This school year is going to look unlike any we’ve ever experienced. With a mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid learning plans in place, teachers are scrambling to try and find new and creative ways to keep their students engaged and connected with their classmates. This can be particularly challenging around the holidays as traditional classroom party ideas are no longer safe or feasible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to celebrate with your students! From Halloween, to Christmas, to birthday parties, to graduation, to end of year celebrations and more, these virtual classroom party ideas will inspire you to think outside the box and celebrate with your students!
9 Easy and Fun Virtual Classroom Party Ideas
1. HOST A DRESS-UP PARTY
Finding ways to break the monotony of staring at each other on Zoom calls each day is a great way to keep your students engaged and excited, and throwing a costume party is the perfect way to achieve this! Halloween obviously provides a good excuse to throw a costume party, but you can organize dress-up days for other occasions as well. Ask your students to wear certain colors to reflect specific holidays, encourage them to create their own costumes around specific lesson plans or books you may be studying, and host a monthly group birthday call where everyone wears their Sunday best! To make this extra fun, you can award prizes for the most colorful, creative, and over-the-top costumes, and if it’s feasible, you can get your class together for a socially distanced parade.
2. GET EVERYONE TO DECORATE THEIR SPACE
Another way to make online celebrations more exciting is to encourage everyone to decorate the space that appears behind them on Zoom calls. This is a great way to get your students to put their creative hats on, and you can once again award prizes for specific categories to encourage everyone to go all out!
3. ORGANIZE A VIRTUAL SCAVENGER HUNT
If you’re looking for virtual classroom party ideas that are a bit more engaging and interactive, one of the easiest things you can do is create a scavenger hunt. If your students’ parents are game, you can ask them to hide specific items around their respective homes, or you can keep it simple and write out a list of generic items for kids to find during your class call. Send the list ahead of time (or share it via the screen sharing option on Zoom) and challenge your students to see who can find all of the items the fastest!
4. ENJOY A TREAT TOGETHER!
While you may not be able to enjoy cupcakes together as a class to celebrate a holiday or special event, you can still ask everyone to bring their favorite treat to enjoy on your celebratory Zoom call! My only advice is to keep it broad and simple since not everyone will have the means to bake a homemade treat. Whether your students bring freshly baked cupcakes, a bowl of ice cream, store-bought cookies, or a package of gummies to your call, all that matters is that they feel as though they are part of a bigger celebration with their peers.
5. SET-UP A SING-A-LONG
If you’re looking for virtual classroom party ideas to get everyone in the holiday spirit, why not organize a sing-a-long with holiday-themed songs? You can take the lead with younger kids, and if you teach tweens or teens, they can play their favorite tunes and sing together. Music can be such a powerful tool in boosting everyone’s spirits, and a great way to spend time together with friends.
6. WATCH A MOVIE
Another one of my favorite virtual classroom party ideas is to organize a pretend sleepover! There are tons of age-appropriate movies for every holiday, and you can make this extra fun by asking your students to wear their pyjamas and bring their favorite movie treat to enjoy. Allow them to lounge on their couch or bed and enjoy a break from teaching while you all enjoy an upbeat flick to mark whatever holiday you’re celebrating!
7. ORGANIZE A FEW GAMES TO PLAY
If you’re looking for virtual classroom party ideas, there are TONS of games you can play on Zoom. Here are some ideas for both younger and older kids to inspire you!
- Simon Says. Kids love this game, and it’s a great way to help them shed excess energy when they are cooped up inside. Have each child stand up in an area where they have room to move around, and then lead them through different gross motor movements: ‘Simon says stand on one leg’, ‘Simon says do 3 jumping jacks’, ‘Simon says hop like a bunny’, etc. At some point during the game, provide a command without saying ‘Simon says’ first, and whomever completes the movement is out. If you have multiple students on the Zoom call, continue playing until you have a winner, and then appoint that person to become ‘Simon’ and play again!
- Musical Statues. If you’re looking for easy (and mess-free) virtual classroom party ideas that require no setup, musical statues is aways a good option. Pump some holiday-themed tunes, let your students dance off some energy, and periodically stop the music and yell ‘FREEZE!’ and see who follows directions. This is a great way for everyone to blow off some steam – teachers and parents included!!!
- Charades. Charades is always a great way to get kids laughing, and it’s an easy option if you’re looking for last minute virtual classroom party ideas. Write down a bunch of holiday-themed prompts and send them to your students ahead of time so they have time to practice (or message them privately on Zoom), and enjoy a little fun!
- 20 Questions. To play 20 Questions, one player thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the rest of the players ask 20 yes or no questions and attempt to figure out what it is. If a player guesses correctly after asking 20 questions, they earn a point and become ‘it’! If no one guesses, no one earns a point and someone else is randomly chosen to be ‘it’. It’s easy to play via Zoom and works for many different age groups!
- Pictionary. If you’re looking for virtual classroom party ideas for kids who are a bit older, this is a great one to consider. Send them their clues ahead of time (or DM/text them in real time) and then set a timer for each student to sketch out their clue before showing it to the rest of the class to see if they can guess what they drew.
- Zoom In. I only just learned about this virtual game, and it’s super fun and can easily be customized for any holiday or celebration. Find a few holiday-themed photos (i.e. spider for Halloween, pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, Santa for Christmas, etc.) and zoom in on a certain portion of each photo and take a screen shot. The idea is to share the zoomed-in photos via screen sharing during your virtual classroom party and see if anyone can guess what it is. You can shake this up a bit by challenging everyone to find and share a holiday-themed zoomed-in photo, and you can see which student gets the most correct answers!
- BINGO. Thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest, there are TONS of free printable BINGO templates you can download, and you can make it extra fun by using holiday-themed candy as markers each time a number is called. You can either send these to everyone ahead of time so they can print them off, or you can deliver a copy along with a little treat bag to each of your students so they have something to munch on during your virtual classroom party!
8. HOST A TALENT SHOW
Many schools host a winter concert and another performance towards the end of the school year, which can be challenging to organize remotely. If you’re looking for virtual classroom party ideas to replicate the excitement these events bring, consider organizing a talent show where kids can share their special talent with their classmates. Give them a few weeks of prep time so they can prepare a song, dance, or skit, and invite parents to dial in so they can watch their kids shine!
9. ORGANIZE AN AWARDS CEREMONY
My final idea for those who are looking for virtual classroom party ideas to mark the end of a semester and/or school year is to host an awards ceremony. Keeping kids motivated and engaged online can be challenging, and recognizing their achievements – no matter how small they may be – will go a long way. You can make this as simple or elaborate as you wish, and might consider inviting parents to your ceremony so that your students get a little more recognition for their hard work and achievements. Ask everyone to dress up to make it even more special!
From Halloween, to Christmas, to birthday parties, to graduation, to end of year class parties and more, there are lots of opportunities to celebrate as a class during the school year. If you’re looking for fun ideas to make holidays and celebrations special for your students while teaching them online, I hope this collection of virtual classroom party ideas inspired you!
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