Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Day Party Ideas for Your Troop or the Classroom

I have two daughters--one is in fourth grade, and the other is in second grade.  Over the years, I have served as a Room Mother for their class parties.  I have volunteered as part of a team of Room Parents.  Most recently, I have stepped aside to let other parents join in the fun.  It's safe to say, I've seen classroom parties handled many different ways.  Money may be collected in a lump sum at the beginning of the year.  Requests for monetary donations may occur on a party-to-party basis throughout the year.  Sign-up sheets may be displayed, asking for party treats and supplies to be donated by families.  Parties may be planned months in advance.  Parties may be planned several days ahead.  Regardless, in my experience, the kids have fun.  This has also proven to be true with our Girl Scout troop parties.  While we have never celebrated Valentine's Day together as a troop, I thought I would share some of my favorite Valentine's Day party ideas that worked well in the classroom.  Maybe your Girl Scouts would enjoy including them at their next Valentine's Day event?

Craft:  Paper Plate Valentine's Day Card Holder. We first made these card holders with my daughter's preschool class.  Instead of punching holes in the edge of the paper plates and using yarn to sew them together, we used staples.  The kids decorated the plates with markers, crayons, and stickers.  We used yarn in place of the ribbon in order to hang the card holder on the back of a chair.  Unfortunately I do not have my own picture to share with you.  As the kids get older, they can sew the plates together using yarn or ribbon.  Maybe they could use paint and construction paper to make animal paper plate card holders

My mom is a retired fifth grade teacher.  When our girls were little, I would take them to her school during the Valentine's Day party.  She would ask her students to decorate a Valentine card box at home.  The Room Parents, another teacher, and I would get to judge whose box was the cutest, funniest, prettiest, and most creative.  This could be a fun activity to try with your Girl Scouts.  Have them decorate a tissue box at home and then bring it to the meeting or troop Valentine's Day party.  Allow the girls to vote for different categories, and do not allow them to vote for their own box.  Maybe the winners could receive a small prize or simply a congratulations from the other girls in the troop? 

Craft:  Cupig Candy Dish.  

Supplies needed:
  • 4" terracotta flowerpot
  • pink paint and paintbrush
  • 1 pink pipe cleaner
  • 2 googly eyes
  • 1 foam heart sticker
  • glue (Elmer's, Tacky, and hot glue?)
  • red or pink shredded paper

  • Apply two coats of paint to flowerpot.  (Acrylic paint dries rather quickly).
  • Curl pipe cleaner around a pencil.
  •  Use glue to attach tail.  (I found tacky glue worked better than Elmer's glue, but having a hot glue gun on hand may be helpful).
  • Use glue to attach googly eyes.  
  • Use a black Sharpie to make two dots for nostrils.
  • Peel the back off the heart sticker and attach the snout beneath the eyes.
  • Fill the flowerpot with shredded paper.
  • Add candy (like conversation hearts or individually-wrapped chocolates).

Game:  Pin the Tail on Cupig.   
Years ago, I drew a picture of a pig on a piece of poster board, and I added large googly eyesI used my Cricut or my Creative Memories Circle Cutter to cut 1" circles out of pink cardstock, and I made sure to have two circles per player.  For each child, I curled a pink pipe cleaner around my little finger and used a glue stick to sandwich the pipe cleaner between two of the circles.  I also prepared a construction paper mask for each child.  I free-handed masks on dark construction paper.  After cutting them out, I punched a hole in each side of the masks, using a standard hole punch.  I added two pieces of yarn to each mask to make it easy to put on as each child prepared for his or her turn.  During the party, we wrapped a piece of tape and stuck it to the back of the circle.  To make this game more challenging for older players, pair the kids up with a partner.  Set up a small obstacle like placing a chair between the kids and the pig.  One player is blindfolded and the other has to provide verbal cues to guide the partner around the chair and toward the pig.  Here are some photos of the materials:

Update:  I have the Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter, and I love it!  We have used it to embellish scrapbook pages and cut out titles for our pages.  We have used it to make various signs (Star of the Week, Welcome Home, team signs, and signs for Cookie Booths).  We have saved a great deal of time using the Cricut to cut out shapes for class party and birthday games.  This older model meets my current needs, so I'm not in the market for a new one.  That being said, Amazon offers a wireless version of this cutting machine According to the reviews, it is worth checking out!

Game:  Find Your Match.   
This game is a variation of the Guess Me Icebreaker Game that we played during our troop Christmas Party in 2013I love this game because it is inexpensive and requires little, if any, preparation.  It's similar to HedBanz in the sense that a piece of paper labeled with the name of a well-known character or person is pinned to the back of each participant.  Players walk around the room, asking other players "yes" or "no" questions to try to determine his or her identity.  Once the player's identity is discovered, the player needs to find his or her match to win the game.  This activity works well with larger groups of participants.  Here are some suggestions of couples (or male and female characters who are often associated together):
      Santa and Mrs. Claus                        Mickey and Minnie Mouse
      Barbie and Ken                                Cinderella and Prince Charming
      Belle and Beast                                Anna and Kristoff
      Donald and Daisy Duck                     Kermit and Miss Piggy
      Mario and Peach                               Superman and Wonder Woman             

      Barack and Michelle Obama                Harry Potter and Hermione

Game:  Pass the Book!   
When you are out buying party supplies, pick up a $1 activity book for each child in the classroom or troop and individually wrap them.  Select a holiday book to read to the class, and make sure this book has one word that is continuously repeated throughout the story.  I typically choose this game when I am planning a classroom Christmas party.  I like to read the book Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn and Mark Buehner because it's an adorable story, and the word snowman is repeated many times throughout the book.  One year I decided to try this game for a Valentine's Day party.  I chose the book Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman.  
Product Details Before you officially begin the game, pass out the individually-wrapped activity books, handing one to each child.  Instruct the children to pass his or her book to the child on the right every time they hear the word "Ruby."  Begin reading the book, emphasizing the word "Ruby," depending on the age of the children.  At the end of the story, the children get to open the book they are holding at that time.  I have played this game with kids in kindergarten through second grade, and they loved it!  I'm sure older kids would enjoy it just as much, but be sure to select a book and prizes that are age-appropriate.

Snack:  Krispie Kisses.  

I found this YouTube video that shows how to make a giant Hershey's Kiss using Rice Krispies cereal.  

I have made smaller Krispie Kisses for classroom treats.  Instead of using a large funnel as shown in the video, I selected a funnel that is 3.5" wide.  I also do not cover the kisses in melted chocolate, though that sounds divine!  When I have combined a 1 stick of butter, a 10 oz bag of mini marshmallows, and about 12 oz of Rice Krispies, the recipe yielded about 16, 3.5" kisses.  I spray my wooden spoon and my hands with cooking spray to make the process a little easier.  You have to work quickly because you don't want the warm mixture to cool before you form all your kisses.  Once the mixture has been packed in the funnel, I immediately turn the kiss out onto a cooling rack on my kitchen counter.  I do not put them in the fridge as is shown on the video. While the kisses are cooling, I cut an 8"x8" square of foil for each kiss.  I spray the foil with cooking spray just to be on the safe side.  I wait until the kisses are completely cooled before wrapping them in foil.  I store them in an airtight container until the party.  This is a great Valentine's Day party treat because the kids can take the Krispie Kiss home quite easily if they choose not to eat it at the party. 

Happy Valentine's Day!  Thank you for reading.

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