Whether your little one is graduating from kindergarten or college, it's a time filled with memories, pride and possibly a few tears. Beyond the standard activities -- eating delicious food, reminiscing about the school year and perhaps a little dancing -- make a graduation party special with activities just right for the age group of the guests.
Elementary and Middle School Graduations
While graduations used to be reserved for high school or college, now it's likely your child will graduate from kindergarten, elementary or middle school as well. Some schools call these "move-up," "step-up" or "promotion" days. If you throw a little shindig for the youngsters, make it a celebration of what the child learned in the most recent grade completed. Using a recording device, ask each guest -- including the guest of honor -- the most memorable thing he learned, whether it's a special poem, a fact about the U.S. or details about their favorite animal. The host can edit these sound bites and share them with the party guests' parents for a special memory. For a fun game, create a school-themed scavenger hunt in your backyard or a local park. Hide school-related items, such as T-shirts, pencils, trophies or a stuffed mascot, and split up the party guests into teams to search for them.
High School Graduations
Your child is no longer a child; he's off to attend college or get started on a career after high school graduation. At a high school graduation party, ask each guest to sign a copy of Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go," and gift it to the proud graduate at the end of the event. If your student is going to college, ask each party attendant to bring one item that they want him to take to college, whether functional or sentimental. It could be as small as a special photograph to hang on his dorm room bulletin board, as expensive as a special watch to keep track of study time or as fun as a board game to play with new friends. For another fun game, hang up a photo of a mascot for colleges that your grad's friends are attending and take turns guessing which mascot belongs to which school.
It's time for your child to venture out into the real world, so ask the guests at a college graduation to offer a piece of advice or an inspirational message about making it on your own in your first solo apartment or in the office. Attach each message to a unique key that you find at a thrift shop and pile them in a jar. At the end of the party, give your college grad his "keys to success." At a college graduation, your student is now probably old enough to drink legally, so be sure to purchase a bottle of Champagne and offer up a toast.
If you have multiple children, you might be celebrating a high school graduation at the same time as a middle school promotion or college commencement. Celebrate your children's achievements together with a large, festive party. Collect baby or childhood photos of your children, pictures of you and your spouse, and photos of your children's friends; hang all of them for the "My, How You've Grown" party game. Have each guest try to guess who is who, using styles of the year to distinguish older from younger guests. You can also encourage the party guests to share their goals and memories by handing out thin strips of paper and pens. Ask them to write down a favorite memory of the past or goal of the future. To make it into a game, pull each piece of paper out of a bowl and have the guests guess to whom it belongs.