Whether you are planning a Halloween party or a Harvest Party, it’s time to start thinking about it! I know some people dread party days, but I love them. Parties are the perfect time to build classroom communities. They give the children a common event to look forward too and opportunities to bond over their anticipation, and throughout the actual party. Over the years I’ve come up with quite a few tips for making those crazy party days run just a little more smoothly. The planning makes all the difference, so consider your party details as I run through some of the questions you might want to ask yourself.
- What is the theme of your party? Halloween, Harvest, spooky, cute, colorful, realistic, choosing a theme will help you narrow your focus and tie all of the details together. Choose a theme that incorporates the interest of your students – if they are fascinated by monsters, then throw a monster mash (there are a ton of cute furry monster games and decorations out there, like these for example), on the other hand, if they can’t stop talking about your trip to the apple orchard, have an apple-themed party (check out this one!)
- Ask for help! You don’t have to do it all by yourself, create a sign up sheet and let families know what you expect them to donate (have you ever tried Sign Up Genius? It’s awesome!. If you have any extra-helpful parents put them to use making decorations or gathering game pieces and parts.
- Think about the timeline. You know your class and your students’ schedules, when is the best time to have the party? Are the children the most cooperative in the morning? Are parents more likely to help if it’s in the afternoon? Fit the party into your normal schedule to keep things somewhat normal.
- Ask the children to help you plan. Search for a few different game options and let the children vote on them, This makes the children feel like they have ownership over the party, and they can’t wait to do the activities (you know, instead of running around like crazy people). A week or so before the party I put pictures of each activity option on a poster board and ask the kiddos to write their names under two or three that they want to do – not only do they get to help pick, but this is also a great excuse to practice name writing and decision making!
- Be prepared. Look over that sign up list, did the parent who always forgets the party sign up to bring cups? Have an extra stash just in case. Ask parents who signed up to brings snacks what they are planning so that you can think about including a healthy option or making sure silverware is available if needed (or an extra roll of paper towels for that cupcake frosting… or better yet, baby wipes). These little back ups will save your sanity.
- Enjoy yourself! The kiddos always know when you’re stressed out, they can sense it and they feed off it. The party should be time for you to enjoy their company, so when they make silly faces with their snacks take time to laugh with them. If something gets spilled get everyone to help clean up so it gets done faster. Make time to play games and take photos with the children, these are sure to be some of their favorite memories of the entire year.
- Share photos. After the party is over send a Smilebox or ask parents to upload their party photos to your ShareSite.