As I’m finding out with my own pre-teen, the move from elementary to middle school is an enormous milestone. My graduating fifth grader is going from being one of the big kids on campus to a low man on the totem pole… it’s one of his first steps on the bridge that links childhood and adolescence. Such a momentous occasion surely deserves to be commemorated and celebrated. And what better way to celebrate than by throwing a graduation-themed party?
A graduating fifth grader is old enough to have his own ideas and input in planning a celebration, so this is something you can have fun planning with your child. At this age, he’s still young enough to enjoy fun kids’ activities, so this could be a great time to go all out with that. Consider a piñata shaped like a graduation cap, or plan a graduation themed treasure hunt. By the time he hits middle school graduation, he and his friends will be too “cool” for party games, so make this one count!
Some other ideas to think about:
- Invitations. One idea is to print the invitations on white paper, roll them up, and tie them with ribbon, so they look like mini-diplomas. Your child will ave fun presenting them to the invitees.
- Decorations. A great idea here is to decorate using school colors and mascots; you can either use those of the elementary school as a way of saying good-bye or use the colors and mascot from the middle school he’s moving to, to start generating school spirit early.
- Location. Graduation typically takes place in late May or early June, so if a pool is available and weather permits, a pool party is a great way to celebrate and kick off the summer. Other popular and affordable locations with this age group are skating rinks, bowling alleys, and parks.
- Food. Kids this age aren’t looking for fancy hors d’ouevres, so this is easy. Pizza or burgers and hot dogs should go over nicely. A watermelon basket filled with fruit is a fun and healthy alternative to the traditional bowl of chips and dip, especially in the summer time. And of course, there must be cake. Consider making cupcakes and topping each one with a mini graduation cap or diploma cupcake topper.
- Activities. Plan, but don’t push. It’s a good idea to have some games and activities planned, but kids this age may have their own ideas. If everyone is entertained and having fun playing tag or Marco Polo, just go with it. On the other hand, have the games and piñata handy to bring the life back into the party if things get slow.
There are tons of great party ideas out there; this is just a small start. The most important thing is to recognize and celebrate your graduate’s achievement and the new experiences he’s sure to have. Keeping that in mind is what will make the graduation party a success.
How have you celebrated your big kid’s fifth-grade graduation?