A How-to-Guide from Class Party Trenches- how to throw a class party

Planning a party for your child or grandchild's class can be both fun and rewarding with the proper planning. Class parties are a great time to get spend a little time in your child's class, get to interact with your child's teacher and other parents.

In order for the party to be fun for the kids and run smoothly, it is important to focus on communicating with the teacher and parents, planning the food, and activities and/or crafts, and organizing volunteers. Communication You will need to communicate with the teacher throughout the year.

Once school starts ask the teacher what parties the class will celebrate and when the parties will be help (day, time and duration). Also, it is a good idea to let the teacher know what you have planned for the party.

Next you will need to send out a letter to the parents about the upcoming party (usually 5-10 days ahead of time). You will want to let them know when the party will be and how they can help.

You can either ask parents to sign up to bring snacks or drinks (I would provide a list of the items you would like (such as- fruit, pretzels, mini-waters, plates and napkins, small goodie). And as for volunteers to help during the party.

Some schools allow for room parents to as for a monetary donation instead of asking for parents to bring in food and drinks, in order to cover the cost of the food, drinks and craft supplies. Usually the donation amount is $2.00 to $5.00.

Realize, not every parent will send in money and that is fine, but you should get in enough to cover the cost of snacks and craft supplies.

Food and Drinks

If the party is before or after lunch- limit the amount of snacks you provide to the kids.

* Serve Water (in cups or small waters) instead of sugary drinks.

* Plan to serve 1 to 2 small, healthy snacks (ex. Carrots, fruit, pretzels, crackers or something similar)

* And only 1 small goody (kid-size) such as a mini cupcake, bite size brownies, single rice krispie treat.

Remember, young children do not need full size cupcakes and usually it goes to waste. Find out if anyone in the class has a food allergy you need to consider before planning snacks.

Also, don't forget plates, napkins and if needed serving utensils.

Space

Determine where the party will be- in the classroom, outside or in the Cafeteria.

Will kids do an art/craft project at their table or at a station? How many kids can do the activity at one time? Also, if you plan for an outdoor party, make sure you have a back up plan to move inside if it rains.

Crafts and Activities

Organize the craft or art supplies into groupings, and consider pre-cutting, or organizing the items into Ziploc bags.

A few places to look for kids crafts or activities are

ZiggityZoom.com- Kids Arts and Crafts and Printables for Kids.

FamilyFun.com

Kaboose.com

Activities to Plan for

* 1 Art or Craft Project (that can be done in 10-15 minutes) 

* 1 Game or Outdoor Activity

* Time to eat snacks

* 1 back up Activity- such as a story related to the party or time of year (Fall, Winter, Spring, etc) or a fun worksheet (ex. Hide and Find or Word Search).

A Few Guidelines

Many schools, primarily public schools have parties around the seasons, such as Fall or Harvest, Winter, Spring and an End of the Year party.

If that is the case for your school, then plates, napkins, treats and activities should follow those guidelines.

For example, at my children's school we cannot bring anything having to do with Halloween, but Harvest and Fall is fine, so leaves, pumpkins (but not jack-o-lanterns) are fine.

Food Allergies- it is always a good idea to check with the teacher to find out if there are any serious food allergies you need to know about before deciding what foods to bring into the class.

By Kristin P. Fitch, with ZiggityZoom, a kids website with kids crafts, kids educational printables.