Hosting an End of the Summer Party
A Back to School Celebration
If your child has the back to school blues, a gathering of friends for one last blast can make the transition easier to cope with. Inviting some of the classmates that he will be seeing again, before school is actually in session, can break the ice for those awkward first days of school.
Growing up I was one of the lucky kids who enjoyed school, but not all of my five siblings did. So, my father, being the wise man he was, offered a solution of transitioning from summer fun to the business of going back to school by creating an ‘End-of-the-summer-party.’ This has become a family tradition that is now three generations old.
The purpose of the celebration is to form a summer memory, as well as offer your child an opportunity to reunite with a buddy before walking the halls of strangers. Having a party where the focus is fun will also offer a quick conversation starter if asked, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”
Explain to your child the purpose of the party and solicit her assistance. The more involved your child is the more she will feel it is her party. Start by organizing the guest list, next create a menu, and end with activities. After setting the time and place you are well on your way to a memorable event.
Invitations and Guest List
The guest list should include classmates that they will be seeing in the fall, as well as nearby neighbors they’ve been hanging out with. Many kids in rural areas don’t have easy access to ‘play dates’ during the summer, so contacting those whom your child has not been involved with over the summer will give him an opportunity to rekindle old friendships.
Invitations are easy to create. With modern technology, an invitation is just a click of the computer away. An email or that special email invitation called: Evite can make the job easier, while helping to track the RSVP status.
Other ways to contact the party guests would be to simply call and discuss the details or, for an additional activity that would give your child something to do, have her design and make her own invitation cards to mail out to friends. Everyone enjoys the surprise of receiving mail and a party invitation can be even more exciting. Be sure to plan well in advance to enable the recipients enough time to mark their calendars for the fun day.
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A party for your child or teen should be filled with fun foods that they enjoy. An added tip is to make it as simple and easy as possible. Back in the sixties, when dad was the master host of the neighborhood party, before the fad of block party even existed, he gave each of the guests a hot dog stick to grill their own dogs and marshmallows in the fire pit. No fuss, no mess.
Other popular picnic fair goes a long way. Have a hot dog/hamburger grill going with adult supervision. Or make it a taco bar theme. Homemade pizza is a third option, but a step back into the fussing-with-the-oven situation. If simplicity is your goal, and pizza is the main menu choice, order out and have it delivered. A fourth possibility is to serve chicken. Younger children love chicken tenders and it isn’t too complicated to serve. Or, if you want to take the teens into a sandwich smorgasbord a giant party submarine sandwich is often a crazy choice that the kids can have fun with.
Set bowls of chips or snack items to go along with the dogs and burgers. Keep a bowl of watermelon slices on ice for a quick grab. And, bring out the cooler to set up juice boxes or sodas and water bottles for an easy ‘serve-yourself’.
When it comes to the end of the meal the sky’s the limit. A cake announcing the event with a catchy title like: Summer’s past, but we had a blast is an option. Other choices would be homemade cookies or brownies, s’mores with chocolate bars and marshmallows on graham crackers, or simply ice cream sundaes. Personally, I like the ice cream sundae idea because the kids can make their own and it speaks of summer.
Fun Party Activities
Obviously, getting together is part of the activity itself. But, depending on your child’s age, most kids don’t sit around chatting for very long. They want to be doing something. If you are fortunate to have a pool the activity speaks for itself. Have the guests bring suits and towels and make sure there is supervision in the pool area itself.
If there is no pool, and it is a hot day, create a ‘shower’ of water fun through the garden hose. By buying an attachment or simply putting the sprinkler on, your young one can have hours of entertainment. My kids were fans of the slip and slides and my grandkids have played in a sprinkler set up where the water shoots through a pole and showers down on them. Squirt gun ‘wars’ are also a watery way to cool down.
Other activities would include lawn games like croquet, jarts, bean bag toss, ball games, or even board games. In addition, you may want to play games of competition like: potato sack races, water balloon or egg toss, and red light, green light. These are old games that many children no longer play because they are considered ‘old fashioned’. So, if you know your child acts too sophisticated for this type of activity, can it and move onto something that may engage his attention.
One of the ways that you may end your party is through a treasure hunt. Have a hidden prize somewhere in your yard with a ‘map’ and clues. If this is too complicated to devise on short notice hang a colorful piñata from a tree and have the kids try their luck with breaking open the candy filled piñata.
Remember: whatever way you go with the menu and activities the sole purpose is to offer one last fun filled event shared with your child’s friends as a transition from summer to school. Enjoy the celebration!