My first assigned party was the Halloween party with the costume parade. I wanted to blog about it in case I get roped into being a room mom again, and because I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and other blogs hunting for perfect activities. Perhaps this is helpful when planning a classroom party, or just a friend party, or a family activity at home.
Because there are so many children in this class, we divided the kids into six different groups, each having four or five in the group. Then we rotated through six total stations, trying to stick to ten minutes per station. This was challenging but doable with my trusty stopwatch app and constant herding of
The first three stations were in the cafeteria, the last three in the kids' classroom. The kids all wore their costumes and did a quick parade through the big kids' rooms before our party started. I walked along with the parade for a bit then maniacally started prepping more of the stations before the party began. I knew better than to drink a ton of coffee before this party, but I was still shaky with excitement and nerves and a million lists and things running through my head last minute.
Station one: Pumpkin seed sorting and counting
One of the other room moms was in charge of this station, and she brought two medium-sized pumpkins, cupcake tins, and a big strainer. She had cut off the tops of the pumpkins and pulled out most of the strings, so just the seeds remained. The kids had a blast pulling out seeds, sorting them into the cupcake tins, counting, and seeing how many they could find. A few of the kids were OBSESSED with this messy one and they didn't want to leave, and others could certainly leave it before the ten minute mark. I also saw this pin on Pinterest that intrigued me, but it seemed a little too involved---the cupcake tins worked just fine! I brought an old iPhone loaded with a Spotify playlist for kids, full of Halloween party songs. Then I brought our little portable speaker and had some music playing in the cafeteria for these three stations. I thought maybe the kids would want to break into a dance party but they were all very well behaved and excited about the stations, so the music was just in the background.
Station two: Movement Dice Game
This station was inspired by this pin, modified slightly when I discovered these free printables online. I wish I had a laminator now, might need to ask Santa for one with future room mom tasks looming! But I bought two foam dice from the dollar store and then printed out the cards at home. I glued the cards to black or orange construction paper, and then drew the numbers and dots for the dice on top. I cut them apart and had two rows of cards: one in black for one dice, one in orange for the other dice, both situated across the room from each other. The kids took turns rolling the dice, then the helper had the kids match the number on the dice to the card. The card told them what to do next, and I had them use a lot of the cafeteria for these movements: wiggle like a skeleton, crawl like a black cat, walk like Frankenstein, etc. After they made their lap around the room acting out the cards, they rolled the other dice and did it again.
I wish I had a video of this, but putting other kids on the internet is pretty taboo so maybe it's for the best. Also--lots of blurry faces in this post, just to be sure! This station didn't take a full ten minutes with the groups of four or five kids, so I had a bunch of Halloween coloring sheets and markers set out to keep this group busy. I love free online printables!
Station three: Candy Corn Relay
I knew I wanted a second 'movement' station since we reserved the cafeteria as extra space for this party (and because we are big into movement in this family, being Physical Therapists and all);) I found this pin and followed it directly. We have orange cones for soccer, so I wrapped four of them in white and yellow construction paper to make the candy corn authentic. One of the parents brought a five pound bag of candy corn, and I brought three plastic spoons with a big bowl. We had the candy in the bowl, then asked the kids to line up and they took turns weaving through the cones holding candy corn in their spoons. After going through once, they could do it again by side-stepping, walking backwards, running, etc. The goal is to keep the candy in the spoon and not drop any, and you better believe that a lot of this candy corn was mysteriously missing at the end of the party. I figured they could eat whatever they wanted but I'm pretty sure the helpers at this station had to monitor the sugar intake carefully. My daughter tells me this was her favorite station because 'I LOVE candy corn.' Disgusting!
Station four: I Love My Mummy Craft
Another Pinterest win! I found a free printable here, and then prepped the rest of the craft at home. Orange construction paper was the base, then I had Cecelia draw circles using a plate and white crayon on a black piece of construction paper (twenty-eight times!). I cut out strips of white paper and drew a heart in front, so the children could write their names and glue it on. I printed the free printable for 'I love my mummy' and cut them out. Then I gathered a TON of googly eyes both from other moms and from Amazon, used lots of popsicle sticks from Cecelia's teacher, and had glue bottles, scissors and a marker on this table.
The kids cut out their own black circle from the stencil Cecelia made, glued it on, glued on the 'Mummy' strip of paper, their name, and then eyes. After that they went to town with popsicle sticks. Some kids only had time for one stick, others used hundreds;) These were super wet at the end of the party, so we had brown paper grocery bags lined up in the hall with the kids' names written on them. We placed the wet crafts on top of the bags and let them dry over the weekend. This craft was a hit and my personal fave---who doesn't love playing to the heart of a mom? It was tough to get this completed in ten minutes for some children, and the glue bottles were crazy-messy. I guess they don't really use actual glue in 4K, but glue sticks are heavily used. Too bad they really did need the bottles for the popsicle sticks, and it all turned out just fine in the end!
Station five: Toilet Paper Roll Spiders
I put out a request for families to donate any empty toilet paper, or paper towel rolls before the party. I had to clarify that I only wanted the empty ROLLS and not the entire thing of toilet paper---almost got dozens of the full version from a parent! Pinterest told me this would be a super cute and fairly easy craft, but it did include a decent amount of prep work from me.
Gathering the empty rolls was easy, apparently people save these like crazy! Then I went ahead and cut them down to size and added legs but simply cutting up the sides. I had twenty-eight spiders ready to be used as stamps, with the potential to turn them into painted/googly-eyed spiders that could be taken home a that end, too. I went ahead and glued printer paper on top of construction paper to make it a little more hearty. Then I had paint, paper plates for the paint, the cardboard spiders, a ton of google-eyes, glue, and a marker for names all sitting on the table.
The kids would dip a cardboard spider into the paint and then stamp it onto the paper. They glued eyes to their spiders, wrote their names, and set the paper aside. Some of the kids painted the cardboard spiders, glued eyes onto them, and put them on the brown paper bags for drying, too. I expected all of the kids to make a spider to take home but not everyone wanted to do that, so I still have a lot of cardboard spiders left over! Everyone did love stamping the paint and I enjoyed seeing how DIFFERENT they all were. Individuality, gotta embrace it and resist making the craft 'pretty', I suppose! Some were smeared all around, some were meticulously stamped----it was awesome.
Station six: Cookie Decorating Station
Another mom signed up to make sugar cookies and sent in frosting and sprinkles for the kids to use. We had ziplock bags with their names written on them, in case the kids didn't want to eat the cookie right away and brought it home instead. The helpers just needed a few plastic knives and the kids did a great job decorating their cookies! I got a nibble of Cecelia's and it was delicious. You have to have one sugar station in a class party, right? Well this plus the candy corn station, but who is counting?
After we rotated the six groups through the stations for roughly ten minutes each stop, we gathered everyone together and had a grandma read the kids a Halloween book. The adult helpers all set out the 'healthy' snack that a parent contributed, plus plates and napkins and juice boxes. After the book the kids enjoyed their snack at tables and they all looked satisfied but spent. I hear you, children, I felt the same way!
I wouldn't change a lot about this party, the stations all worked out really well. The hardest part was keeping the groups together, remembering names, and helping the kids move between stations without getting distracted. One idea for next time is taking the list of kids in each small group, and passing it around to each station when they switch. That way the helpers know who is supposed to be sitting in front of them, who is lost in the bathroom, who wandered off, etc. I did have little sticky notes with the small groups listed separately but those notes got lost in the shuffle, literally. I also wanted each station to have a tall stand with a number on top, so the kids would understand 'go to table three next'. They didn't know the names of all of the adult helpers and it got a little congested at times when we switched stations, so a tall wedding table-style number stand is on my list of 'must finds' before the next party.
Thoughts: It's awesome being a part of a class with so many eager parents, ready to help and contribute items ahead of time, even if they can't come to the actual party. I won't be attending every party either, but I'm glad this one went so smoothly. It was a lot of prep work but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm sort of in my element with crafts and organizing and planning.
Have fun tackling one or two (or six) of these activities at home or in your school. I have many other un-used Pinterest ideas on this board if you are searching for something at the last minute. And with that, I'm going to shift my focus to trick-or-treating and assembling adult costumes for a neighborhood party this weekend. Can't wait for the candy battles to begin!