When my youngest son entered Kindergarten this fall, one of his older brothers told him he would love Kindergarten because they were always having parties!

Easy Classroom Party: Stations

When organizing a class party, setting stations or activity centers for groups of kids is a great way to involve lots of parent volunteers and keep the kids busy with fun and games. Mix up a variety of crafts and simple activities to keep the kids engaged.

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.

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.

Ideas for Party Stations

Depending on how much time you have for the party during the school day, plan on 5 to 10 minutes per station.

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.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey - Use a holiday theme. For Valentine's Day, kids can pin the eyes and mouth on a heart shape. For St. Patrick's Day, pin the leprechaun or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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.

Blow Bubbles with Chewing Gum - Keep a trash can near for kids to dispose of their gum before leaving the station.

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.

Holiday stories - Use this station as a rest stop between activities where kids need to move.

Decorate a Cupcake or Sugar Cookie – Give each child a cupcake on a plastic plate, and have them decorate to their heart’s content.

Heart Love – Ask each child to write down what they love about their teacher on a giant heart. Lay the heart out on the floor or a large table with several crayons.

Holiday Coloring Pages – With so many free coloring pages available online, you’ll find lots of cute ones to use.

Pipe Cleaner Glasses – Use 3 pipe cleaners to create a pair of glasses.

Pom pom Magnets – Create bugs or animals with a few pom poms and supplies.

Guest Contributor: Barb is a mom of 4 boys and 1 girl who spends her day keeping track of Nerf guns, Legos, stuffed animals, and library books when she isn't writing about the organizing, cooking, crafting, and reading she manages to fit in between the crazy, loud moments. Her idea of quiet time is a trail run in the woods. Barb can be found at A Life in Balance.