For children, Valentine's Day focuses on sweets, parties, and perhaps a Valentine from a "Secret Admirer." Plan the perfect party for a fun celebration of this day devoted to love, friendship and sweet treats.
--The first step is your party's location. Will it be indoors at your home, in the yard or at a local park? If you are planning an outdoor party, have a backup plan in case of rainy or cold weather.
--Next, decide how many guests you can accommodate at your party location. Depending on your guest capacity, you might want to invite your child's entire class or scout troop, or you may need to limit the list to close friends and family.
--Set your date and time. While February 14 is the obvious choice, if it falls on a weekday you might want to celebrate on a weekend instead. An afternoon party is a good choice for a children's event.
--Send invitations. You can purchase paper, lacy, heart-shaped doilies, or cut hearts from red construction paper for homemade, themed invitations. Be sure to include your address, the party's start and end time, date, and an indication of what sort of food to expect.
The biggest cleaning for a children's party is going to come after the guests go home, but beforehand, make sure your house is free of clutter, the front walkway is unobstructed, and the bathrooms are clean before the guests arrive. (For a cleaning guide, see Daily Cleaning Guide: Chore Checklist.)
If your child has any particular toys or items they feels strongly about keeping to themselves, put them out of sight before guests arrive. If you want to prevent guests from clustering around the video game system instead of other planned activities, put away the games and controllers, and close the door to the entertainment center.
Shut the door to any room you want guests to stay out of, and secure any dog likely to get unruly in a back bedroom. Cats might also feel more secure if kept in a room away from guests.
--Red crepe paper streamers
--Pink, red and white balloons
--Window clings with Valentine's themes
--Hanging, inflatable hearts or cupids
You will want to keep the guests busy and having fun. Luckily, Valentine's Day lends itself to a variety of fun activities.
Valentine's Toss is an easy game that will keep the kids laughing and burning energy.
--Have the children stand in a large circle. Give one player a soft, red ball, small stuffed heart or red beanbag.
--The player is to call out the name of another player, then toss them the ball.
--The second player catches the ball, calls another name, and tosses the ball to that child.
--After a few tosses, add another ball to the game. Now there are two balls being passed simultaneously, and the kids really have to pay attention.
--If the players can keep the game going with two balls, add a third for an extra challenge.
--If you have a large group of players, add a fourth ball.
--You can keep the game going until the children tire of it.
Candy Relay will bring out the giggles, and ends with a sweet treat.
--Divide the kids into two even teams, and have them line up.
--Give every player on each team a small, wrapped candy, such as a peppermint or Tootsie Roll. --Warn the kids not to eat their candies yet!
--The first player on each team puts on a pair of mittens, and at "Go!" attempts to unwrap their candy, which they then eat.
--The mittens are passed to the next player, who repeats the action.
--The first team to unwrap and eat all the candies wins.
Food, especially sweet food, is an important focus of any kids' party. If you are serving lunch during party time, stick with simple, popular foods liked by most children. You can't go wrong with:
If you are on a tight budget, make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (if any guest has a known peanut allergy, choose a different sandwich) and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine's Day sandwiches.
Provide a healthy accompaniment to the main course with baby carrots, strawberries and a small selection of fruit such as orange and apple slices, pineapple chunks and grapes.
A tray of cupcakes is sure to meet an enthusiastic greeting, and you can have the kids decorate them as an activity. Provide plain cupcakes, and set out various toppings to decorate with. Some fun toppings to try include:
--Frosting in white, pink or chocolate
--Colored decorating sugar
You can also set out vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a variety of toppings so the guests can create their own sundaes. (For more Valentine's Day dessert ideas, see Valentine's Day Dessert Recipes.)
For children, any holiday is a good reason to have a party and celebrate. Throwing a Valentine's Day party for your children and their friends is an easy way to have fun and celebrate a day of sweetness and friendship.
This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com