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Reception whole class party- I need your help!

(50 Posts)
MinisterforCheekyFuckery Tue 21-Aug-18 19:54:52

I am new to this malarkey having so far gotten away with a small birthday tea for family at home. But DD, who starts school in September, is turning 5 in December and in a moment of madness I have agreed to have the dreaded whole class party! I am 30 weeks pregnant so blame the hormones confused

I have booked a venue (community hall)
and an entertainer. She does 45 mins of magic and party games, then 30 minute interval for food, then she does another 45 mins of magic, songs and and dancing with the kids. So at least I don't have to worry about prancing about trying to entertain them myself when I'll be a few weeks postpartum!

But aside from that I am utterly clueless. I could really use advice on how to sort the following with as little stress and expense as possible, especially as baby will only be a few weeks old:

Invitations- how far in advance do you give them out? Should I give more notice than usual as it's approaching Christmas (8th of December)? How will I even find out the kids names and track down all their parents, will the school be willing to give me a list of first names? Will the teacher/TA mind handing out invites if we're inviting the whole class?

Food- I know some people do little bags/boxes with sandwiches etc instead of a buffet. Do kids seem happy with this? Does it actually work out any cheaper? Will people expect hot food?

Parents- are they likely to stay or should I expect them to drop and run? Which is preferable and should I specify on the invitation? If they stay are we expected to feed them?

Party bags- is it possible to do them for a whole class without it cositng a fortune? What sort of things would you put in/not put in?

Where are the best value places to buy decorations, balloons, party bags etc? Preferably online!

Anything else I haven't thought of? Any tips, advice, do's and don'ts, or general words of wisdom would be very welcome!

Thank you smile

OP’s posts: |
MyfavcolourisOrange Tue 21-Aug-18 20:08:53

At our school the teacher gives a list of the pupils in the class for us to write out the individual invites (despite us inviting everyone they still like an envelope to be written on) I'd give them out about 3/4 weeks before with an RSVP obviously - just a text I find easy enough.

Food: I've done everything from a cold buffet to a McD's happy meal each (not so healthy but so much easier and the kids loved it!)

There'll be adults there so I'd have a few extra jugs of squash or tea/coffee (that they can help themselves to if the facilities are there) no need to provide food for the parents they'll eat the leftovers smile

Party bags - you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you like. Is there a theme to the party? eBay have lots of bits and bobs or most supermarkets have party bag toys you can shove in, some sweets/chocolate and they'll all be happy as Larry!

Don't stress it's lovely you're holding a party that close to giving birth

SharesinClarks Tue 21-Aug-18 20:12:16

As a reception teacher I was always happy to put invitations into book bags but ask the teacher a couple of weeks into term. Maybe hand out invitations 3/4 weeks in advance with a clear RSVP date!
In terms of party bags the best my boys received was a book & a little packet of sweets. The parent had bought 3/4 packs of Julia Donaldson books & the children at the end of the party chose a book to take home. Far easier than sorting 30 bags full of little plastic things that break within 5 minutes.
I also love the idea of lunch boxes, so much food has gone to waste when I've done whole class parties. You could put sandwiches, a little packet of crisps & raisins.
Hope that's useful.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Tue 21-Aug-18 20:13:49

Thank you smile

I hadn't even thought about a theme! DD, unlike me, is very much a girlie girl (loves unicorns, princesses, mermaids and the like) but there will be plenty boys coming as well as so will have to try to think of something a bit more neutral.

OP’s posts: |
MinisterforCheekyFuckery Tue 21-Aug-18 20:18:06

Shares that's very helpful, thank you smile

That's a good point about specifying an RSVP date, I wouldn't have thought of that. I've seen a lot of MN threads about people not bothering to RSVP. If you don't get responses by the date you've specified would you chase people or just leave it?

OP’s posts: |
anniehm Tue 21-Aug-18 20:20:10

Between 4&6 weeks is fine - straight after half term would work well. Buffet is easier, keep it simple, all cold, they won't care if it's all from the shop. You can get party bags etc now before baby arrives, go to a good sized supermarket - stationery works well (a bit useful) I found little puzzle books one year (25p each of I remember right) bubbles is another safe option, small bag of sweets of course. Don't feel obligated to spend much, it's a token.

MyfavcolourisOrange Tue 21-Aug-18 20:23:05

Princesses & Superheros? That's pretty easy, they'll love it - oooo there are themed invites for this I got earlier in the year that weren't much more expensive than the generic ones, just have a look on Google

I'd ask for RSVP a week before, you only need to know for the food and it'll definitely change by one or two on the day...

Tallula386 Tue 21-Aug-18 20:23:39

Buy a box of books instead of party bags! Party bags are so expensive and usually full of rubbish!

Pissedoffdotcom Tue 21-Aug-18 20:23:57

DD is having a party 2 weeks after term starts in september..nightmare!

So, our school gives out class lists. Specify an RSVP date for sure.

We are doing food boxes as ive seen the phenomenal amount of waste; sandwich, cake, veg sticks, choc fingers & crisps here. Drinks on tables (jugs of juice). Invite will ask each parent to specify a filling as boxes will be named.

Ours is rapunzel themed so plenty of boy action too! But nothing is fitting the theme entertainment wise - bouncy castle, facw painting, tattoos & pass the parcel.

Personally i would do maybe 2 or 3 weeks ahead...give an RSVP date that gives you chance to chase invites. For us if someone doesnt reply there will be no food for them if they turn up. We are doing smoothie cups for sweets & cake bags with rapunzel on, sweets are cheap do them yourself.

Parents here stay. It baffles me as we used to drop & run 😂

Tallula386 Tue 21-Aug-18 20:24:20

And specify no siblings!! Some people are super cheeky and will just bring them along and make them stare at you sadly until you add them in.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Tue 21-Aug-18 20:26:04

Buy a box of books instead of party bags! Party bags are so expensive and usually full of rubbish

I did wonder about this but, as much as I loathe party bags and their associated tat, the kids seem to love them. Wasn't sure if they'd be disappointed.

OP’s posts: |
fuzzyfozzy Tue 21-Aug-18 20:28:33

Put your phone number on the invitation so parents can text you.
Ask for numbers if people are dropping off
Name labels if you won't know names
Keep it short

Tallula386 Tue 21-Aug-18 20:28:56

I'm sure they won't be....there are some really cool books out there.

You could always add in some bubbles or haribo......party bags really add up!

Or you could make your own sweet cones?

Pissedoffdotcom Tue 21-Aug-18 20:29:45

Sweet cones are all the rage here. Saves the plastic crap mounting up and the sweets are handy to keep for the inevitable PTFA fill a jar requests

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Tue 21-Aug-18 20:29:53

And specify no siblings!! Some people are super cheeky and will just bring them along and make them stare at you sadly until you add them in

Cheeky feckers! shock
To be honest I probably wouldn't mind if they asked in advance (I understand it might be difficult for some people to get childcare) but wouldn't be impressed if they just turned up. So how would you word it on the invitations so as not to cause offence?

OP’s posts: |
Pissedoffdotcom Tue 21-Aug-18 20:31:27

OP this is why we are doing named food boxes. Our invites will say each child is getting their own lunch box, can parents say which sandwich filling they want from x y z. If that isn't hint enough i'm stumped 🙈

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Tue 21-Aug-18 20:31:58

Name labels if you won't know names

This is a really good idea. Thank you smile

OP’s posts: |
madvixen Tue 21-Aug-18 20:32:06

@MinisterforCheekyFuckery The Works have some really good book bargains at the moment. There's also a 25% off code available. They also have some fab notebooks and pens if books weren't to your fancy.
Lunchboxes are a great idea but make sure you ask about allergies on the invites if you're planning on feeding people. Just allergies mind otherwise you'll end up with all sorts of weird and wonderful requests.
The works might also be a good place to look for balloons etc
https://www.theworks.co.uk/c/home-and-leisure/party-supplies/?facet=&q=balloons&top=3657

You could even get your DD to help with making decorations. Some plain card, cut into triangles and decorated by her would make lovely bunting

Notreadyforkidstogrowupyet Tue 21-Aug-18 20:32:43

I'd do the food boxes kids love a picnic .don't feel obliged to do party bags if you don't want to kiddies love playing games and dancing your entertainer sounds great fun .instead of party bags you could do sweet bags or give them bags to put their prizes in .

bedtimestories Tue 21-Aug-18 20:36:15

I do books instead of party bags and a mini bag of haribos etc aswell. Sooo much easier than making up 30 party bags!

Tallula386 Tue 21-Aug-18 20:37:50

Just specify 'No Siblings'.

I have 3 and wouldn't be offended at all as I know how expensive parties are and sometimes you pay per head.

And yes, a hint of food ordered per child might also help!

BikeRunSki Tue 21-Aug-18 20:39:07

For a December party, i’d give plenty of notice 6/7 weeks even. Families with older children may well be tied up with dance shows and sports presentations on a weekend so close to Christmas, and will appreciate the notice to sort out logistics.

Pissedoffdotcom Tue 21-Aug-18 20:39:22

A party DD recently went to was a teddy bears picnic (truly fab idea). They got 'teddy food' (haribo sweets in little cardboard cases), a book & some cake to bring home. They loved it

Bollocksitshappenedagain Tue 21-Aug-18 20:41:28

Asda do some good party plates etc. Much cheaper than the themed ones online.

Madasahattersteaparty1749 Tue 21-Aug-18 20:42:13

We started doing party boxes with a choice of roll cheese, ham or jam. We asked that you rsvp with your preference. We had a roll, raisins, crisps and a frube in the box.

Also put a date on usually a few days to a week saying if we don’t hear from you by this date we will presume that you sadly will not be joining dd for her party. This focuses parents response and although we have had a couple respond on the day/day before no unexpected guests. We also do a few spares for unexpected siblings 🙄 less now the dds are older but expecting it again when ds starts parties .

Sweet cones are cheap and easy.

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