Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Class Mom, Esquire (Classroom Party Planning)

When I first started law school, one of my biggest concerns was that I couldn’t allow the rigors of my courses (plus all the work of internships, externships, club leadership, and networking!) deprive my kids of their mom. Fortunately, I have a great husband who is very involved in the day-to-day work of child raising, but I didn’t want to become a sidelines mom.

One thing that I was determined to continue was being an active part of my kid’s school. To that end, I’ve always been one of the first parents contacted to plan holiday classroom parties. I’m going to brag a little, and tell you that my parties, especially the Fall Halloween parties, are awesome.

When planning a classroom Halloween party, I believe in choosing a theme that’s not got a ghosts and goblins feel to it, because lots of kids come from families that don’t permit that stuff. Instead, we’ve done a Pirate Plunder party, a Rockstar Gala, and most recently, a Mad Scientist party.

For the Mad Scientist party, instead of playing games and doing crafts (2 of the features of the “guidebook” given by our school to help plan), we did wacky experiments. Here’s my list of Experiments, in case you’re thinking of planning one like ours!

1, Make Oobleck! Simply by mixing cornstarch and water, kids can create a messy sticky concoction that is a solid when poked, yet a liquid when held. If you hit up a restaurant supply store for “to go ramekins” as a donation, you can send each kiddo home with some Oobleck of their own!*

2, Design Lavalamps. We saved empty water bottles for a few weeks so each child would have their own. On the day of the party, each child filled their bottle with water, 1 cup vegetable oil, a couple drops of food coloring, and 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets. The fizzing of the tablets in the water causes the heavier oil to move and glob much like a lavalamp, and the coloring sticks to the oil, rather than mixing with the water.

3, The legendary Mentos Fountain! Use a 2 liter of Diet Coke, a roll of mint flavored mentos, and let ‘er rip! We explored whether we got a better fountain if we used a loose paper funnel to get the candy in the bottle faster, if we could get a second eruption by capping and shaking the bottle, and what the soda tasted like afterwards. This is an experiment to take them outdoors for!

4, The magic of Tribolumenescence. For this, you’ll need to bring a couple heavy blankets to create some darkness. Allow 3 kids at a time to cover up with the blanket. When it’s their turn, the child should put a piece of Wint-O-Green Lifesaver into his or her mouth and bit down with strength. If they perform the bite without getting a whole lot of spit on the candy first, the friction of their teeth against the candy will emit a burst of green light. A spark from candy!

5, Pop-Rock exploration. We gave each kiddo a packet of pop rocks to explore the sounds, texture, and sensation. Did they pop louder with an open mouth, or tight-lips? What happens if you chew them? Put them under your tongue? Etc.

A lot of the experiments could be done using ingredients bought in bulk at Sam’s Club, and some you can ask for as donations from restaurants or restaurant supply companies. Our final activity was to decorate sugar cookies in the shape of beakers, as well as to send them home with treat bags filled with wacky candy donated by parents who couldn’t attend to help. In all, a successful party that had kids from all the other classes talking, and parents pleased that all the kids could participate!

Now I just have to come up with a theme for this year to top last year! This post is linked up to the Back to School Blog Tour! For more information, or to join in, check out Living My Moment or The Work at Home Woman.

* To go ramekins are those little plastic cups with a lid that you will get a serving of sauce in when you're getting a doggie bag at a restaurant. IE, a to go side of ranch dressing. Hope that clarifies!


  1. Sounds like fun!! Following you from this & that! Love to have you follow back-

  2. Some great ideas you have here. Maybe I will use a few for our Halloween party this year at home. 1 question though - what is “to goramekins”?

  3. Thanks for the ideas, I'm here from this for that.

  4. Thanks for being part of the Back-to-School Blog Tour!

    What great ideas! I love Halloween, but I'm not so crafty, so these wacky experiments will be great for my daughter and I to try out!

  5. Stopping over from the Back to School Blog Tour! I love your Halloween party ideas. Hope you will stop by my blog. I am hosting a giveaway for the blog tour. http://www.littleladybugdesignsblog.com