Celebrations are a fun way to build relationships in early learning and at school, and eating together is an important part of these special times. Here’s how you can plan a party featuring a variety of food that everyone can enjoy.
Plan the food
Celebrations offer a chance to create excitement with an assortment of foods, and they’re an opportunity to show that everyone can enjoy all foods without judgement. Making space for a variety of food recognizes that food is more than nutrients.
Many traditional celebratory foods may not be visible on the Canada's Food Guide Plate yet play a valuable role in connecting people and cultures. Try to create a plan that includes both celebratory foods and foods featured in Canada's Food Guide, as highlighted on this class celebration food sign-up sheet (English version, French version).
Create a schedule
Starting the celebration in the afternoon means children will have eaten lunch, making it easier for them to enjoy all the activities without food being the focus.
Plan a specific time for the group to sit and eat. Eating without the distraction of other activities helps everyone give their attention to the eating experience and enjoy being with others.
Ask the group to suggest foods and activities they would like to have at the celebration. Choose a theme, and decide whether you will invite any guests, such as caregivers or other members of your school or early learning community.
If you ask for help with providing food, make sure to consider cost, accessibility, food safety, and school or early learning policies. Keep requests simple for caregivers (e.g., bananas or popcorn). More complex items can be broken down into their ingredients. For example, if your beach party features tropical fruit and yogurt parfaits, ask three people to bring one thing each – a tub of yogurt, a can of pineapple, or a box of cereal – and assemble the recipe as a party activity.
Not all caregivers may be in a position to provide food, and it may be most appropriate for the school, child care centre, or day home to provide the food. Tailor plans to your situation.
Communicate with people providing food to ensure that allergies or food restrictions in the group are accommodated so everyone can participate in the fun.
Include movement, crafts, or food activities
Just like food, movement and special activities are a big part of celebrations. Consider some of the following:
Start with a dance party or themed scavenger hunt.
Make decorations or other simple seasonal crafts to let your learners’ creativity shine!
Include a food activity – eating everyday foods in new ways can add excitement to the event. For example, have children make their own fruit and cheese kebabs or snack mix (e.g., dry cereal, sunflower seeds, raisins). Our friends at Alberta Milk offer many inspiring seasonal ideas.
These tips can help make food a fun part of celebrations, but the most important parts are encouraging everyone to enjoy the event and make memories with their peers, and nurturing a positive relationship with food.
Download our ready-to-use sign-up sheet to get the party started. For more activity ideas, sign up for our newsletter.