I recently served as a classroom volunteer at Oak Arbor School, where my kids attend school. I had the pleasure of helping out with a Valentine’s Day party, which the students enthusiastically enjoyed.
I noticed that you don’t have to get very fancy to make a great party for children. Part of the delight of doing things with young kids is that they are open to finding all the enjoyment possible in simple daily things. Everything is still fresh and new. And I’ve noticed that the younger classrooms at Oak Arbor foster and celebrate this innocent enthusiasm.
We had no big cake or selection of treats, but simply red juice and basic, heart-shaped sugar cookies with plain red sprinkles on them. I just have to add that I am very impressed with myself regarding those cookies. I made them myself using vegan butter and almond milk so that the child with the dairy allergy could enjoy the same refreshments that everyone else was having.
The cookies turned out well enough that none of the kids seemed to notice the difference. Of course, I dished out the red sprinkles with a liberal hand, so it may be that what was underneath really didn’t matter to the kids!
Our craft activities weren’t fancy; no large or impressive creations were produced. But we made some pretty cute butterflies with heart-shaped wings using tongue depressors and construction paper.
The hit craft at the party was marble painting. For this, you place a paper heart in the bottom of a pan, put dots of the classroom tempera paint on the heart, and then roll a marble around by tilting the pan, thus creating wild and colorful designs. Several of the kids were highly reluctant to let others have a turn at this fascinating activity.
Our party game was extremely simplistic, involving finding hidden paper hearts all around the classroom. Then there was a heart-shaped mouse hidden somewhere, with only the string tail sticking out. A great deal of rushing around and shouting over each discovery showed that the kids were perfectly happy with this basic game of hide and seek.
It wasn’t fancy or complicated, but it was as good as it gets for a Valentine’s Day celebration. And it was a nice reminder that you don’t have to go all out or spend a lot of money (and be stressed!) in order to have a great time with kids.