As a whole, I don't think of myself as a person who particularly enjoys things that are super lovey-dovey or overly-affection-showy, yet for some reason, I really enjoy Valentine's Day. Maybe it's because I like hearts, pink, flowers, and chocolate. A lot. Or maybe it's that I will just cling on to anything at all that breaks up the monotony of winter. I'm not sure. But whatever the reason, I get kinda pumped about Valentine's Day, and even more so at work. I think Valentine's Day with kids is the ultimate cutest thing.
So tonight I had my Valentine's Day Party for kids in grades K-2. It was awesome! Here's how it went:
I started with a quick story time, where I got to try out a new (to me) book. I read A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger, which everyone (including the grown ups) liked a lot. I even pointed out that the endpapers at the start of the book showed candy hearts with all negative phrases and the endpapers at the end of the book showed candy hearts with all positive phrases! Pointing out the endpapers always makes me feel super accomplished as a librarian, I have to say.
After the book we played three games.
First, we played "Love Bingo." I made these for a Valentine's Day program last year, so even if I never use them ever again, I've already gotten two-years worth of game play out of them and I like those statistics! They looked like this, for example:
I was clever and got candy hearts as Bingo markers this year. The kids marked off boxes on their boards as I held up corresponding full-sheet pictures at random. Between rounds, I told them to keep the pieces on their boards so they could just continue to fill them up until everyone eventually had Bingo. As the kids won, 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 "Candy Heart Relay." This took a lot of explaining but the kids totally loved it. I separated them into two teams and had each team get into a line. The goal of the game is to take one candy heart from your team's cup on your fork without using your hands (although this was not a strictly enforced rule), carefully walk it across the room (on the fork), and then drop it into your team's other cup. Then you pass the fork off to your next teammate. The team with the most hearts in their across-the-room cup wins! I gave them two minutes on the clock and off they went. Here they are mid-play:
Everyone was a great sport here. Nobody lost their patience; nobody called anyone "slow;" nobody got sad about losing; and nobody got mean about winning! This was a wonderful group and a fun game!
Last, 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 [I just held it on them.]), and one by one, they had to try their best to draw a heart on the oak tag. There are no winners or losers in this game. It's just fun for a good little giggle. Here's a picture of me holding the blindfold on our last competitor and a picture of the final results:
After the three games ended, we moved onto valentine-making and snacks. I put out a whole array of things for them to make valentines with: heart-shaped doilies, pink, red, white and purple hearts in two different sizes, conversation heart foam stickers, glittery heart foam stickers, love bug foam stickers, markers, crayons, popsicle sticks (why not?), glue sticks, and tape. Then I let them just go to town. I also served really delicious and soft (store brand!) Valentine's Day cookies + water bottles.
Here are a few of the adorable valentines that were made (plus some visual cookie enjoyment):
What worked least: Nothing! This program ruled! (In case this your first time visiting this blog, let me apologize for not being a little more modest and also point out that my last blog post includes more misses than hits. Also in my modesty defense, I want you to know that I realize that at least 80% of this program's success is due to the super-great group of kids I wound up with.)
What worked best: All of it! I know this answer is a total cop-out, but everything--even down to the flow of events--worked in this program. I wish they could all be this wonderful!