Thursday, August 25, 2011

Classroom Parties

The beginning of the school year is a hectic, crazy time for many school age kids and their parents.  School meetings, functions and activities ramping up to near frenzy level sometimes.  Some parents love helping out with the elementary parties, and others aren't sure what to do. If you are new or a seasoned room mom, you can, with a little planning, organizing and delegation, pull off some pretty fun parties.

Tips for getting started:
  • Talk to the teacher
  • Get school policy on classroom party policies
  • Buy a binder or folder to get organized 
  • Check out Room Mom Corner on for general tips, specific party ideas, etc.
  • Decide whether to ask for monetary donations from the parents or donations of supplies (ask the teacher for guidance)
  • Send home a letter asking for volunteers, donations, supplies
  • Gather or create a list of class volunteers' emails and phone numbers (put those in your binder with your volunteers for each party)
  • Get school policy on food options (some schools have pretty strict policies these days due to allergy issues)
  • Arrange for helpers to come in (It is helpful to send home a confirmation note telling volunteers a time and place.)
  • Start planning party according to teacher input and school policies
  • Plot out all items needed for games, crafts and food
  • Keep party decorations to a minimum  (Keep it simple-it takes time from the fun part of the party if you have to put up a bunch of decorations and then take them down.)
  • Gather or shop for items needed. 
  • Collect the items for the party in one spot of your house (use a bin or a box) 
  • Stay within budget (otherwise the room mom ends up with a huge donation)
  • Do test runs for crafts and games
  • Make sure all parts for crafts or games are assembled in advance of the party
  • Plan where to do each activity in the spaces given in the classroom (Sometimes our plans tend to be bigger than the space given and so head that off before the party.)
  • Talk with teacher to plan on a time that you can come in to set up
  • Arrive on time with everything you need (don't rely on the teacher to have things for you to use)
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate
  • Stay within the party time frame (including clean up!)
  • Note: If you can instruct volunteers ahead of time to what they will be doing and give them clear instructions ahead it will help the party run smoothly.
  • Special Note: Some parents like to chat with each other or the teacher which is awesome, but not necessarily when you are trying to run a party and keep it to the teacher's schedule.  Keep your volunteer numbers to enough to be a help but not so many that they don't much to do and take up chatting. :o)
  • Clean up the room (you can enlist kids to help--many are awesome helpers)
  • Send a thank you note to all the volunteers after the party (email is good)

See Room Mom Corner for more ideas

Please share your ideas!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Arghh... Summer's Almost Over...

Ahhh...the relaxing summer time...schedules possibly less stressful and hectic (or more). Vacations, warm (or sizzling) summer evenings.  Though by August most become over-shadowed by the daunting (or exciting) thought of school resuming.  When my kids were young I was sad when summer came to an end.  Then through the middle years, I have to admit it brought me secret delight to having my kids shipped off to someone else for quite a few hours a day... if just to reduce the squabbling, entertainment issues, and to actually finish something around the house.  But since my kids are getting older, as teenagers, it brings me back to the thought that these days are numbered as they make plans for after-school activities, friends, summer or after school jobs, and eventually college, makes me sad that summer is coming again to a close. 

We usually kick off the summer with a "Let Summer Begin"party...but it can be equally fun to have a "Out with a Bang"--Summer party.  In our city, they do a fireworks display every Labor Day weekend- an end of summer party for the city.  To start a tradition in your neighborhood and beat the "summer-time ending" blues, work on a end of summer party with your kids.  You could host it at your house or just on your street or at a local park.  You could plan it like a carnival, or have stations or just let the kids mill around and have some fun activities set up or games they could play.  Water is usually pretty fun thing in the scorching August be sure to include some water fun activities.  If you have access to a public or private pool, that would be a wonderful locale...just be sure to plan to have your own life guards to help watch the kids!

Some ideas to get you started planning:
Simple Fun Kid Parties (theme ideas and links)
Kaboose-Summer Party-games
Family Fun Summer Games
Party Game Central-Kids games
Party Game Central-Outdoor Games
Party Game Central-Pool/Water Games

Ideas and Suggestions welcome!!