We’ve all been to a class holiday party. Well, 99% of us at least. The plates and napkins get passed out; Next comes all of the junk food, and then the movie. As a student, these were the fun days. As a teacher, these are some of the more stressful days. In theory, it doesn’t seem like it should be stressful. Teachers are used to passing out materials and showing videos, right? So what makes this so different? The excitement mixed with sugared-up treats definitely plays a starring role in the craziness. Throw in a schedule change and top it off with a movie that kids may wiggle and talk through, and you have a perfect recipe for teacher stress. So what will help alleviate some of the holiday party craziness? No, we can’t just cancel the party. 😬 There are a few things you can do to turn the holiday craziness into holiday fun. We’ll call it controlled chaos. 😎
1. Choose a Theme and Center Everything Around It
This one may seem a bit confusing as class holiday parties are already themed according to the holiday or season that they surround. If you narrow it down even further, it’ll make party planning much easier. Take fall parties, for example. Fall is such a broad topic. So why not narrow it down to pumpkins, bats, scarecrows, leaves, woodland animals, etc.? When you choose a theme, all activities, craftivities, movies, etc. can all be centered around that one thing.
2. Plan a Simple Craft
Most kids love crafts and most moms love them, too. Plan a simple craft that revolves around your theme. If your theme is pumpkins, choose a simple, guided pumpkin craft for students to do. This helps keep students engaged while also being a calm activity. What’s even better is that it can become cute classroom wall décor after and then sent home as a keepsake for family members.
3. Plan a Simple Class Holiday Party Game
Notice that I keep putting *simple.* The more simple the activity, the less stress for the teacher. Kids love simple games as much as elaborate ones, and when it’s holiday-themed, it doesn’t take much to gain their attention. Themed cups for cup stacking or even a pumpkin ring toss where you throw rings on the pumpkin stem. Voilà – simple! Either way, students will love it because they aren’t having to do work.
4. Food Options
One huge factor in the crazy stress of a class holiday party is the junk food. We all know how it goes. What was it that I said about sweets playing a starring role? We all love some food. And junk food at that, but some kids have no self control when it comes to sugar and others just go completely off the rails. Instead of asking parents to send in donuts, cupcakes, chips, and cookies, opt for some healthier options that kids will still enjoy. A few things to think about are: cheese cubes or string cheese, pretzels, fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, etc.), yogurt tubes, and then one main sweet that’s centered around your theme. For example, let’s go back to pumpkins. If your theme is pumpkins, make your sweet food item something to do with pumpkins. The rest can be decently low sugar that kids still enjoy.
5. Decide if You Want to Invite Parents
This one may be out of your control due to your school’s policy, but either invite parents or let them know that they won’t be able to attend. Some teachers love having parents in their classroom. Parents can be a great helping hand. On the other hand, some teachers find having parents in their classroom stressful. Discover which teacher you are and plan from there. Honestly, from a parent’s point of view, I only wanted to attend my kid’s kindergarten parties. I sometimes felt a sigh of relief if parents weren’t able to attend, because then I wouldn’t feel guilty if I couldn’t make it. Sometimes it’s stressful for parents to ask off of work, but then they feel guilty if they can’t be there with their kids when other parents are. I think either way is fine, it’s just your preference as a teacher.
*tip: if you choose to have parents, consider having a job for each parent to do. Sometimes the stressful part of having parents in your room is when they are standing around and not sure what to do. Parents love to help. You could assign them to help with a craft, give directions to a game, or pass out plates and napkins. You can grab a free printable parent sign up sheet included in my Open House Forms Freebie.
Hopefully, this will control some of the chaos and craziness. I mean, as teachers, we don’t mind a little craziness as long as we can control it, right? The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple. So when in doubt about what foods to ask for, what craft to do, or what cute clipart to put on the newsletter, just breathe and keep it simple.