When the summer winds down, it’s a great time to get the kids back into the school spirit by hosting an end of summer “Back to School Party”. Back to school parties are a wonderful way for kids to reconnect with old classmates—or meet some new friends before the new school year gets underway. The task of hosting such a party may seem daunting at first, but it’s really simple and can be done inexpensively as well by using local resources. How do you host a back to school party and use some valuable Columbus area resources?
Get district teachers and parents on board. Obviously, some teachers are more receptive to helping with summer party planning when they are busily preparing classrooms for the new school year than others—but, even if he or she is too busy to help plan, the teacher may be able to connect you to other parents willing to help out. If the school prohibits access to a class list you may need to wait until school is open and post a sign at the school or hand out flyers during meet the teacher events or classroom orientation—and plan an early fall party instead of a summer party. You may be surprised that the classroom teacher would love to help organize such an event to meet families in a non-formal school setting—but, doesn’t have the time to take it on single handedly! Remember that such parties are great ways for parents to meet as well before the school year starts and play date and birthday party requests roll in—and it may be one of the few opportunities that some working parents have during the school year to interact with other classroom parents.
Choose a party place. If your home isn’t ready to host a crowd of 100 plus, you may be able to host the party on school grounds with permission. A section of the grounds connected to the playground offers both the location and built in activities for the kids! If the school district does not open its grounds to non-school related functions, check out the local park system. The Columbus Metro Parks and residential parks in the suburbs are located throughout the city—and many have facilities that can be rented or reserved for large events such as a back to school party.
Make the party a potluck—or attend a summer PTA/PTO meeting to ask for entrée help. Either plan to ask everyone in attendance to supply a potluck covered dish or enlist help from the school parent teacher organization. The PTA/PTO group may be willing to set aside expenditures for hot dogs or grill meat on the request of a classroom teacher or an active member—the worst that can happen is that your motion or request be denied! If an entrée is lacking, watch the local grocery store sales. You can likely pick up hot dogs for buy one get two free such pricing at Giant Eagle, Meijer, or Krogers, making a meal for 75 an easy, under $10 donation!
Skip the decorations unless a group of parents are willing to donate. First of all—kids will be thrilled with the opportunity to play with other kids from their classroom, and if you are able to create this in an outdoor, play friendly setting, decorations are not really necessary. If other parents have streamers or balloons left over from past parties that fit school colors, as many may—accept these donations as added extras. Really, a back to school party doesn’t need decorations—just kids and parents willing to interact and bond for the upcoming school year!
Consider yourself lucky for having the opportunity to meet your child’s classmates and parents before the back to school rush sets in. Orientation often ends with a “now what” feeling for many parents. If you have had the opportunity to meet at least one set of parents that share your goals, personality and hopes for school year—consider yourself fortunate!
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