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The morning after Christmas, my four-year old woke up at 8:00 a.m., bleary-eyed and intoxicated from an overdose of presents, holiday cookies and candy canes. “I’m sad,” he said, sighing heavily. “Christmas is over.” But just a moment later, his eyes lit up with excitement. “But soon it will be Valentine’s Day!”
Until I had kids, Valentine’s Day was my least favorite holiday. I thought it was too commercialized, and although I appreciated the opportunity to gorge on chocolate as much as the next person, I thought it was kind of silly to dedicate a day to the expression of love.
But then I had my kids, and even the silliest traditions became fun. Helping them sign their names on their valentines for school reminded me of the simple joy of receiving these sentimental greetings from friends. And there is nothing better than having a really good excuse to watch “A Charlie Brown Valentine” for the millionth time.
My daughter is in second grade this year and I am a room parent, so Valentine’s Day will be extra special this year, because I have to spread the love among 20 eight-year-olds during the annual Valentine’s Day party. Thanks to Pinterest and all of the crafty mommy blogs, it’s actually pretty easy. The Internet is an invaluable source of ideas for classroom parties, and I’ve compiled the best of the best, tried-and-true ideas for the Hallmark holiday we all know and love.
Creative Valentine Party Ideas
1) Valentine Heart Leis – These cute leis are fun to wear and even more fun to make. Cut hearts out of card stock (this can be done for the kids ahead of time), punch holes at the center fold, and lace them using pink or red yarn. Put 2-inch pieces of drinking straws between each heart to give the lei shape.
2) Thumbprint Heart Bookmarks – This cute, unique craft is a perfect Valentine’s Day keepsake or gift for mom or dad. Cut out cardstock in the shape of bookmarks, and have the kids press their thumbs into red or pink ink pads. Next, ask them to press their thumbs down on the white card stock, at a slight angle to form one half of the heart. Overlap the first thumbprint with a second thumbprint to form the heart. Attach ribbon to the top of the bookmark.
4) Pink Lemonade Scented Love Playdough – Kids will LOVE this craft. For classroom parties, make the playdough ahead of time, and seal individual portions in baggies. During the party, have the kids knead the dough and add glitter or small heart-shaped beads to make it extra lovely.
1) Valentine’s Day I Spy Game – Kinds of all ages love search-and-find games. Download these adorable I Spy game cards from Live Laugh Rowe, and ask the kids to count how many donuts, conversation hearts, birds, cupcakes and strawberries they can find. To make the game even sweeter, you can give away mini-cupcakes or donut holes as a prize.
2) Find Your Heart Mate – This game is perfect for kids in second grade or older. Pass out half of an equation to each child and let them walk around the room to find their mate. Once they have found the correct match, they should sit back down. To make the game easier for younger children, you could make each side of the heart into a puzzle shape, so the kids simply need to fit the shapes together.
3) Heart Healthy Exercise Game – After you get the kids pumped up on sugar, you’ll need a way to burn off the energy. On a large poster board, draw or paste images of a variety of heart-healthy activities, such as running in place, doing sit-ups, or jumping jacks. Make a red felt bean bag and write numbers (1-10) on index cards. Have the kids take turns tossing the bean bag on the poster board and drawing cards to see which activity (and the frequency) that they have to do.
4) Valentine’s Day Heart Stack – This game works best for small groups in stations. Put a bunch of large conversation hearts in the middle of the table, where every child can easily reach them. Give the kids one minute to stack the conversation hearts as high as they can without tipping them over. If the stack tips, the kids need to start over. The child with the highest stack at the end of the minute receives a point. Play over and over again for the allotted time at the station; the child with the highest number of points wins.
Party tip: I’ve found that rotating stations work really well for younger children. Depending on how large your child’s class is, set up 4-5 stations of 4-5 children each. At each station, plan a different craft, activity, game or snack. If one station is the “snack station,” plan an “interactive snack,” such as decorating cookies. Rotate stations every 10-15 minutes, and have one parent helper in charge of each station. This will keep the kids busy and entertained! If you don’t have an opportunity to set up the stations beforehand, have a parent helper read a short book to the children at the beginning of the party while you take a few minutes to set up the stations.
Please share any Valentine’s Day party ideas that you love in a comment below!
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