A classroom party can be a fun time for you and your students to enjoy one another’s company. It can also seem daunting to plan a party where everyone can have a good time without stressing yourself out.
In recent years, classroom parties have made a move away from the endless food buffet and towards a time when students can have fun and be silly. Personally, I think this is a great move! I would recommend picking a single snack, maybe even two, and a drink then focussing on games instead of more food. For example, I might choose popcorn and cookies along with lemonade or hot chocolate.
When we made the switch from tons of food with a single game to just a snack and multiple games our classroom parties became something that I looked forward to along with my students.
Thinking about games for a classroom party I try to make sure they require as few materials as possible, don’t have a lot of set up, and will include as many students playing at one time as possible. These qualifications lead me to a lot of cooperative learning style game along with minute-to-win-it style games.
As a class, we tried many classroom party games, but today I am bringing you my three favorites.
Classroom Party Game #1: Visual Telephone
This cooperative learning game has always been a favorite for my students during their classroom parties. It is simple to play, requires very little prep, and can be played over and over again.
This game follows the same principle of the Telephone Game or Gossip you probably played as a kid where you start with a message and pass it around the circle before revealing what the message now is by the end and compare it to the original.
With visual telephone, you do the same thing, but instead of passing a message by whispering you pass a visual by drawing it on one another’s backs.
- Gather a bank of seasonal images. These images may be cut out of magazines or images you drew on sticky notes. They should have a basic outline that can be easily copied.
- Split students into teams of 4-5.
- Students line up facing the same direction towards a chalk or dry erase board.
- The student at the back of the line is given the original image and tries their best to draw the image on the back of the person in front of them with their finger or the eraser end of a pencil.
- Students continue to draw the image on the student in front of them until the image reaches the last teammate.
- The last member of each team draws the image, to the best of their ability, on the board.
- Once all teams have completed their drawing on the board it is revealed what each of the original images was and the giggles begin.
Tips for Success with Visual Telephone
Modeling is vital for this activity. Showing students how to slowly and gently draw the image on their teammates back should be practiced. It is also important to emphasize the correct amount of pressure to use when drawing.
Another thing to make sure students understand is that this game is meant to be silly. While you are trying to get your image as close to the original as possible it is funny when it is completely different. Embrace the opportunity to laugh, and don’t ridicule one another for the drawings.
For another cooperative learning game for class parties check out this post.
Classroom Party Game #2: Cotton Ball Count
This minute-to-win-it style game is a long-time favorite of students. It does require a few materials, but they can all be purchased at the dollar store to keep costs down. I have also had families donate the materials.
You will need one container of Vaseline or petroleum jelly, several bags of cotton balls, and paper plates.
- Students should be partnered up.
- Each set of partners needs two paper plates. One plate should be empty and the other has a pile of cotton balls on it.
- One partner dips their nose in the petroleum jelly. This partner will be playing first while the other player is the counter and judge.
- The teacher will be the timer. When they say go, the timer begins and students will have one minute to transfer as many cotton balls from one plate to another using their nose while their partner keeps count.
- After the minute is up we take up a count and applaud the winner.
- We switch roles and repeat. Some groups of students REALLY like this game and want to play multiple rounds which other groups one turn is enough.
Tips for Success with Cotton Ball Count
I think this game is hilarious, and students do too, but to keep things from getting too wild we place a couple of restraints on the game. First, I model the process. This means that students get to see me being silly and struggling with the cotton balls before they do. By modeling enjoying the silliness of it all students get o relax a bit and see it is all for fun. This is also the time I show them to keep their arms behind their back and the funny faces I make trying to get the cotton ball off my nose.
Next, we talk about not “flinging” the cotton ball across the room. I explain that the cotton ball may not make it on the plate every time, which is okay, but what is not okay is sending them sailing across the room.
Classroom Party Game #3: Rock Paper Scissors Championship
This is another no prep, no materials game that you students will love. The simplicity of it is what makes this game so much fun.
- All students stand up, hand up, pair up to find a partner and play a traditional game of rock paper scissors.
- The winner of each partnership finds a new partner to play with while the defeated partners form a circle around those in play to “whisper cheer” on the competitors.
- This process continues with the defeated partners joining the outside cheering circle and the winners continuing with a new partner until you come down to the last set of partners.
- At this time the teacher comes into the circle and in their best announcer voice introduces the final two competitors in the style of a boxing match to pump them up.
- The final pairing plays their match while the cheering circle continues to whisper cheer.
- The champion is celebrated.
Tips for Success with Rock Paper Scissors Championship
I bet you can guess what I am going to say first, I model it. That’s right, we model playing rock paper scissors with one another as well as how to whisper cheer on those still competing.
That’s it really. This one is so simple and you can play multiple rounds in a very short period of time. In fact, we also used this game as a brain break from time to time and would write the current champion’s name on the board in a special spot. They loved it!
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