Much as we hate to say it, summer is winding down. Back to School sales have started and before long, the Halloween decorations will be in the store. While most kids don't look forward to this time of year as much as their parents do, there's no reason not to make it as fun as possible. The best way to do that? A party of course!A back to school party can be a great way for kids to reconnect with friends they may not have seen much of over the summer, and for parents to relax and solidify plans for carpools! Consider adding a "purpose" to the party by collecting donations of either money or supplies for a local organization that buys back to school supplies for kids in need, or one that sends books to kids who need them.

For decorations consider these sweet pencil bouquets from Budget Savvy Bride (pictured above), or these more extravagant ones from Ameroonie Designs. The easiest centerpiece for this theme though is a nice bowl of apples! Small chalkboards (available at Michael's or other craft stores) or dry erase boards (available at office supply stores) can be used as decorations, name cards, or even party favors.

For food, Picky Palate has a great recipe for a gourmet version of the lunchroom staple, Mac & Cheese. Although you could also consider serving sandwiches in decorated brown paper bags. Decorating the bags can be part of the party activities and the bags will l look great lined up on a table! For entertainment, it's outdoor activities all the way so that kids can get their last bursts of summer energy out! Wading pools, slip n' slides, and bouncy castles are all great fits for this kind of party. If rain forces the party indoors, you can hold a spelling bee or trivia contest to get those brains working again!

Have you had a back to school party before? What was your party like? Tell us in the comments.