If you have a kid, Valentine’s Day is probably one rung lower than Halloween on the ladder of fun holidays (Christmas or Hanukkah being the top, of course). Whether you’re hosting a party for your child’s entire class at school or just for their closest friends, it might seem daunting to come with enough ideas that are both on-theme and interesting enough to keep the kids engaged. These ideas are great both for classroom parties and for after-school bashes, and are sure to make your party a hit with the kids and their parents.
What’s the best way to cut down on the time it takes for you to prepare for the party and give the kids something fun to do? Have them decorate their own cookies! You can even prepare one set of cookies beforehand and also have some raw dough so they can cut out their own shapes to frost, once they’re done cooking. Getting this party ready is as easy and getting a few tubs of frosting (or making your own if you’re feeling industrious), some sprinkles, and some wax paper to protect your table from the bright colors. If you don’t want to make the cookies, you could enlist some other parents or even buy plain sugar cookies from the grocery store.
Most classes have some sort of Valentine’s Day celebration, and that usually means that your child wants to take some Valentines to her friends. A great way to enable her to express her creativity is to invite her friends over and using constructions paper, glue, and markers to make their own Valentines. A great way to supplement their supplies is with some heart-themed decorations, purchased from a party supply store.
Make It Sweet
Whether or not you want the kids to decorate their own treats, you can still center your party on treats. When you’re a little kid, Valentine’s Day is really all about sweets anyway—so why not spoil them this one day out of the year, with a range of sweet treats. Heart-shaped cookies, cakes, rice crispy treats (these are great if there is someone in her class or circle of friends who is gluten intolerant), and more could be the focus of the party. Making Valentines or playing games can round out the party.
Your kids might not be old enough to understand the history behind a cake walk, but they’ll love the interactive treat-winning game. An easy way to get this party started is to cut big hearts out of pink and red construction paper, number them, and put them in a circle. Make sure there are enough numbers for everyone and there are enough treats that everyone can win something. Augment this game with musical chairs set to some famous love songs or with a fun movie (the kids might not mind if it’s not Valentine’s Day themed).
A great way to make your party Valentine’s Day themed and still really fun is to have a bunch of heart-themed games planned. Whether it’s heart tic-tac-toe (which is as easy as making a game board and giving the kids pink and red hearts to use as game pieces or heart hide and go seek (where one child leaves the room and then another child hides a paper heart—the class then leads the other child to the heart with a game of hotter or colder), having a few games handy is a good way to keep the party from stalling.
Make It Heart Healthy
While you might not want to turn the entire party into a field day (it may be still too cold for that), you can get the kids out to do a little bit of exercise. They’ll probably need it if they are going to be eating sugary cookies or other treats throughout the day. If you turn it into a game or have a heart relay, the kids will be sure to love getting outside or doing something active during the school day.
Kids love doing crafts and this is a good way to exercise their motor skills as well as give them a built-in party favor. There are lots of different crafts that you could do—these are just a few examples. Making Valentines for their parents or friends out of construction paper and a few craft supplies is going to be a popular option. Coloring pages that are heart or Valentine’s Day themed are great for younger kids who might not be up for working with scissors and glue yet. Making heart rings or necklaces out of pipe-cleaners is easy and inexpensive. If your kids are a little bit older, they might be able to make woven friendship bracelets out of red and pink string.
Match the Hearts
This is a great way to work some learning into your party—which is great if you’re planning your party for the classroom. In this party, you write a bunch of words on some hearts and stick them around the room. Each child has to pick a heart off of the wall and then find their word match—which might be held by another child or it might still be on the wall.
This idea is a great for an after-school party and is a great way to show some love to someone in your neighborhood who needs it. Spend the first half of the party cutting out hearts and writing nice things on them. Then, tape some to skewers and just put tape on the back of others. Then, take your party outside and stick those hearts all over someone’s yard to show them they are loved.