After a leisurely summer of hanging out with friends and enjoying outdoor activities, the start of school can be a very reluctant reality for kids. Thankfully, a back-to-school party can take a lot of the worry and nervousness out of the last few days of vacation, getting children excited for the school year to come. Here’s how to throw a back-to-school party for kids of all ages that will send them into their new classrooms with a smile:
Set up a foam whiteboard near the party entrance, writing a few columns with questions at the top, such as “Favorite Summer Memory” and “Class You’re Most Excited to Take.” Leave out markers for children to answer. For younger children, have them simply sign their name. You’ll be setting the tone for a fun school-themed party, and with a little trimming and a frame, your child will get a keepsake memento of everyone who visited.
Setting the Theme
A Cafeteria At Home
In addition to party-appropriate bowls of chips and munchies, make up a funny menu of foods like “Mystery Meat” (hamburgers and hot dogs) and serve it cafeteria-style. As the children move down the table with trays or plates, mom and dad can even get into character with a hairnet and a fake surly attitude as they sling school-worthy chow.
Make Detention Fun
Set up a den or living room as a “detention hall” with video games, board games and other inside activities – a mandatory stay-in time can even be imposed if mom or dad needs extra time to prep other party events. Have your child guide you when it comes to picking out popular games and set up playoff tournaments with prizes such as magnetic locker mirrors or music player ear buds. This activity staging area is also an excellent “Plan B” in case of inclement weather.
At-Home Recess Essentials
Prep For Success – With Crafts!
There are certain accessories that will travel with students throughout the school year, and a party is an ideal setting for adding a little customization. Set a table with metallic markers, patches, pins and other arts and crafts supplies and request each attendee bring a backpack intended for the new school year. Kids can decorate their new bag with the supplies, making it their own before the first class bell rings.
Silly “School” Pictures
Set up a camera for older children, or appoint an adult photographer for younger partygoers and assemble a box of funny props. Weird hats, oversized sunglasses and items from around the house can bring out the creativity in children, especially when there’s a camera involved. Have everyone take a goofy “class” picture as well as a group shot, which can later be printed into special memento packets for the partygoers after school starts.
School Supply Fiesta
Get a piñata and fill it with fun versions of common school supplies – novelty erasers, small themed notepads, multicolor pens and stickers are a great place to start. Hide special tokens that can be traded in for larger items that won’t fit in a piñata – pencil boxes or rulers, for instance. Have attendees determine the take-a-whack line order by figuring out who has the most “A”s in their name, who has the most “B”s, and so on.
After a summer of fun and hanging out with friends, a lot of the previous school year’s knowledge may be a little elusive. Help party attendees get back up to speed by setting up a trivia contest, with gift cards to a popular local store as the prizes at stake. Make questions from age-appropriate categories like math, science and history and battle it out to see who the biggest brainiac of the group is!
Remember, having a brief pre-party chat with your child will be the best way to determine what he or she would like to experience with his or her friends. Novelties and puns may not cross the generational gap, so be sure to run them by your built-in liaison first! With a little cooperative effort, both you and your child will experience a fun and rewarding send off to the summer, and you’ll be crowned as the “cool parent” in your neighborhood.