Needs ideas for class holiday parties?

It’s that time of year when moms and teachers are under pressure to come up holiday party ideas that are fun, inexpensive, healthy and not particularly religious.

I am currently working on planning Walsh’s class party and providing items for Rose’s parties, and I wanted to share a couple of good ideas.

For Walsh’s party this year we are copying Walsh’s party from last year. His second-grade teacher put a big emphasis on activity and fitness. The whole party last year was held outside. (It might be warm enough if your party is at the end of the day or maybe you could reserve some gym time?)

The teacher did a relay game where the kids had to swap off reindeer ears, a nose and tie before they could race. They all loved it.

Then she did a sort of musical chairs but without the chairs. She threw little red bows on the ground, played music and the kids had to grab a bow and make it the finish line before the music stopped. She used less bows each time so the kids got out just like in musical chairs. One kid figured out it was all probability and positioned himself further from the finish line but closer to bows that other kids were not going after. He was so smart. The loved that one too.

Then she did a race game where each team of four to five kids had a wrapped box. She told the kids to unwrap the box and they would win. Well, it was actually wrapped with seven layers. So they got the first layer off and were shocked and had to keep going. It was so cute.

So we’re doing all of those this year for his third grade class. I like that they get to be outside and run around.

Rose’s class has decided to do a charity event for their party. The principal has found a family in need and the class is going to sponsor them. The families will buy gifts off the list and then during their party time they kids will wrap the gifts and prepare everything for the family. The class is also going to cook for the family. So I think it’s a lovely way to teach service and charity during the holidays, and the kids will have a nice time doing it.

Last year Rose’s class did a A Minute to Win It Party and it was a huge success. They loved the activities and you don’t even have to make anything up. All the games are listed on the website and the moms just set up stations for each activity. We had a stopwatch. They all tried to do it and then switched stations.

What are your best party ideas to share with other moms? Do you like to do crafts at the party? Do you like to make keepsakes for the parents? Do you like to do activities?

19 comments Add your comment


December 13th, 2011
12:37 pm

“The teacher did a relay game where the kids had to swap off reindeer ears, a nose and tie before they could race.”

Like a clown nose? Being shared by all the kids on the relay team? Gross! Maybe I’m being too much of a germaphobe, but having kids take turns wearing a nose during cold and flu season seems like a really dumb idea to me.


December 13th, 2011
1:07 pm

No stress over CHRISTMAS parties. All the kids parties are usually on the same day, so hubs and I take the day off, pull the kids out of school, and do something fun as a family. This year we are heading down to Callaway Gardens and spending the day there. We may spend the night, but we haven’t gotten that far in our plans just yet. We really like to be spontaneous.

P. Nussman

December 13th, 2011
1:19 pm

Drinking games are always a lot of fun.


December 13th, 2011
2:16 pm

I’m not sure why we have all these parties. It’s getting tiresome. Maybe okay for the younger grades, but goodness, my kid’s in 4th grade. Can we stop this? Since all I hear from the teachers when I ask that something be taught is : we don’t have any time. *sigh*

Longtime Educator

December 13th, 2011
2:19 pm

Geez, you give a simple topic, and some people…
As an elementary teacher for 30plus years, one of my favorite activities was a used book exchange. Rather than exchanging names for a classmate gift, kids brought in a new or gently used book for a game of “musical present.” Sit in a circle, start 2 or 3 gifts around the circle and stop the music…if you’re holding the gift it’s yours! I always kept a supply of extras in case the book just didn’t match the kid or his/her reading ability. We usually played “holiday bingo” with the word card bearing words from the holiday season (including hanukkah and kwanzaa). Winners got a wintry themed pencil to use when we came back to school in January. The thing I never understood was the MOB of parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. that always came to the party. You would think adults would have something better to do tha go to a third grader’s class Christmas party! Quite often the food would run low and the true party kids couldn’t get seconds on anything. Sheesh!!


December 13th, 2011
2:20 pm

So atlmom1, what exactly did you want taught during the hour for the Christmas party?


December 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

Really??? A wintery themed pencil? Oh the joy……

Fun Room Mom

December 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

These are cool ideas and they sound like fun for the kids and adults! Thanks for sharing!

Fun Room Mom

December 13th, 2011
2:47 pm

Bah humbug to the holiday party naysayers! In the 1st grade class we are doing a craft this year, decorating sugar cookies, and playing games. No gift exchange…just a break to celebrate and have a fun time!


December 13th, 2011
2:57 pm

One year, when my daughter was in 2nd grade, we set up craft centers and the kids went from one to another, there was a 15 minute timer set, so they had to switch when it went off. We did the bead candy canes, decorated sugar cookies, made snow men with sticker foam pieces, and made holiday ornament picture frames. If you or another parent is crafty and artsy like that then go for it. If you are like me and not all that crafty, then go to Walmart of a craft store and buy the pre-packaged craft ideas (which is what we did for the snowmen and the ornaments).

I think that the kids are happy with whatever.Just be sure to have some fruit, cupcakes, and juice and the kids could care less!

Oh, and I really like the idea of book exchanges for the class up through middle school! Chapter books are a great idea and personally I think the older kids need them just as much as the younger ones.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 13th, 2011
3:00 pm

They did a book exchange last year in the fourth grade class. Her fifth grade class has really embraced bringing in stuff for needy families in the area. It’s nice for them to focus on other kids and not just thier class. I’m glad the teacher is organizing.


December 13th, 2011
3:02 pm

@Pencil… actually my son LOVES decorated pencils. Some kids really don’t mind the SIMPLE things!!!

@longtime educator ~ I have always attended my kid’s school holiday parties, but it’s always been just me, sometimes dad if he get off work. Of course, I am usually also volunteering to help, but I do know what you mean.


December 13th, 2011
3:04 pm

@TWG ~ that was a thought I had also. Again, it just depends on the age, who is organizing, and if they have the time to do some research on what is needed and who needs it.


December 13th, 2011
3:52 pm

Thanks for the ideas.

Longtime Educator

December 13th, 2011
10:57 pm

@ Pencil,
Regarding the pencil prize…not sure if you’re dissing the pencil or the winter theme?? Young kids do love “themed” pencils, and a “snowy pencil” makes more sense in January than a Santa pencil. Teachers are encouraged to not give candy as rewards/prizes and there really aren’t too many inexpensive generic prize ideas.
Theresa, I read your blog daily and really enjoy it, but only comment occasionally. I’ve really been perplexed lately by the “tone” of some of the comments…


December 14th, 2011
7:28 am

I made a bunch of Cinnamon Salt Flour ornaments (1 cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 cups flour, 4-5 tbs of cin). I cut them into stars and bells and candy canes, dried them and the kids are going to paint them at the party and then give as gifts to their parents. Last year he got a goody bag from his teacher with some winter themed pencils and erasers and he LOVED THEM! :)


December 14th, 2011
7:55 am

YEARS AGO…we played PIN THE NOSE ON THE REINDEER…a giant reindeer is taped on the wall and then the children are blind folded and given a red paper circle with tape on the back.
( if their eyes were open, this would be eye hand co-ordination but I am not sure what it is with their eyes closed).

Here are two easy games to play with your own young children over the Christmas Break…

HIDE THE BELL…all children close their eyes while one walks around the room ringing a large jingle bell that has a ribbon tied to it ( rings better than a plain bell). They put the bell somewhere in the room. Then, select a child who is sitting quietly and waiting to go look for the bell ( THIS IS FOR AUDITORY PROCESSING).

MISSING ITEM….put several things on a tray: TAPE, CANDLE, BOW, GIFT TAG, SNOWFLAKE, CARD, COOKIE CUTTER, ETC. Ask the children to carefully look at the tray, then close their eyes. Take one item off of the tray and they have the children open their eyes and try to guess what you have removed.

Classroom parties can be fun and also an important social learning experience. Accepting any gift with a gracious smile and a thank-you is a skill to be learned. I agree with Longtime Educator’s comment to Theresa and am dismayed at those who hop on the blog just to ridicule.

Event Ideas | Snow day activities for kids

December 14th, 2011
3:15 pm

[...] Needs ideas for class holiday parties? All the games are listed on the website and the moms just set up stations for each activity. We had a stopwatch. They all tried to do it and then switched stations. What are your best party ideas to share with other moms? Do you like to do crafts at … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


December 15th, 2011
1:04 am

I am room mom for my daughter’s kindergarten class and we did crafts and a couple of games. We had “Snowball Bingo” (aka cotton ball bingo), “make your own snowman” using real marshmallows, pretzel sticks, mm’s, and mini chocolate chips, and we also had “pin the decorations on the gingerbread man” where we made life size (well, 5 year old life size) cut outs of gingerbread men and blindfolded the kids and had them attempt to get the decorations in the right spots. It was really alot of fun.

Also, I brought it an 8 foot inflatable penguin from my front yard. The kids LOVED it! And we decorated all the tables with festive (but inexpensive) wrapping paper and I brought a bunch of my own decorations from home to use as centerpieces for the tables.

Oriental trading company has some great ideas for gifts/crafts.