One time I tried to tell my students about a science experiment in which a mouse was given yellow food coloring. The scientists were monitoring the effect of food coloring on the brain. It did have an effect and I wanted to tell my kids all about it. How does this relate to classroom party ideas? Stick with me…I’m about to tell you!
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I had just started learning about preservatives and the impact they have on our bodies as well as the alarming rate in which they are included in foods we are eating every single day. I felt it was my righteous duty as a teacher to educate my 7-year-olds on this fact. (LOL)
And, I quickly realized they didn’t really care about this science experiment, the mice, or the importance of checking food labels for preservatives.
So I started thinking about what ways I had available to educate my students on this. I really started giving a critical eye to the parties we were having in our classrooms.
Part of our responsibility as teachers is to teach our students how to make healthy choices that will provide them with healthy bodies.
When we give them tons of sugary food options at celebrations, we are communicating to our students that the only way to celebrate is by consuming unhealthy foods. I think we are doing them a big disservice when we do that.
In this post, I am sharing 10 fun and guilt-free classroom party ideas that you can do any time of the year without feeling like you are loading up your kiddos with unnecessary sugar.
The last day of school before the end of the year (or a holiday break) is usually so chaotic with all the normal end-of-year to-dos (like packing up your classroom and planning for end of year student gifts) but then throw in a classroom party with hyped up kids and parents taking up space in your room and you’ve really got yourself an overwhelming situation.
(Related: Thoughtful and Unique Teacher Gift Ideas)
You can use the classroom party ideas in this post for a party at the end of the year or in the middle of the year with a holiday party.
How to Celebrate with a Classroom Party
Before we get started, I’ll share a little bit of my heart behind this post. This post is not meant to be judgmental or shame anyone for the types of parties you have thrown in the past. However, I feel really strongly about what we teach our kids when it comes to healthy habits.
It seems like, within the school system, anytime we have something to celebrate we do so by involving food. And a lot of times that food is junk food.
Cupcakes for birthdays. Cookies, chips, brownies, and a veggie tray for parties. But really…how many kids pick much from the veggie tray? Not many.
Any time there is a school event, the majority of foods available for purchase are individual bags of chips and cookies, nachos, desserts. I never see any fruit at these events. (Not to mention all the waste that accompanies classroom parties.)
And it just makes me sad. As teachers, we are supposed to teach these kids. I also think that means teaching them about how to make healthy choices that will provide them with healthy bodies. When we give them tons of junk food options and celebrate the idea that junk food = fun, I think we are doing them a big disservice.
I want to encourage you to think outside of the boundaries of the “typical party food” and provide your students with some more healthy options that promote healthy choices.
When you look at the obesity rate in our country and the data that supports how negatively things like food dye and preservatives affect a child’s brain, I don’t understand how we can continue to feed our kids this junk!
This post (and podcast!) is meant to encourage you in that quest. I want to give you some practical classroom party ideas that allow you to feel good about how you are celebrating with your students and don’t break the bank either (cause I am not a big fan of spending a ton of money on your classroom or kids if it is not necessary.)
10 Fun and Guilt Free Classroom Party Ideas
When you are planning a classroom party you need to think about things like what time the party will take place, if parents will attend, and will you be hosting the party or will a parent be?
Once you’ve figured out your classroom party guidelines, then you can use some of these ideas for activities to do during the party.
1. Create a Craft
Any type of craft will work for this and your kids will be engaged plus they will have a little something fun to take home and commemorate their year with you.
2. Yogurt Bar
One year during my time in the classroom we had a Healthy Eating Seminar in the last week of school and celebrated with a yogurt bar to show kids fun and different ways you could eat healthier options.
3. Host a Water Day
This is a fun way, especially for the littles, to celebrate the end of the year. Students bring their swimsuits and turn on sprinklers on the field. Physical movement + watering the grass = solid idea!
4. Movie and Popcorn Party
Who doesn’t love a good party and some popcorn to go along with it? But a little tip, try popping regular whole kernels in a brown paper sack instead of the pre-made stuff. Tell your kids what you are doing so they know there is an easy and healthy option to still enjoy a favorite snack!
5. Rainbow Food Party
A week or two before the end of the year, challenge your students to brainstorm fruits and vegetables that are all colors of the rainbows. Then have students bring in those items on the last day and celebrate by painting rainbows or creating some type of rainbow craft.
My online friend, Sarah Forst, has a fun activity where students create a rainbow colored project to celebrate each students uniqueness.
6. Picnic On the Patio
Your students bring a picnic lunch, the teacher brings a picnic blanket. Easy peasy!
7. Outdoor Party
This was a favorite with my students! Pick up some kites, chalk, and bubbles from the dollar store. Tack this on to the picnic and you’ve got yourself a summer picnic event! I would also recommend asking for monetary or actual item donations from parents.
Also, at the end of the day, I raffled off the items to kids to take home so I didn’t have to store them until next year.
8. Tie Dye Party
This one will take a little extra work but I STILL remember creating tie dye shirts when I was in school.
Have students bring a white shirt in and then have parents donate dye and squirt bottles. You could also do this as a team and use any remaining team money to purchase materials (may want to do this one a few days earlier and wear the shirts on the last day and let kids sign them)
9. Mustache Party
I did this once as a positive behavior incentive. I decorated the classroom with mustaches, we played mustache games (like pin the mustache on your teacher!) and my kids LOVED it!
10. Games, Snacks, and Crafts
Alternate between students doing crafts or completing an End of Year memory book (there are a TON of them on TPT), eating healthy snacks, and playing the games in Silly Sports and Goofy Games by Dr. Kagan. My students loved every single game we played out of there.
If you are planning to celebrate the end of the year (or even the holidays!) with a party, be sure you have your Classroom Management plan in control. Fun day – behavior management plan = disaster! Get some ideas here.
What fun and guilt-free parties have you thrown for your students at the end of the year? I’d love to hear them! Comment below and share your ideas!
Until next time,
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