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HOLIDAY Countdown: Eleventh Hour Classroom Party Ideas

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 10:46 am in Crafts, Cuisine.

DIY Chef's Hat (Courtesy Family Fun Magazine)Being a classroom mom (or dad) is tough when the winter holiday party rolls around. Christmas parties are taboo in public schools, and there’s only so much you can do with Frosty the Snowman. So may we recommend a classroom cookie workshop instead? You’ll have a toque making station, where kids can make their own chef’s hats (check out that photo!) and decorate aprons. Then, a couple of cookie decorating stations, laden with gooey frosting and decorating supplies – ask parents to bake (or buy) plain, undecorated sugar cookies and contribute decorating supplies. And finally, a spot where kids can wrap up their creations to take home. Let’s start with those awesome hats, shall we?

We’ve found directions for these in party books, as well as on the Family Fun web site, but we’ve done them so many times, here’s our adaptation.
Pint-Sized Chef Hats
White posterboard
White tissue paper (2 sheets per child)
Double sticky tape
Scissors and stapler

1. Cut the posterboard into long strips, about 2″ high. Wrap one around your child’s head, overlapping the ends. Remove the loop and staple the ends so that the pointy staple ends are on the outside.

2. Imagine that the inside of the posterboard loop is a clock. Place small pieces of doublestick tape at midnight, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Take a sheet of tissue paper, grab the short edge and stick it on at midnight and 6. Do the same with the second sheet, but at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions.

3. Fluff the paper upward to form the poofy hat top. Use more tape to attach the tissue paper edges to the loop, but don’t go hog wild with the tape – exposed double sticky tape will stick to hair.

Notes: For a fuller hat, Family Fun suggests using three sheets of tissue paper. That certainly works, but you’ll need to buy considerably more tissue paper. Ignore their paperclip suggestion, if this is for a classroom party! When the clips fall off – as they inevitably will – the hats fall apart and children cry.

Aprons, Two Ways
1. Cut apron shapes out of white butcher paper or even flattened grocery bags. Staple on ribbon apron ties and a neck loop. Use regular markers and stickers to decorate.

2. Or, buy inexpensive, large white cotton dinner napkins – look for them on sale at Pottery Barn, where sets of six were going for $19 this week, or Cost Plus, where they were six for $10. This size works beautifully for toddler, kindergarten and first grade bakers. You’ll need some soft, thick twine too. It takes longer to describe this than to actually do it: Lay a napkin flat, right side down. Fold the top corners down a few inches so it resembles a flat-topped house or – ahem – an apron. Iron it so the “roof eaves” crease nicely. Run the twine under the eaves so it forms a nice adjustable neck loop and apron ties. Pin the twine roughly in place, then sew a 3/4-inch channel that parallels the slope of the eaves, leaving enough space so the twine can run smoothly and the child can adjust the fit. Tie fat knots into the ends. We’ve silk screened these for holiday gifts and used all sorts of fancy fabric paints, but if you have kids decorating them on the spot, stick to fabric markers and provide smocks so they don’t “decorate” their own clothes.

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