Ways to involve your children in planning and preparing for a special Mother’s Day celebration!
Hosting a Mother’s Day party in the preschool classroom can take quite a bit of advanced preparation. Selecting a gift for the children to make, teaching the children a few songs to sing, and deciding on what you want to do during the special day all takes time. Now that we have hosted our Mother’s Day party, I thought I would share with you some of the steps we took to get ready for the big day and a little about what we did on the big day.
Before the day of the event…
Each of the following activities are processes we worked on before the day of the event. We started our preparations about three weeks before our scheduled Mother’s Day party.
Choosing a Theme
Although Mother’s Day is the event, I find it easier to choose some sort of theme for the party itself. This helps me to decide what the children will make along the way for the event and it helps me to tie in our daily activities into the preparation for the event. This year, our theme was based on the book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.
Choosing a Gift
Choosing a gift is always a hard decision to make. I want the gift to be something that the moms can have as a keepsake but still be made by the kids. Often times, what I find to be really cute would require me to do most of the making so I tend to rethink my decision plenty of times well before Mother’s Day arrives. This year, the children ended up painting handprint butterflies on canvas.
Making the Gift
Often times, making the gift takes several days so we do have to start early so that we know each child will have plenty of time to make their gift. (In the photo below, we still needed to retrace the handprints with permanent markers so this was why we started early so we could put the finishing touches on later). Once the gifts are completed, we save them in a safe place until the big day arrives.
Making the Gift Wrap
We always make our own gift wrap paper. In our class, we painted as a group on large sheets of butcher paper then later, I cut the paper into squares to fit the gifts. Again, this is a step that needs to be started early too so that you will have it all ready to go in advance. This year, the children painted with sponge shaped flowers on the butcher paper for our gift wrap.
Making Wall Decorations
A few weeks prior to our Mother’s Day event, the children made a few pieces of artwork that we saved to display on our walls and bulletin boards on the day of the Mother’s Day event including caterpillar artwork and drawings of our mothers.
Preparing Table Decorations
The earlier you start, the more you can have the children participate in making table decorations. I want at least one thing on the table that the children have made themselves. This year we made caterpillar name cards to go with our theme and to give each child and mom a special place to sit together during the event.
Practicing a Simple Presentation
We selected four simple songs to present at our Mother’s Day event and we also chose to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to our mom’s. The children participated in the reading of the book through simple hand gestures and by saying out loud, “But he was still hungry” as we came to this part on each page of the book.
Arranging the Classroom
Because we have a fairly small classroom, I had to do some rearranging the night before our special event. I moved the shelves up against the wall and brought in a few extra tables and chairs. I also made sure our caterpillar pictures and mom drawings were hanging on the wall which made our room look very springy and colorful.
The day of the event…
Each of these activities took place on the day of the event. We started first thing in the morning working together to get everything ready for our moms.
I always want the children to participate in either making or arranging the food for the special event. This year, my preschoolers arranged muffins on a tray and made caterpillars from apples on a tray.
For drinks, my preschoolers mixed up pitchers of lemonade.
Setting the Tables
On the day of the event, the children set their own tables. They spread out the table cloths, set out their plates, cups, and napkins, and they added their name cards we had made earlier.
Making Flower Arrangements
The children also made a simple flower arrangement to go at the center of each table.
Wrapping the Gifts
The children also wrapped the gifts they made for their moms using the wrapping paper we had made a few days earlier.
During the event…
The children had much to do during the event as well. This is the order of our events during the special day…
The Mothers Arrive
When the moms arrived, the children were not in the classroom so I greeted each mom and invited them to find their names on the tables. The moms sat and visited for a few minutes while waiting for the children to arrive in the classroom.
Children Sing and Tell the Story
The children arrived and went to stand on an “X” that I had taped to the floor. Then the children sang for their moms and told our caterpillar story.
Serving the Food and Drinks
After singing for the moms, the children had the job of serving their moms lemonade and offering their mom apples and muffins.
Presenting their Gifts
After all the moms and kids ate and visited for a little while, the children gave their gifts and pictures to their moms so moms could go ahead and open them.
Time to Visit and Dance
Towards the end of our special event, the moms sat and visited with each other and the children went up to the front of the classroom to dance to some of their favorite songs I had playing on the CD. This wasn’t actually a planned part of our event, but it gave the children something to do as we wrapped up our morning.
After the Special Event…
Once everyone has gone home, then I have to begin the process of putting my classroom back together to prepare for the next time we are in school. This is one reason that I plan an event at the end of a week so I have the weekend to get the classroom set up and ready for another week of preschool. I actually enjoy this part because it gives me a chance to rearrange my classroom and give it a fresh new look to finish off our school year.