Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: How to throw a homeschool Valentine's Day party

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to throw a homeschool Valentine's Day party

Each year one of the biggest events my homeschool group holds is our Valentine’s Day party. Parents, and even some of the kids, fondly remember Valentine’s Day parties from their days in public school and thoughts of pink frosted cupcakes, candy hearts and boxes full of valentines stoke their excitement.

From the moment our party was announced this year, families began submitting their RSVPs. Building on the success of last year's party, we're carrying over several of the favorite activites and adding a few new ones as we move to a larger space.

Here are some of the things our homeschool group has done to create successful Valentine's Day parties. I hope these tips can help you have a memorable celebration, too.

Enough valentines for everyone

The kids in our group buy valentines or make homemade cards for each other every year, but because our group is open to new members year round, we never know who might show up at our next event. For this reason, we ask parents to make sure kids bring enough valentines for all the kids who RSVP, and a few extra Valentines just in case new members decide to join us at the last minute.

We also asked all the kids to just write their own name in the “from” blank on the cards and leave the “to” section empty. That way, no one will get left out if their name is forgotten from the list.

Something to hold them all

You can't hand out stacks of Valentine's Day cards if there isn't someplace to put them all. That's why we started encouraging the kids to decorate their own bags or boxes. Some years, we provide paper bags and paints and stickers, so the kids can decorate bags at the party. Other years, we start early and ask participants to decorate boxes at home, and even award prizes to the most creative boxes.

However you decide to distribute the valentines at your party, make sure to let everyone know ahead of time so they'll have an opportunity to prepare.

Crafts, games and fun

Because it is usually very cold outside, we always have our Valentine’s Day party indoors. To make sure no one gets bored, we provide lots of fun activities for the kids to enjoy. We usually have crafts for the kids to try at a number of stations. Children can move freely from one craft to another, making beaded bracelets, 3-D paper sculptures, painting goody bags, sculpting with Play-Doh and more.

If you have a big television or projector system available, you can watch Valentine's Day themed movies or cartoons. You can also play party games, board games or find other ways for the kids to have fun together inside.

Don't forget the food

We know the kids will be getting lots of candies and chocolates in their treat bags, so the parents in our group always make sure to bring heartier foods to share. Valentine's Day parties are a great time to enjoy a potluck lunch with warm and delicious comfort foods. With offerings like soups, pastas, sandwiches and chips, veggies and dips, and of course, desserts, we always have plenty of tasty food for everyone to enjoy.

Time and space to hang out

Our group is lucky to have use of a few large spaces in our community for our events, so we always have plenty of space to hang out and visit with friends. It's important that you schedule your party in a space with enough room so that when your kids aren't eating, crafting or distributing their valentines, they have ample space to spread out and enjoy each other's company without feeling too crowded.

Make sure you schedule plenty of time for your party, too. In my experience, families are a little bit starved for the company of their friends by the time Valentine's Day rolls around. It is usually our group's first big activity of the year, after taking a substantial break for Christmas and waiting out the inclement weather that so often comes in January. Don't be surprised if a couple of hours just aren't nearly long enough for everyone to catch up.

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