I had my first ever Polar Express Pajama Day this year! I wanted to do something different for our Christmas party and I wasn’t sure what until another teacher asked if I wanted to join her class for a pajama day and movie. I agreed and after thinking about it I suggested that we should combine pajama/movie day with our Christmas parties…she agreed! So our first annual Polar Express Pajama Day was born!
The children were super excited…before the movie stated they had to find their spots on the carpet and get their tickets punched. I found printable polar express tickets online here and copied them on goldenrod paper. This alone, made the kids super excited and our day hadn’t really started yet! I was amazed how quietly 22 3 and 4 year olds sat waiting to get their ticket punched.
We started the movie. During the hot chocolate scene the children got another surprise….they all got a cup of creamy homemade hot chocolate that I had made that morning in my crock pot! It was a bit of an ordeal getting to work early and finding a place in the classroom next to an outlet (I only have 2 outlets in my room) but well worth it! It was sooo yummy!
We finished the movie and at the end the school secretary came in and said we got a package in the mail from the North Pole! You should have seen the looks on the kids faces! It was priceless! I opened the package and inside we found a letter from Santa and a bell for each child! (Okay, don’t tell anyone but I wrote up a letter and the other teacher got bells from the Dollar Tree) Just like the bell in the movie! The kids actually cheered. It was awesome.
We both agreed to do this every year…I couldn’t have asked for a better morning.
Well, we finally got the okay from Ms. Lezze-Faire to do our Grandparents Tea for Valentine’s Day. We’ve gone to the dollar store to pick up tablecloths, cups, plates, etc. I’ve also printed out some songs for us to pick from for the kids to sing. All we need now is an idea for party favors. We want them to be made (as much as possible) by the children. We also want to keep them as low cost as possible. Any ideas or suggestions? It would be greatly appreciated! 🙂
I’d like to do something different for our Valentine’s Party this year (if I can convince Ms. Lezze-Faire to let me use a specific part of our building) and have a Grandparents Tea. I ran this idea by a couple of my fellow teachers and they liked it so much that they asked if all 3 of our classes could join together! I told them it was fine with me!
Anyway, I’ve been trying to gather ideas online for everything from decorations, simple menu items, maybe a simple project, and even a valentine they can make their grandparents – basically, ideas for all aspects of this event – none of us have ever had a grandparents tea before! So i thought I would put a quick post about it together so that you, my readers, can contribute any ideas you have!
So, I’d like to hear your thoughts…what should we do or have at our Valentine Grandparents Tea? Any and all comments and ideas are welcome – I’m always open to suggestions! 🙂
I try to keep things as organized and simple as possible on party days. I know from past experiences how quickly things can get out of hand – and I would prefer that not to happen! We started out our party by playing a simple game called “I Love…” Basically we go around in a circle and each person get to say who or what they love. The sentence always starts off “I love _______ because…” We went around our circle 2 times because the children kept wanting to say who they loved and why! I loved hearing what they had to say!
Then Ms. Bennet read, “Valentine Mice” to the class! We’ve been reading at least one valentine book to the class everyday this week. After reading this book they requested to hear “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse” once again so Ms. Bennet obliged their request!
While we were playing the game and reading the stories I had 2 parent helpers prepping snack (during the stories I went over to help). For our party snack we had heart shaped cucumbers, heart shaped Jello Jigglers, a heart shaped piece of bread with strawberry jam on it, a valentines cookie, and a juice box. The parents helped me cut the bread and cucumbers into heart shapes, open juice boxes, plate the food, and pass out napkins and plates once it was all done! The 3 of us managed to do this very quickly! 🙂
After snack the parent volunteers, Ms. Bennet, and myself helped the children pass out their valentine cards. Then we took the children outside to play and run off their energy! Trust me when I say – they really needed this! lol At this point in the day one of my volunteers had to leave while the other stayed inside to hide various sized hearts all around the room! Our next game was going to be a Heart Scavenger Hunt where each child has to find 3 hearts! This is pretty much the same as an Easter Egg Hunt! When the children came inside we played this game – and as usual they loved playing it and asked to keep their hearts!
The last thing we did was let them look at all the cards and goodies they had in their valentine boxes! I think this is always their favorite part (even though they don’t admit it)! They were not allowed to eat anything but they could look at it – and when they were done we put everything away and got ready for lunch! It was a great party and I heard a lot of children say that this was the best party ever! 🙂
I totally forgot to tell you about our class Christmas Party! I know, Christmas is already over…but one more post on the topic won’t hurt! My main goal at class parties is to keep it very simple! I like to have a special snack, read a story, play a game, and, if time allows, perhaps do a simple art project!
Our snack for the Christmas party was orange slices, juice boxes, and Ritz Crackers with a strawberry cream cheese spread (this was optional – they could choose to leave their crackers plain, spread on plain cream cheese, spread on plain jam, or do the mixture). The children really enjoyed preparing and eating this snack! We only get to eat in the classroom on party days – so this was special for them! And to top it off, they got to eat on the carpet (and we never get to eat anywhere but tables!) – this excited them even more!
After snack we had our gift exchange. We ask that each child bring a wrapped book to exchange with a friend. Of course, I always bring extras for those children who I know will not bring one. I first explain that when they choose a book – they may not take the one they brought (their name is on the book so I can check to make sure they took a different one). Then I call them up one by one to pick a book. After everyone gets a book, we opened them together as a class. After they’re opened, we go around the carpet and everyone told what book they got and thanked whoever gave it to them. A good time! I only had 2 children cry this year about not being able to take the book they brought home – not too bad – and they both calmed down fairly quickly and were happy with what they got!
Afterward I read, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a letter from Santa that he wrote and mailed to me! The kids are always super excited about this part and I have to tape the letter to the door so they can show their parents! 🙂
Lastly, we played a game which I think is called Jesus in a Manger. It’s pretty much like the Farmer in the Dell but with different words. Here’s how it goes:
Jesus in a Manger
Jesus in a Manger
Jesus in a Manger
The following verses are: Jesus picks Mary; Mary picks Joseph; Joseph picks a Sheppard; the Sheppard picks a Wise Man; the Wise Man picks the Star; and finally, the Star shines Alone – all repeated the same way as the first verse! The kids loved this game and we played it over and over again because everyone wanted a turn to be every part! I also find it’s a good way to review the Christmas story with them – because the first time we go over the game (before we actually play) and we talk about all the characters and what role they played in Jesus’ birth! Overall, it was a fun-filled day! 🙂
Today we had a class pajama party! It was in honor of Ms. Bennet’s birthday! The children were very excited because even Ms. Bennet and I wore pajamas! They just couldn’t get over that. Ms. Lezze-Faire even got into the spirit – she came to visit our class for a few minutes today and joked about how we all forgot to get dressed on the same day! The children laughed and told her she was being silly – we were having a pajama party of course! It was great.
We did our usual morning routine of journals, morning message, and circle time. Then we had our snack of cupcakes and juice – and sang “Happy Birthday” to Ms. Bennet. We told them they could bring a stuffed animal to school (which is very special since I don’t usually allow toys from home) and so we went around and everyone told us about the special friend they had brought with them to school. Next we let them all take their shoes off and get comfy on the carpet with their stuffed animal to watch a movie. We watched “The Sword and the Stone” – Ms. Bennet’s favorite children’s movie.
After the movie I let the children dance with thier stuffed animal. They loved this part. Then I told the children we were going to play sorting games. First I told them to sort themselves into boys and girls. Done. Then, short sleeve/long sleeve. Got it. Then by various pajama colors: pink, purple, red, and blue (everyone’s pajamas fell into one of these color categories). This one took a little work – but we got it. Then I told them to sort themselves by sock color, white/not white. They got that easily. After each sorting we counted each group to see which one was the biggest.
Fun times. Sporatically throughout the morning I would turn into the “Tickle Monster” and run around tickling various children that came near me! They loved this too! Then as a special treat we ate lunch in our room with our stuffed animals! This excited them because we never eat lunch in our class! It was a great day!
So today we had our party – and everyone had a blast! Of course I ran out of time and we didn’t get to do all the activities I planned – but there is always next week – what matters is that everyone had fun today! We started the day with our usual journals, morning message, and circle time. No matter what – we do these everyday. But then the fun started!
We had a valentine themed snack. Each child made some red strawberry jam heart toast – using a cookie cutter to cut the heart. Then, I had cut cucumbers into hearts with a cookie cutter and each child got to take some of those. Next, we had purple grapes to go with our Valentine theme and red cherry juice. As a treat, they each got a valentines cookie to eat as well. They get super excited about being able to eat in the classroom on party days – and not at tables – they lay their napkins out on the carpet like mini table clothes them put their plate on top and eat sitting on the carpet! We still only drink our juice at a table though.
Next was what the children had been waiting for – time to hand out our valentines! Everyone got their containers and Ms. Bennet and I went first – then two children at a time went around the circle and handed out their Valentines util everyone had gone. This year I had 3 parents who brought in goodie bags for each child – boy were they excited when they saw that! So after everything was handed out – we let them look at everything they had gotten – they were all so happy! Smiles for everyone! This part took a long time – which was no surprise to me and I didn’t really care – they were having fun!
After all of this the only thing we had time for was to sort and count some conversations hearts – which they had a good time doing. Anytime they can do an activity with food – they love it! We were all so tired when it was over we barely gor through lunch – but everyone was happy and it was a great success! And they all slept for nap today! As a matter of fact, I got off early at 3:30 pm and when I got home I passed out in bed for an hour! 🙂 And when even the teacher is exhausted – you know it was a success! Fun times…
*Picture found through Google Images*