When my kids were in elementary school, I attended many classroom parties. Being an eco-friendly person, I was always shocked to see how much trash was generated at the end of the day. When my child's second grade teacher asked me to help coordinate the spring classroom party, I took it upon myself to research what it would take to make this a GREEN classroom party! It was easy to do…the kids learned about being eco-friendly, the teacher was happy not to have all that trash, and you should have seen how surprised the custodian was!
Not only did we figure out ways to reduce the amount of trash generated, but we also provided some healthy and locally-grown foods for the kids to eat. And, instead of sending home 25 pieces of paper so that families could sign up to bring something, we used free online signup sheets.
I hope these tips will help during your next classroom party!
Pre-made, store bought food is typically filled with sugar, preservatives, and other "empty" calories. Not to mention all the packaging! But, parents are usually so busy with other things, they don't always have time to make something from scratch. There are easy, healthy alternatives. Discuss ideas with the class, and encourage the kids to participate in the decision about when their family will contribute to the party. Some examples are listed below!
– home-made popcorn
– mini bananas
– baby carrots
– muffins made with pumpkin or zucchini
– cheese squares (store bought is fine for these!)
– whole wheat pita with hummus
– yogurt dip with apples and strawberries
– fruit kabobs
Parents usually resort to juice bags or juice boxes because they are so convenient. Next time, think about bringing a pitcher of lemonade or simply water — ask the kids to bring their own plastic cup from home! Then they can rinse it out, and bring it back home. No cups to throw away! Kids can also bring their own cloth napkin to the party.
Plastic tablecloths are convenient, but generate so much trash. Cloth is eco-friendly, and makes the party feel cozier. Store bought paper decorations can be replaced by decorations the kids make themselves! Paper collages, paper chains, and snowflakes can all be made from paper scraps left over from other projects. The kids will be so proud to see things they made hanging up on the walls!
It's so easy to just pop in a CD during the party for background music, but imagine if the kids were making their own music! Kids can make their own music by banging on empty oatmeal containers and tin cans, using utensils or other items found around the classroom. Ask the music teacher or a musically inclined parent to lead the kids in an organized rhythmic session. Have the kids take turns dancing and making the music! Solo performances can be fun too!
Schedule the classroom party when the weather is mild, so the kids can go outside and play some simple games like jump rope, hula hoop, or leapfrog. Break the kids into small groups and have them rotate through the games! If the weather is bad, have the kids tell stories, while they dress up in old clothes. Ask them to imagine that they are a character from their favorite book, someone they admire, or even a superhero. This exercise gives kids a chance to speak in front of a group while using their imagination.
Hopefully, these tips will encourage kids and parents to think outside the box when planning the next classroom party!
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