One of my favorite ways to volunteer at school is on party days. I get to know my children’s classmates better, and meet their parents when they volunteer at school.
Classroom parties with stations are an easy way to involve parents. Parents just need to show up, and do one activity. Kids keep moving after short stops at the station, ensuring they don’t get bored with the activities.
Setting up Party Stations
When deciding on the number of party stations, start by dividing the number of kids in the class into groups of 4 kids. For a class of 20 kids, you’ll have 5 groups of 4 kids; you’ll need 5 stations. Most classrooms can hold 4 to 6 stations comfortably. If you need more stations, ask if you can use the gym or cafeteria during the morning or afternoon.
Assign one parent volunteer per station, and one parent volunteer per group. This will give you two parents at each station at any given time. If a child needs to leave the group, one parent can remain with the group while they work on the craft or activity. Depending on how much time you have for the party during the school day, plan on 5 to 10 minutes per station. Have one person responsible for watching the time to ensure the kids keep moving from station to station.
Ask parent volunteers to arrive 15 to 20 minutes ahead of time, and stay 15 minutes after the party. This gives you time to review the stations and expectations with the parents before the party. New parent volunteers may need a quick review of school rules and where the bathroom is located. After the party, you’ll need all volunteers to pitch in for clean up. Always make sure everything is returned to its proper place when you’re finished.
Thanksgiving Party Stations
Mad Libs for Kids | My Sister’s Suitcase – Free printable
Thanksgiving Story Bracelet | First Grade a la Carte – Free printable
Fun Turkey Cupcakes | My Frugal Adventures
Turkey Balloon Rockets | Growing a Jeweled Rose
Thanksgiving Pictionary for Kids | Your Home Based Mom
Christmas Party Stations
Stack the Cups | cloud8
Snowflake Race | Thinking IQ
Ornament on a Yardstick | cloud8
Pin the Nose on the Reindeer | Living on the Crafty Side of Life
Christmas Memory Game | Crazy Little Projects
Penguin Walk | Thinking IQ
General Ideas for Party Stations
Face Painting – Almost every kid loves getting their face painted. It’s best to assign 2 parent volunteers to this station, reducing the amount of time children need to wait.
Paper Bag Puppets – Ask a parent volunteer to prepare the supplies ahead of time. Make sure the station has a pen for writing the children’s names on the back of the paper bag.
Simple Mobiles – Ask a parent volunteer to prepare the supplies ahead of time. You may want to assign an extra volunteer to this station to help the children with putting the mobile together.
Tic Tac Toe – Using a holiday theme, set the tic tac toe game up on the classroom floor using masking tape or duct tape. It can also be set up in the hallway if the activity won’t disrupt other classes.
Bingo – Using a holiday theme, prepare the game ahead of time. Keep an extra bingo card at the station in case you need it.
Hot Potato – When the music stops, one child needs to say a holiday-related word before the group counts to 10.