Let’s face it: classroom parties are difficult to throw.
Scratch that. Class parties easy to throw but difficult to throw well.
And what I’ve found over time–and by being a classroom parent for five years–is that certain things work and certain things don’t.
Having three kids in elementary school has helped me tremendously to be a better planner, organizer, and facilitator of THE class party.
So this Valentine’s Day, I’m mixing things up a bit.
We’ve got some really cool activities to get kids moving and creating, and I’m confident it will be awesome.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Valentine’s Day Class Party Ideas–Cool Activities to Get Kids Moving and Creating:
Definitely check out Valentine’s Day Class Parties, 2.0 so you can grab a copy of the parent letter. You need that because you need help and support of other parents if you want to make this party rock!
After connecting with the classroom teacher about times, activities, and details, I came up with the following plan for this year’s party:
Class Party Plan: Every party needs a plan.
You want the parents to know what’s going on, and you want the teacher to know what’s going on.
And it’s never perfect; sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes you’re behind, but you need a guide. You need a game plan.
This year’s Class Party Plan is below to download if you’d like to use it: valentine party plan 2015 – download instructions below!
3 15-minute stations:
You always need a quick and easy way to divide the class into smaller groups. I like using heart foamies or stickers that the kids put right on their shirts or hands. Use any of the stickers mentioned here–the
Melissa and Doug Sweets & Treats Stickers Pad have so many you can try. Maybe have a cherry group, a candy group, and a gum ball group. Or a flower candy, kiss candy, and gumdrop candy group.
Just remember to cut out the stickers before the party, put them in a hat or small bag and have the students pick one at the beginning of the party. Voila! Your groups are created!
1. Decorate Valentine Mail Bags:
This is the first time that we’ve ever added this into the party mix, so it was really fun for me to hunt down something that would work for our class.
The key here is to be quick, but fun and engaging.
I love what we came up with, and you can find all of the details here: Valentine Mail Bags.
2. Art Station:
I wanted activities that would be cool for the kids but that they could take home, stress free immediately after the party. So that eliminates any gluey projects.
Thankfully, my friends at Melissa & Doug have a few fabulous options for us.
Really. Sand Art at a class party is doable. It’s quick. It’s way cool. And you can make it relatively mess-free.
The Melissa and Doug Sand Art Bottles Craft Kit come three to a pack, but they’re affordable. It makes so much more sense to use your class donations for something like this rather than those teeny, junky prizes kids will throw away when they get home.
So to do the Sand Art, you’ll definitely need to save your take-out containers–the lids will work perfectly as little bases for the plastic containers.
Bring a roll of duct tape and make a big tape roll so that the container stays still on the plastic lid. That way, when kids are pouring sand in, they won’t wiggle and wobble.
We’ve used Scratch Art before for both our Valentine parties and Valentine cards. Kids really like them.
We will use Scratch Art Stickers, Scratch Art Keychains, and Scratch Art Fashion this year. I think kids will dig the choices.
Scratch Art Stickers come two sheets per pack, so I plan to tear them in half and then in half again for four sheets per pack. We used
Melissa and Doug Scratch Art® Animal Friends Stickers.
Scratch Art Keychains come six per party pack, and I had several packs left over from a birthday party a while back, so I thought I’d add them to the Scratch Art table. Love these: Melissa and Doug Scratch Art® Party Pack – Key Chains.
Scratch Art Fashion (Melissa and Doug Scratch Art® Party Pack – Fashion) come twelve per pack, and we used these way back when Maddy turned 9 (her Golden Birthday!), so I added a few packs of these to the mix.
I am not forcing all kids to do all art here; rather, I figured that since the projects are super quick, that they could do two in the 15 minute rotation. Or if they finish quickly and want to do three, that’s fine, too. Or if they’re meticulous and only finish Sand Art, great. That’s their take-away.
3. Action Games:
Kids need to move. Big time. Great parties have a mix of movement and craft, so here’s our ‘get up and move’ portion. I think since we have 15 minutes for this, we’ll walk through each activity together, one by one.
Best bet for these? Go out in the hallway so you have the most room.
Be the team to have the most hearts on the Flying Disk by the end of the game! The little Melissa and Doug Tootle Turtle Flying Disk and the Lady Bug Flying Disk are adorable and perfect for this game, and all you need are a bunch of small tissue paper and construction paper hearts on top.
1. Divide the small group in half. Put students in two lines at one end of the hallway.
2. Tape two hearts on the floor at the opposite end of the hall, one for each team.
3. Give the first person one flying disc with about 20 hearts on top of it.
4. That person moves as quickly to the end of the hallway, touches the heart on the floor, and walks back to his or her team. Depending on the age of the kids, make this one-handed or two-handed.
5. As carefully as possible, the student hands the disc to the next person, and the next person does the same thing.
6. The winning team has the most hearts at the end of the race!
Love Bugs Cleanup
Be the team to move the most love bugs from the big pile to the small container! All you need are shovels (I like the
Melissa and Doug Clicker Crab Shovel), small plastic container (we used takeout containers) and a bunch of plastic bugs. We used
Melissa and Doug Bag of Bugs.
1. Students are divided into two teams, just like before.
2. Dump all of the love bugs in a pile at the other end of the hallway.
3. The first person in each line takes the plastic shovel, runs to the love bug pile, and tries to scoop up as many love bugs as possible.
4. He or she then transfers those bugs to the small plastic container at the opposite end of the hallway.
5. The team that transfers the most love bugs at the end wins!
This is super-simple and the only thing that makes it Valentines-y is the fact that there are hearts around the cute little target. Whatever. It’s hand-eye coordination. It’s numbers. It’s sneaky math, friends! It’s a win.
For this game, you need a target. We used the Melissa and Doug Tootle Turtle Target Game.
1. Two teams stand about 5 feet away from the target.
2. At the same time (we need to up the fun factor here, folks), players toss a beanbag at the target. They get two beanbags to throw.
3. The parent facilitator writes down the score on the score sheet: heart target score sheet
4. The team with the highest score at the end wins!
heart target score sheet –– download instructions below!
Make it fun by having the score posted on the wall and encourage the kids to keep score as you go.
Please note: Class parties should be fun, easy, and low-stress for all kids. If you have sensitive kids in the class or think that keeping score may be stressful, don’t do it! Maybe instead give one point for every beanbag that hits the target.
Keep it light!
Everyone’s favorite part of the party, right? Move kids back to their seats.
Snack and Valentine Delivery will happen simultaneously, because the kids can’t possibly all deliver their Valentines and the same exact moment.
So have kids sit down, and have parents pass out the plates of food.
Then call each group up at a time to get their Valentines and deliver them to their classmates. While one group is delivering, two groups are eating.
Try to keep it level.
Our school only allows store-bought treats at this point because they’re trying to keep all allergies under control. I get it. It makes it so much easier and so much safer for those families for whom allergies are an every day fear.
For Valentine’s Day class parties, I’ll have:
- small water bottles
- Valentine cupcakes from the store
- Individually wrapped goldfish snacks or pretzel snacks
- individually wrapped fruit–apples or small fruit cups
That’s it. Call me crazy, but I don’t think kids need a mad sugar overload here. A little sweet treat and a little healthy treat, and we’re done. Bam.
It’s doubtful that if you follow this schedule you’ll have extra time, but if you do, an oldie but goodie: Freeze Dance! Turn on the music, and let kids jam it out while it plays.
When the music stops, everybody freezes.
Easy and fun.
Plus, the kids love to show off their moves.
And if kids don’t want to play, no biggie! Let them open up their Valentines!
Want the Party Plan and Heart Target Score sheet?
You got it!
I love sharing what we do at our class parties so that it’s easier for other parents to throw their own class parties.
This shouldn’t be difficult. It’s been done for years and years now, so there are a boatload of ideas out there.
What are your favorite Valentine ideas for kids? I’d love to hear ’em!
Here are a few of ours:
- Scratch-off Ticket Valentines
- Secret Message Valentines
- Scratch Art Bookmark Valentines
- Tattoo Valentines
- Mini Stained Glass Hearts
- Happy Face and Flower Valentines
- Heart Bingo
- Musical Hearts
- Throw a Rockstar Valentine’s Day Class Party
- Valentine’s Day Class Parties 2.0
I wrote this post as part of the Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador program. I’ve worked with Melissa & Doug for years and years now, and am always raving about their products for fun and learning. Read theMelissa & Doug blog to get the skinny!
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