Ideas For School Holiday Parties

I've been elected chairperson for my daughter's first-grade Christmas party next Friday. The will be no gift exchange, and the teacher doesn't want to have a lot of input. The party will be from 10 to 11 a.m., and the children will go to lunch at 11:30. Please help me plan this party.

Question:

Happy holidays to you! You don't have a lot of time to put this party together, but I think I can give you a few ideas to help make the celebration festive and fun for the children.

Food: There are many options for food selections, even if the party will take place before the children's lunch hour. Consider red, white and green snacks as an appetizer to lunch. Children can munch on freshly sliced radishes, red bell peppers, cauliflower, green peppers, broccoli and cucumbers. Ranch dip would go well with this. You might also want to look at following the same color scheme with fruit (if it's available in your area). A little Cool Whip on the side for dipping would complement this snack. A more adventurous snack can be fun for the children. Decorating pre-made sugar cookies with festive icing, sprinkles and other decorations can be a little messy, but a lot of fun. With this activity, the kids can either eat their cookies right away, or wrap them in plastic wrap or a Baggie for later. Beverages are usually a part of these seasonal parties. Hot cocoa or spiced apple cider are favorites during chilly weather, and can be kept warm in crockpots or insulated carafes. Kids love juice, so you may want to serve one or two types of fruit juice.

Games: Kids love to play games at parties, don't they? Try creating a holiday game based on an old favorite, such as "Pin the Nose on the Reindeer." Using a picture of a reindeer as the target, kids try to "pin" a sticker nose on the reindeer while blindfolded. A game of "Holiday Hangman" would also be fun to play, with kids guessing letters to seasonal words. "Santa Bowling" can be created with a children's plastic bowling set by decorating the tops of the pins with Santa faces. Be creative...you never know what you might come up with!

Crafts: You have enough time for the children to make a simple craft or two, such as paper chains, construction-paper ornaments or sponge-painted Christmas trees. Check out the Crafts bulletin board here at ParentsPlace.com for more craft ideas. There are many easy projects to make, but you will need to act quickly to gather all necessary materials. Check with the teacher if you have any concerns about the difficulty of the projects. If you do have the children make crafts, be sure to make several samples ahead of time for them to follow and do as much prep work as possible before the party, such as cutting paper strips, hot gluing items and mixing paints.

Volunteers: Without parents to help you, the party will be stressful rather than fun. Be sure to line up as many volunteers as you can for the occasion. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, including shopping, prep work, set-up and clean-up. Delegate duties so that you aren't doing everything yourself. Let everyone know in advance what her job will be while the party is going on. Once the party ends, be sure that you have a clean-up crew to take care of the mess.

Best wishes for a fun and festive holiday celebration!

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