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Editor's blog: End-of-the-year classroom parties

It’s party time, folks, which means you’ve probably already been tapped by the classroom “room parent” to bring something to the end-of-the-year party.

I signed up to bring all-fruit popsicles to celebrate the end of fourth grade after our dear little kids freeze their tails off – and have a blast – at the local Elks Club swimming pool. What can I say, popsicles are easy.

I must say our classroom snacks this year have been top notch and extraordinarily healthy, thanks to many committed parents and a child with severe allergies. Since he couldn’t eat nuts, dairy, or egg, it forced us all to be creative and thoughtful with classroom snacks.

We served up hummus, fruits and veggies, mini-hotdogs (OK, those might not be that healthy) and, of course, 100 percent fruit popsicles. For some fun school party snack ideas good for all kids, including those with allergies, read this EdNews Parent post by our nutrition expert. Just think, you can be the cool parent who brings in a swimming octopus, made out of sliced peppers and hummus. Or, get expert Shari Engkvist’s recipe for Wholesome Trail Mix Cookies.

And here are a few other party ideas, some that involve munchies – others that don’t. Not all the food ideas are OK for kids with allergies. Make sure you understand allergies that may be present in your child’s classroom. I’d recommend talking to the parent of the child with allergies to get snack ideas.

Activities without food

  • Nature walk Plan a nature walk and examine plants and insects that you find, draw them in a journal, which they can also decorate with stickers.
  • Clay pots Decorate mini clay flower pots for parents and plant a flower or seed (a favorite gift for decades).
  • Plantings Have parents donate plants that children can plant in the school yard, senior center or other community site.
  • Farms Visit a local farm, garden or orchard to learn about fruits and veggies that grow in your area.
  • Collage Have children make a collage showing what they plan to do this summer.
  • Play outside Plan an outdoor activity or game, such as potato sack races or obstacle courses.
  • Scavenger hunt Organize a scavenger hunt around a party theme.
  • Extra recess This remarkably simple idea always ranks high with the kiddos.
  • Dance Hold a dance party, and teach the kids some simple moves they can do together.
  • Duct tape Bring in some roles of duct tape and scissors. You’ll be amazed at what the kids can come up with. Just don’t let them tape up the teacher.

Healthy treats

  • Carrot muffins Look around online for a healthy recipe.
  • Carrots with hummus You can also serve veggies with low-fat ranch dressing.
  • Berries with cream. Mmmmmm.
  • Fruit smoothies Find a favorite recipe online that uses fresh or frozen fruit, non-fat yogurt and no ice cream or extra sugar, and bring your blender to the classroom.
  • Fruit dip Mix low-fat vanilla yogurt with some honey, a little cinnamon and nutmeg and serve with whole and sliced fruit and a dish of nuts.
  • Fruit kabobs Sticks of fruit – enough said.
  • Homemade trail mix Mix up baggies of trail mix and tie them up with bright ribbons with a child’s name on a tag, or create a trail mix station so kids can make their own (be sure to ration chocolate, if you include it).
  • Popcorn Easy to make, inexpensive, what’s not to like.

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