Rethinking Classroom Parties Part 2: 15 Ideas to Bring the Fun Not the Food
Are you concerned about what your kid is eating at school?
Are all the treats brought into the class for birthdays and class celebrations driving you bonkers? You are not alone, my friend. Many parents share your frustrations and I think the time is right for concerned parents to stand up and be the change. Say it with me now… “Parents and teachers unite against junk food in the classroom!” Let’s get the sugary treats and fake food out of the classroom. Let’s make class parties and birthdays about a fun experience that everyone can enjoy.
Let’s Get this Party Started!
Start the school year off right by re-styling classroom festivities. Talk to your child’s teacher about your concerns with food-based celebrations and rewards. Volunteer to be room mom. Get the creative juices flowing and adopt new ways to make the holidays fun.
During celebrations, kids can:
1. Play games
2. Have extra recess time
3. Get choice time
4. Play music
5. Do arts and crafts
6. Watch a movie
7. Create a card or gift for someone else
Birthday kids could:
8. Bring a favorite book to class so the teacher can read it out loud
9. Get a special job
10. Get first choice for recess equipment
11. Wear a special sticker
12. Bring in a baby picture
13. Help take attendance
14. Be first in line for lunch
15.Get a trip to the treasure box
Those are all options kids would LOVE! Download our totally fabulous Ideas for Fun Focused. No Food. Class Parties PDF! It's a perfect for taking to those PTA meetings or talking to your kid's teacher!
Change the Focus to Fun Crafts!
One room mom I spoke with had the kids focus on others for the holidays. During Valentine’s Day instead of sharing candy and cards with each other, she helped the kids make cards for seniors at a local assisted-living facility. When the residents saw the cards they were delighted and the kids learned the value of giving back.
Channel Your Inner Martha Stewart
Another room mom recommended channeling your inner Martha Stewart and coming up with holiday themed crafts. Kids love making crafts and gifts – why not center a party around that? Wouldn’t it be fun to come home with a Frankenstein luminary, a holiday ornament or a Valentine’s Day necklace rather than a bag of candy? (Which you know you’re going to throw out anyway.) Now, I’m not saying kids should never have goodies, but if the average class size is 34 kids and each one brings a treat for their birthday and you add that to what’s served at the holidays -- that’s a sweet per week! Let’s dial it down and only bring in food for very special occasions. Avoid artificial colors, flavors and additives by making homemade baked goods. Opt for healthier treats like chocolate covered strawberries or rainbow fruit skewers. And be sure to account for kids with food allergies - it’s not fair to leave them out.
Festivities without Food
I recently spoke with veteran teacher, Mrs. Beverly Jensen, of Morgan Hill Unified School District. She has successfully implemented a ‘no food’ policy for classroom celebrations because her students were happier playing games or doing art. She said she’s never had any issues with parents accepting her party policy. In fact, for many parents it’s a huge relief. Mrs. Jensen found that after the kids ate sugary treats, it was harder for them to pay attention in class. Without food in the classroom she doesn’t have to worry about special diets or food allergies. If kids bring candy for the class, she has them put it away and says, “Don’t eat it! Go home and show your parents and they can decide whether or not you can eat it.” When parents ask her about bringing in cupcakes to celebrate a child’s birthday she tells the parents, “Most kids will eat just one bite of it and throw the rest away – they’d rather go play at recess.” Instead, she recommends that parents spend that money on a book for the class, which she dedicates to the student. This makes the child feel special and gives them a wonderful experience.
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