Are you looking for some easy but “heart-y” ideas for your child’s classroom Valentine’s Day party? Don’t dread being the Valentine’s Day party volunteer–here are some super simple ideas for children of all ages to get you started.
Valentine Boxes and Bags
Last year, we made monster boxes to hold classroom valentines using empty tissue boxes, egg cartons, pom-pons, googly eyes, foam stickers and pipe cleaners. As you can see from the picture, the patterned tissue box made this simple project even easier.
How many animals can you make out of the shape of a heart? Let me help you count the ways. I spy a fish, an elephant, a puppy, and more. Transform a boring brown paper bag by adding a simple crafted paper animal. Use household items (toilet paper tubes and plastic cups make great circle templates) to trace the shapes you need onto colored paper, cut them out and add some glue, and the project is done. Crafty Morning has a great selection of animal ideas.
Paper plates also make great valentine holders. You can get as creative as you wish with two paper plates, scissors, a hole-punch, some yarn and whatever else you have on hand. Free Kids Crafts has great instructions for this easy project.
Snacks, Made by Kids
Kids love to be creative, especially when it means that they can play with their food. Simple snacks that kids can put together themselves adds a fun element to classroom parties. Packaged Rice Krispies treats can be cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and decorated with a smear of packaged frosting or decorating gel and candy embellishments. An edible marshmallow necklace on a licorice strand makes a simple but fun Valentine’s Day treat; instructions can be found at Cute Foods for Kids.
A simple snack mix buffet can be set up on a table with options such as popcorn, pretzels and heart-shaped marshmallows to make a Valentine’s Day treat that the kids can assemble themselves. Older kids can try their hand at making a teddy bear roll using a Teddy Graham, mini marshmallow, fruit leather and a licorice strand.
Valentine’s Party Games
Parties are a great way for kids to socialize and move around in the classroom–something they don’t get to do much of during the regular school day. Divide the class into smaller groups and set up a few game stations during parties, with each game lasting about 10 minutes or so. Then plan one group game that all of the kids can participate in together.
Indoor bowling is a fun game for younger children. Spruce up a kids bowling set by decorating the pins with hearts or colored washi tape. Use a plush ball to bowl with, or make a silly emoji ball out of a playground ball by drawing a funny face on it with a permanent marker. Colored duct tape can be used to mark the bowling lane on the classroom floor, and you’re ready to score.
The game of hot potato takes on a Valentine’s Day twist when a small stuffed animal is used for the potato. Young children also enjoy the game “telephone;” just make sure you have a few simple phrases in mind ahead of time, and be prepared to give plenty of “operator assistance.”
Kids also like to dance and move about, and all you need for that is some space, a wireless speaker and some music on your phone to turn your classroom into a dance party. Involve everyone in the group and try playing “Pass the Dance” with a group of kids, where one child makes up a dance move and the next person adds their own, and the dance continues throughout the group. At the end, everyone dances all of the moves.
As children get older, they need more challenging activities to keep them busy. Relay races, using conversation hearts on a plastic spoon, or even carried between chopsticks, is a fun game. If you can’t use food in your classroom, substitute colored pom-pons from the dollar store for the candy hearts. Use clear plastic tumbler cups as the receptacle at the end of the race. Run the relay a few times, with different instructions, as these games tend to go fast. Fun ways to run a relay include balancing the candy while walking backwards, walking like a duck, or skipping. Ask the kids for their ideas on how to run the next race.
Have kids find their perfect match. Cut out hearts out of red and pink cardstock, and then cut each heart in half, using unique, jagged lines for each set. Distribute one half of each heart to each student, and the children need to work together to find who has the other matching half of their heart. One full heart is needed for every two students, and if there is an odd-number of students, recruit the teacher to play as well.
The game Pictionary, using the classroom whiteboard and a dry erase marker, requires only a list of Valentine’s Day-related words prepared ahead of time. Always prepare a few more words than you think you need. Another option to consider is to turn the classroom into a game-day cafe, where popular card, dice or board games are featured at different tables. Kids take turns playing games until time is called, and then they switch tables.
Classroom Crafts and Activities
For the young children, pipe cleaner beaded bracelets and hearts, and heart-and straw leis are usually easy to manage. I recommend using disposable dinnerware bowls and paper plates when crafting with younger kids and beads or smaller materials. It helps keep the materials from landing on the floor before you even start the project. Slide the finished heart or bracelet into a zip-loc bag and staple a paper gift tag to the top, and a child has a cute gift to bring home to a loved one. Makezine has a great tutorial for the leis.
Templates can be found online to make heart-shaped snowflakes, ranging from simple to very intricate designs. In addition to paper, coffee filters make an interesting medium for snowflakes, and they can be easily glued to colored paper for a take-home present. Heart snowflake cutting templates are available at Auntie Annie’s Crafts.
If you want to do something really different this year, consider hosting a science or engineering-themed party. A quick Google search will yield plenty of interesting, candy-based experiment ideas. Set up scientific stations or hold a demonstration. Steve Spangler Science has great ideas for simple experiments using candy, water, carbonated drinks and vinegar, and will provide you with great ideas for an out-of-the box approach to a class party–just be sure to get the teacher’s permission before you plan it.
Replicate Cupid’s arrow trajectory using paper airplanes. Have the kids make paper airplanes out of colored paper or white paper that they decorate themselves, and then test flight paths by holding a flying contest. For a more challenging game, cut holes out of a large piece of school butcher paper. Hang the paper in the classroom doorway and have the students try to fly the planes through the holes. Printable airplane templates are available online at Fun Paper Airplanes. It’s a great way to kid the kids thinking and moving during the party.
No matter what you plan, chances are, the kids will love it. If you are looking for more ideas, take a look at what Hallmark has online, which includes some classroom printables, and game and crafts ideas that might help make your job easier. But remember, a morning or afternoon in the classroom with no homework to be assigned will surely be enjoyed by all.
What are your go-to activities for a classroom Valentine’s Day Party? Share them in the comments section below.