Classroom Winter Party FUN!

Here’s the thing: no one wants to think about the classroom holiday party before December even gets here, but guess what? The earlier you plan your party, the less last-minute scrambling you’ll have to do and the more FUN everyone will have. Use these five tried and true classroom holiday party tips to plan the perfect year-end celebration!

1. Talk to your teacher! Contact the teacher to find out the pertinent details! What is the timeframe for your party (including set up and clean up)? Are there any theme/decorating restrictions? Be sure to ask if any of the kids have food allergies or dietary preferences, and if there are specific things the teacher would like to see that will help reinforce classroom curriculum. For example, if the class is learning about global holiday traditions, are there ways the menu and crafts can support that? Your teacher can fill you in on any special needs of the kids too, i.e. disabilities that might influence which activities you choose.

2. Get on people’s schedules NOW! If you’re waiting to ask people to help because you’re worried that by the time December rolls around they’ll forget, have we got a deal for you! Eliminate endless email threads and telephone tag, by having your participants sign up in one easy place for free! SignUp.com allows you to organize your volunteers, donations, decorations and menu all with a few clicks of a mouse. Create a free, online class party SignUp and send it out via the class newsletter or social media. Once your participants sign up to bring items or volunteer, they’ll receive real-time eCalendar syncing and automated reminders.

3. Mix it up this year! Instead of the same old candy cane reindeer craft, this year try something new.  Try these simple and beautiful Finnish Paper Stars. If those are too advanced for your age group, use pipe-cleaners to make snowflakes and then have the kids string beads on them in a pattern of their choosing! Pinterest has a wealth of ideas for crafts for every age group, and great suggestions for holiday party menus, too.

4. Don’t forget your teacher! Take up a collection from among the other class parents and chip in for a gift card, or a class gift to thank your teacher for his or her hard work throughout the year. Since teachers often subsidize class budgets with their own money, this is a good way to acknowledge their sacrifice, while giving a little back at a time when everyone’s expenses run higher. (Be sure to check with your school administration to make sure your gift is aligned with school policy.)

5. Don’t forget the last minute details! Ask a parent to volunteer as party photographer. Plan for extra attendees including volunteers, siblings and the teacher for snacks, crafts and activities so that everyone feels included and welcome. Have an alternative in case the activity planned proves unworkable or finishes early. And consider writing your thank you notes to the parent volunteers ahead of time.

Have a blast and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!