There are so many new things to navigate as our kids grow up. Especially during those “tween” years when they do really seem to be smack dab in-between little and big kid status. From the big things like how much do we help them navigate through tough times with friends to the little things like what kind of presents do we get them when they think they have outgrown Legos and other toys? (For the record, no one ever outgrows Legos!) I was dealing with one of these “little things” just the other day when I had to start planning my son’s Upper Elementary Class Halloween Party. I knew 4th graders don’t want to play Musical Chairs at their age, but I also knew I couldn’t do something scary or too big kid-ish.
Thankfully, my son’s teacher knows 4th graders well and she told me in their class, the upper elementary students plan their own class parties! As the Class Room Mom, it’s my job to come alongside them and help them get organized. I came up with the perfect way for them to do that with a Free Printable Class Party Planner and then the kids were able to use that to come up with the perfect Upper Elementary Class Halloween Party Activities!
For the record as much as I love planning class parties (I did this TK/Kindergarten Halloween Party and this 4/5th Grade Halloween Party after all), I think having students in the upper grades plan their own holiday celebrations is a fantastic idea. It teaching them event planning, promotes independence, leadership skills and organization. Best of all? It is guaranteed to incorporate the interests of tweens and older elementary students!
But like any new skill, it’s our job to come along side the children to teach them how to do it. The teacher started by dividing up the kids into committees for each holiday party. In my son’s class, they have 3 committees (one for Halloween, the Winter Holidays and Valentine’s Day) of 10 to 11 students each.
Once the groups were set, I came to school to meet with the Halloween Committee separately. I began the meeting by giving them all a quick chance to share about their favorite class parties and activities from the past. We also had to talk through some of our limitations (like organized group games weren’t probably going to work in the time and space we had and parents wouldn’t like it if they bobbed for candy and ate candy and sugar all morning long).
After we got refocused (11 tweens have a lot of ideas to share!!) I brought out the Printable Class Party Planner I created to give them some guidance in the planning process. It looked like the image below (without the watermark!) Not every box needed to be filled in, of course, but it was a good jumping off point. It showed them they needed to come up with an idea, the supplies needed for that plan and a point person. I also had them designate where the activity would take place ahead of time so set-up would go quickly.
We also discussed things like if they wanted to do any simple decorations in the classroom or on the classroom door and if there were things they could make or already had on hand. I stressed they shouldn’t go buy a bunch of stuff or plan anything that would take a lot of time to set up.
Next, we reviewed snack options and how making a snack could be an activity in and of itself. Even kids in an Upper Elementary Class Halloween Party need a special snack! But we did have to revisit the topic of how much sugar is too much sugar! ;) Thankfully, other than my own kid, they didn’t have a lot of food allergies to think about when planning the snack either.
In the end, the committee decided they wanted to decorate cupcakes as their snack activity. We recorded it on the chart and wrote down the names of the people who were willing to bring in cupcakes, frosting and Halloween sprinkles.
The next part, planning the activities, was my personal favorite. It gave me an opportunity to hear what kinds of activities appeal to upper elementary school students. My own kid would just want to play video games all day long if he could, so I was curious to hear about the interests of his classmates.
This was a good time to remind the students that an activity could actually be referring to a craft, a game or an activity. I encouraged them to include a few types to try and appeal to a wider audience. For instance, it might be a good idea to prepare an independent activity like a Halloween printable word game for those who are more introverted. Or for those who just enjoy hanging with one buddy, I created a Skeleton/Hangman Game that would be perfect for some quiet fun. The committee ultimately put one boy in charge of finding the perfect Halloween printable. I think he loved the responsibility of finding a fun Halloween printable that everyone would enjoy. I know his mom (the Room Mom!) will help him, but I did point him to my Halloween Class Party Board for Upper Grades on Pinterest for some inspiration! =)
The other activities the kids chose were Pin the Tail on the Black Cat (with one talented little girl drawing the cat on poster board and another cutting out all the tails!), Halloween Bingo using Candy Corn (so they could eat it when they were finished!), Eyeball Pong and Stretchy Skeleton Hand Slap. All told, that gave the Upper Elementary Class Halloween Party 5 stations including the cupcake station. There was also the optional Halloween printable available for those who wanted to bring it to their desks independently. Oh and several girls were insistent on creating Goodie Bags for the class and who am I to turn away free treats? ;)
Truth be told, this all might be a bit much for an class party that only lasts one hour, but since they very thoughtfully came up with this plan, the supply lists and who was responsible for each station, who am I to question that? It will be a great learning experience for the kids and since they picked out what they are going to do, it’s guaranteed to pique their interests. And that is already one step ahead of what I would have planned! =)
After our Halloween Class Party Committee meeting, I went home and typed up the notes and decisions and made a copy for the students and sent an email to the parents of the children, with the planner attached. I was sure to mention that it was kid planned and if their child committed them to something that was super expensive or a family heirloom or something, to let me know as there were tons of other options and ideas discussed and it was an easy fix.
After helping upper grade elementary students plan their own class party using this Free Printable Class Party Planner I made, I decided that this is actually a great tool for planning any class party. Not only will I be using it in the future for any class parties I plan, but I highly recommend anyone planning a children’s party with activities and games use it. It’s a great way to keep track of all of your plans and not miss a detail! You can download your free Class Party Planner by signing up for emails below. Happy Party Planning!