Back To School - Celebrate The New Year!

Before long, the days of summer will give way to notebooks, pencils, book bags and sack lunches.  Children will be returning to the hallowed halls of school, ready to dig in and begin a fresh start to a new school year.  It is a great time to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of school by having a Back-To-School party!

Plan the party to fall just before the new school year begins, but not too close to the beginning of school.  Check with local school calendars to ensure there aren’t any conflicts with Meet-the-Teacher nights or Orientation nights.  The type of party planned will dictate the time of day; a swimming party might work best during the day, but if most of the guests have parents that work, try to schedule around that as well.

There are all sorts of ways to incorporate a Back-to-School theme into the party.  Serve apple-laden dishes such as fruit salad, apple fritters, or cobbler.  If the party involves a meal, pack each guest a “sack lunch” for their meal.  Fill the sacks with chips, sandwiches, a piece of fruit and a juice box.  Throw in a cookie for a treat as well.  Use cookie cutters for cutting sandwiches into fun shapes as well as the cookies.  Or, serve a “blackboard cake.”  Make a simple rectangular cake, frost in black or gray frosting, and detail it with white piping for the chalk writing.  If serving cupcakes, ice them and decorate with letters and numbers.

Incorporate a craft project or two into the party if the group is conducive to that.  Decorate orange juice cans with construction paper for pencil holders.  Or, have each child decorate a plain folder with markers and foam pieces to make a special folder for school.  Another idea is to create clay pencil toppers.  These are great to make as “pals” to take on the first day of school.  With just a little colored clay, kids can create their own personal topper.

As for games, a good one is a back-to-school relay race.  Give each team a backpack, about 3 books, a sack lunch, play money and a juice box or carton of milk (one per child).  Each team has to pack the backpack, take a drink of the drink and race to a specified point to “catch the bus.”  Then, the child races back, unpacks the bag and hands it off to the next person.  This one always brings loads of laughs.

Scavenger hunts work well for older kids.  Have them hunt down school supplies around the area.  Or, break out games such as Pictionary or charades.  With charades, keep each clue school-related.  Another fun idea is “show and tell.”  Ask each guest to bring a picture of something he or she did this summer, then they can share it with the group.

As for accessories for the party, go with either a summer theme (to bid adieu to the summer fun) or a simple red gingham print.  Another idea is to cover tables with kraft paper and let the guests sponge paint designs on it.  Or, even better, they can write notes to each other and take home a piece as a memento!

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