the craft he made or a sheet of stickers.
At the Event
The key to success here is arriving prepared and staying calm. On the party day, arrange to meet other parents outside the school or classroom if possible so you can review your plans and assign any remaining tasks. Here are a few suggestions for a satisfying and smooth event:
- Arrive with any supplies portioned individually so that you don't have to waste time getting organized.
- If you can't set up beforehand, have a quick craft activity that can keep kids busy at their desks while the grownups are setting up.
- Be flexible. If students aren't responding to a game or activity, move on to the next idea.
- Remember that you are the party planner, not the behavior warden. Let the teacher handle discipline problems.
As the event organizer, you set the party tone. When you stay relaxed, organized, and in a good mood, everyone at the celebration will be inspired to do the same.