When my twin boys were in pre-k. I threw a party for the whole class. The teachers were amazed at the many gifts that each child will be taking home and how healthy the snacks were. Even though parent were not allowed to make meals that were prepared from home to bring to school, I was able to find a healthy substitute for the children. I did it all on a limited budget.
This is the method below:
Inform the teacher that you wish to give a party for the little tikes, ask what guidelines must you follow and take notes. Make extra sure you ask about any allergies to foods, to be sure that you do not serve anything that can be harmful to the children. Schools should know this because it is required.
Get a head count of all the children. Jot it down. Lets say it is a total of fifteen children. (Pre-k classes are usually small)
Make extra sure to write the first names and sex of the children. If there are identical names, write down the complete name, to avoid confusion. (ex; jane doe, jane jones) Or better yet, have the teacher make the list for you.
This is necessary as you may want to put names on the wrapped gifts. If you do not wish to do this, then a simple head count of boys and girls should do the trick.
Choose a date
Be sure to plan the party months ahead, to allow time to buy gifts and other party items. I usually plan about three months ahead.
Clear your Spare closet
Make room in your closet to store party items. Get two large plastic storage containers or two large boxes to hold items that you will purchase.(It depends on how much you buy, you may need more or less)
Thirty From The Budget
Each month after you have paid all your bills, dedicate thirty dollars each month towards the party. If you have extra that is good. (That could mean more gifts for the children) But try to stick with the thirty dollar budget. But if you have extra you can put it towards the party in the end.
Month One. Go to the dollar stores and buy your matching paper or plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic spoons, napkins, paper cups (make sure they contain at least fifteen plates or more items each). In some cases you may not need spoons or forks. In this particular case no spoons are needed. And you may need to buy more cups or plastic or paper plates depending on how much is in the package.
You have spent six dollars and some change. Next go to the toy section and find fifteen practical gifts. Lets say, crayons.
(If you can, try to find the ones that have the coloring books included with the crayons. that will be much better, you are getting two items for a dollar) Buy fifteen.
You should have about eight dollars and some change left (or more). Bank it for the party. Put all of the items you have purchased carefully into the container and place in the closet.
Month two. Go to the dollar store and buy coloring books to go with the crayons you bought in month one.
(If you were able to get the crayon and coloring book combination set, then move on to another gift for this month, bubbles, toy banks) Buy fifteen.
Bank the fourteen dollars and change. You should have about twenty two and change totaled banked for the party.
Month three. Again to the Dollar Store buy wrapping paper, tape, bag of tiny bows. You should have around twenty two dollars left. Bank the rest for party. Wrap the gifts and tag each with a child's name, and bow.
Place back in box or container.
The Day Before The Party
Small packets of Raisins, enough for fifteen or more people
Three large bags of Sun Chips, very healthy for the kids,
Two gallons of orange juice. Bag of ice, and sterofoam cooler. Do not open any of the items. You may wish to do a different menu than the one above. Just chose something you know will stay fresh for one day and do not open it until the party.
Day Of The Party
Grab all your containers or boxes put it in your car.
Thirty minutes before party, Order three to four large pizzas to arrive at the school, cheese or with one topping. Less toppings, cheaper the pizza.(You should have a least fifty-three dollars or more bank for the party for the pizzas)
Grab the Orange Juice and raisins from the refrigerator and the Sun Chips just before you walk out of the door.
If you are allowed to prepare the foods yourself, then of course this would be a lot cheaper to do.
I have done this also with a hawaiian luau. I set the date a year away and fix a budget for it. Then I would shop around for bargains. Each guess would have a nice party gift to take home afterwards. People will wonder how did you do it on a low income.
There are more ways to plan a party for children that won't break your wallet.