I had a Valentine's Day Party for the kids in grades K-2 tonight. It was fun, but unfortunately, the turnout was on the small side.
I started it off by reading them Smitten by David Gordon, mostly because I wanted a story about friend-love and not something overly lovey dovey. I've read Smitten to children in this age group in the past and it's been pretty successful each time. Today was no exception. Everybody always likes this book.
After the book, I passed out Love Bingo cards, which I tediously labored over using Microsoft Publisher. This is what the cards looked like:
The kids marked off boxes on their boards as I held up corresponding full-sheet pictures at random. Between rounds (of which there were very few due to the small class-size), I told them to keep the pieces on their boards so they could just continue to fill them up until everyone eventually had "Love". Then I gave out mini heart stress balls (these, from Oriental Trading) as prizes. If it even needs to be said, of course, every kid was a winner.
Next we played Blinded By Love (which is a game I borrowed and modified a bit from Cul-De-Sac Cool's post, "12 Coolest Valentine's Day School Party Games"). Basically, each kid got "blinded" (using the mask shown below) and one by one, they had to try their best to draw a heart on the oak tag. Below is a fierce competitor as well as a picture of the results. Because I only had a handful of kids, I let them each go twice.
After the two games ended, we moved onto valentine-making. I put out a whole array of things: heart-shaped doilies, pink, red, white and purple hearts in two different sizes (using Ellison Die cuts), conversation heart foam stickers, glittery heart foam stickers, markers, crayons, popsicle sticks (why not?), scissors, glue sticks, and white glue.
Toward the end of the valentine-making, I handed out cherry heart-shaped fruit snacks and water. Because it's not a party unless there's a snack, right?
I also had a shiny heart banner up for the kids to take pictures in front of (Oriental Trading again, cut into two layers). It seems like most children like photo backdrops, so I try to put one up when it's possible.
Last, I thought it'd be fun to have the kids fill out a "Why I Love My Library" postcard (leftover from another program) for a chance to win a free book and a lolly pop. I've done raffles in programs in the past and it's always been fun. But this time it didn't work. There were tears and hurt-feelings. I gave extra heart stress balls as consolation prizes to the non-winners, which did seem to help, but I felt bad! So this may have been the last of the raffles for me. It's too risky.
All in all, it was certainly fun, but not one of my all-time best. It didn't have the energy that I was hoping for and everything moved faster than I'd expected-- both because I had so few children.
What worked least: The raffle! Ack! I'm taking a raffle hiatus.
What worked the second least: The timing. I wish I had planned a few back-up activities (or at least activity sheets) to fill in extra time. We just zoomed through the whole program because of the group-size and it kind of tapered off at the end with too much extra time to spare. Still fun though! Happy Valentine's Day!