It’s hard to believe, but we often get so caught up in the bustle of daily learning that we forget to have fun with our young students! That’s why classroom parties can be so rewarding. The opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, to celebrate and to have a few laughs makes for sweet memories all around. The good news is it doesn’t have to be a stress-filled day!
Here are 3 easy rules to follow for classroom parties to make sure everyone (including the teacher!) has a good time.
Rules for Classroom Parties
Rule #1: Keep it simple.
Little ones get overwhelmed when there are too many choices and activities going on, and that’s no fun for anyone! Take the stress out of class parties (for yourself and your students) by keeping it simple. Better to do a few things to do well than shoot for the moon and leave everyone overstimulated and crabby.
You don’t need to go all-out Pinterest for every inch of your classroom. A few simple decorations will set the tone for classroom parties. Find some festive music to play in the background. Set up fun activity stations with a clear flow for students to rotate through. I like to planning 4 stations- one for food, one for a read-aloud story, one for a game and one for a craft. But use your best judgement based on your students and time frame.
If your party is at the end of the day, set yourself up for success by having your students pack up their backpacks before the party begins. That way, you’ll avoid anything being left behind in the aftermath of all the excitement.
Nobody wants to end classroom parties on a sour note. The last thing you need is to happily wave goodbye to your students only to turn around to a complete disaster in your classroom. Prepare for your party with the end in mind. For example, before the party begins, cover tables with bulletin board paper. If you don’t have bulletin board paper, plastic table covers are a great option. They are available in a variety of colors. If you don’t have time to make it to the store, you can use my Amazon affiliate link to grab some plastic table covers. After the damage is done, simply roll the paper up, scraps and all, and into the garbage it goes!
Have each group of students tidy up their station as they move through. Make sure you have extra recycle and trash bins available for little helpers to clean up as they go. Use disposable, compostable utensils that don’t need to be washed.
Rule #2: Plan carefully.
Figure how much time you have for your party and how many activities you want to tackle. Divide your available time by how many activity stations, plus five minutes for intro and five minutes for wrap up. For instance, if you have 50 minutes, plan on four stations for ten minutes each plus five minutes at the start and five minutes at the end.
Divide students into groups students before the day of the party. You’ll save valuable time and avoid squabbling and students will be able to get to the action straight away.
Gather all the materials you’ll need for each station in it’s own bin. During the party you can stash the bin under the table and when it’s time to clean up, you can simply sweep the materials back into the bin, perhaps to deal with another day.
Rule #3: Enlist help.
Ask family volunteers to serve as classroom party helpers. Send out a sign-up request a couple of weeks before the party. Better yet, have a sign-up sheet available at meet the teacher night or during parent teacher conferences.
Assign a party coordinator from your volunteer sign-up for each party. Once the details of each party is decided, the party coordinator can delegate tasks and handle the communication with other parents from that point on.
Of course not every family has the flexibility to help out during the school day. That’s okay- they can contribute by sending in materials such decorations, paper supplies, and food items. In-class volunteers can man each station and be in in charge of the activity. This allows you to mingle around the room and enjoy some party time with your students!
Keeping these three simple rules in mind will not only help you plan amazing classroom parties for your students, it will help you do it with as little stress possible!