This post contains affiliate links and was sponsored by Smart & Final and Big Dot of Happiness.
I’m excited to share with you all the details from our Circus Themed Teacher Appreciation Week at my son’s elementary school this year. I am part of the Parent Teacher Group and for the last few years I have volunteered to be in charge of Teacher Appreciation Week. I have been SHOCKED at how popular my Travel Themed and Camping Themed posts have been, so give the people more of what they want I guess, so here it is!
This year the theme was “This place would be a ‘Circus’ without you!” We were lucky enough to have two very generous sponsors this year that helped us bring everything together. The yummy amazing food was from our partner Smart & Final and the adorable decorations were from Big Dot of Happiness, thank you both SO much for helping us celebrate teachers!
Each day we had a little something planned for our teachers, so let me break it down for you!
Monday: Circus Concession Stand
We wanted to start the week off with a bang so Monday was Circus Concession Stand day. We went in first thing in the morning to transform the teacher staff room. The decorations we set up on Monday we left up all week and just made slight changes day to day. If you want to get the jist of how the whole room looked check out this Instagram Reel. Every year I make a sign to hang up to pull the theme together for the week, here is the sign for this year:
I just used some red dollar store table cloths to create the curtain look and the fun garland from Big Dot of Happiness. And some streamers to the top and you’re good to go (red & yellow balloons would be a fun touch as well). Of course I made some free printable 8X10 prints as well that go along with the theme and are available at the end of the post.
For the concession food we shopped around Smart & Final and found lots of perfect yummy treats including: cotton candy, twizzlers, peanut butter pretzels, peanut butter m&ms, circus cookies, popcorn & peanuts. I also made some cupcakes and ordered some fortune cookies on Amazon. I seriously love Smart & Final when I am shopping for parties and I am SO glad we have one in our little town!
We put together little boxes that the teachers could quickly grab and run (if they needed to) that had a few different items in them. We mixed and matched the cotton candy, skinny pop, circus cookies and fortune cookies. Then we clipped the cute circus confetti from Big Dot of Happiness to the front.
I also made a bazillion cupcakes (well it felt like a bazillion) for a sweet treat. I wasn’t sure if the teachers were going to go for homemade cupcakes, but they were all gone! How adorable are the cupcake liners and toppers from Big Dot of Happiness?
We filled these adorable “step right up” boxes with peanuts, peanut butter pretzels and peanut m&ms. Those went REALLY fast. I set them up on that fun circus tent stand from Amazon and some boxes I reused from our Drive in Movie party.
A few finishing touches included the red and white table skirt and the raffle tickets I put around for decoration. And some more Circus Garland from Big Dot. The best tip I can give you when you’re walking into a space that you aren’t quite sure about is to bring lots of options for height variations. I brought boxes and crates, cupcake stands, food trays and we even used a cardboard box in the corner that we covered with a plastic table cloth to elevate the “concession” sign.
We also wanted to do little carnival games with the teachers throughout the week to make it a bit fun for them! We had pretty good prizes for the winners too. Our first game that we set up on Monday was pin the nose on the clown.
I got the clown poster at the dollar store (I think, I just had it in my party supply box) and I cut a bunch of red circles with my cricut and put them in a bucket next to the clown with some instructions. When we came back the next day we saw who was closest and delivered their prize to their classroom. I hope the teachers had fun with it!
We got the super cute carnival thank you notes from Big Dot of Happiness to deliver all of our prizes for the week. I think if the teachers had realized how good the prizes were we would have had more noses on that clown!
Wednesday: Salad Bar Luncheon
I’m skipping over Tuesday because we delegated it (and Thursday) to the families this year. We sent home fliers asking the families to participate in Teacher Appreciation Week by doing Teacher Tuesday: dress like your teacher. And Thankful Thursday: find a way to thank your teacher. It was a good thing we did that because it took pretty much all of Tuesday to prep for the Salad Bar on Wednesday!
We replicated our salad bar from last year (because it was such a huge hit, and because we knew how to do it). The teachers seemed to love all the individually packaged toppings and options from last year so we did pretty much the same thing.
We hit up Smart & Final for our salad bar fixings! They have such great variety and options, especially when shopping in bulk. We filled takeout containers with lettuce & spinach and then filled these 5 1/2 oz souffle containers with various toppings. If you’re wondering about quantity, this is what we bought for 100 people:
- 8 lbs carrots
- 16 lbs grape tomatoes
- 14 cucumbers
- 4-4 lb mushrooms
- 30 lbs lettuce + 10 bags spinach
- 10 bags croutons
- 5 bags cheese wisps
- 10 cans corn
- 10 cans beans
- 12 bags salad toppings (like pecans, walnuts, seeds etc)
- 80-100 Costco chicken packets (pre cooked, pre packaged grilled chicken)
We ended up with a bit of leftovers of all of this as well, so you could probably scale back some of the quantities. As you can see we kept most of the decorations up and the same and just cleared out all of the concession trash and things that were left from Monday (not much was left!).
For Wednesday’s game we got a styrofoam cone and poked 200 dum dums into it. I put green tape around 2 of them. Each person got to pick 2 dum dums and if they got one with green tape they were the winner.
Friday: Ice Cream Cart
On Friday two of us actually dressed up like clowns and hauled a cooler full of ice cream around to every classroom. Let me tell you, by the end of it we were WIPED out. We came in the classroom blasting “greatest showman” sound track and had hula hoops that I had covered with gold that we threw back and forth and and tried to dance around making huge fools of ourselves. We had two games for the teachers to play. Some of the teachers got really into it with their class and everyone was up and dancing and around with us, it was fun to see.
First we had them do a carnival scratch off game. If they lost we had the whole class say, “ah bummer” and if they won we had the whole class cheer and we gave them their prize envelope.
Next we had them play our ice cream plinko. I ordered this plinko board from amazon and customized it for our game. I taped over the numbers at the bottom with pictures of the different ice cream treats we had. Then they got which one the disk landed on.
Here are some of the items we used for to bring our circus theme together:
- Carnival boxes
- Circus Confetti
- Circus cupcake kit
- Circus garland
- Circus tent food stand
- Step Right Up treat boxes
- Fortune cookies
- Table skirt
- Raffle tickets
- Carnival Thank You Notes
- Styrofoam cone
- Carnival Scratch off game
- Plinko board
I’ve got a bunch of free printables to help you get this done! The google drive link is at the bottom. You can also check my other circus party post for more circus printables.
I hope this makes your life easier! And if you are looking for more Teacher Appreciation inspiration check out some of these posts: