As I write this during my son’s nap, I’m thinking who has the time to set up an elaborate Valentine’s Day play date? Certainly not me!
Just one month into the new year and my schedule is packed with new projects, new collaborations, and new ideas coming to fruition. It’s definitely a burning-the-midnight-oil situation over here, folks.
I really wanted to make a sweet playdate for my daughter and some friends she hadn’t seen in a long time. And boy do I love Valentine’s Day now that my kids are old enough to enjoy the festivities. In short, I was motivated to put in a little extra effort (but not too much effort because I’m no Martha Stewart of preschool parties).
So I used my Mom Power of just making things happen (did you know that’s a mom power? It is.), and we had a really fun Valentine’s Day play date for the kids.
We ate red foods, made a pink drink, did a craft (with fancy stickers, of course!), and had a couple other play options. Oh, and can’t forget the decorations!
Read on to find out the details of this simple and sweet Valentine’s Day play date. It’s not complicated or expensive, promise.
Our craft for the play date was making paper crowns. I set out the materials for the children to discover on their own. With great restraint, I didn’t say “Here, you can make paper crowns!” I really wanted to say that. Instead, the kids looked at the array of materials and said “this looks fun…what should we make?”
I helped adjust the crown sizes for the kids if needed, but mostly I left them to their own devices to construct their crowns as they pleased. I set out paper hearts, stickers, and washi tape.
If there weren’t so many other things to do, they might have spent more time making wrist cuffs, belts for stuffed animals, or whatever they could come up with.
I think they had a lot of fun making the crowns!
For the Valentine’s Day play date I offered three main play activities: play dough, a sticker station, and beading. Again, I did not suggest they play with the materials. Everyone knows nothing kills an activity faster than insisting kids play with it! 😉 We just set out the materials and let them play without instructions or direction from the adults.
So, did you know it’s very difficult to make red play dough? Let’s just say I was glad that pink was also an acceptable Valentine’s Day color because the amount of food coloring needed to get truly red play dough would have been ridiculous. Pink play dough it was!
We had some gems and popsicle sticks to add to the play dough, but you could also use little animals or action figures, sticks, pasta, plastic Easter eggs, toy cars…whatever!
The beading activity was fun for the whole crew (even my two year old did this for quite a while). They made lots of bracelets to give to each other.
Lastly, we had a sticker station. For this activity I provided a large tub of random objects that the kids were allowed to decorate with stickers.
You know how kids love to put stickers on things they’re not supposed to…like their cup or shoes or even your cell phone? (!!!) Well here was their big chance to decorate some household stuff with stickers!
I included jars, old kitchen stuff, some random toys, and even old electronics equipment. This was a big hit.
We kept it simple with the food. We had grape tomatoes, strawberries, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
I fancied up the grilled cheese sandwiches by using red food coloring to make white shredded cheese red. Then I cut the sandwiches with heart-shaped cookie cutters. Bam! Almost Pinterest-perfect.
I assure you I did not look Pinterest-perfect as I scrambled to get all the sandwiches cooked within ten minutes of each other. Next time I’ll have to use a big griddle.
Oh, and then there was the part where I yelled “don’t eat it yet! I want to take a photo!” Yeah, winning at being a mom for sure. Joke’s on me, though…all the photos were not quite in focus! Ha!
The best part of the entire party was, clearly, the strawberry milkshakes. I ask you, how can anything else compete with a homemade strawberry milkshake? Nothing can. Strawberry milkshakes are even better than Elsa bandaids and gifted bead bracelets.
The thing that took this Valentine’s Day play date to the next level was the decorations. They consisted of two things – one was easy and one was of the “how much time do you have on your hands” level.
A plastic heart tablecloth was the very easy thing. And boy did it make the room pop!
The wall of paper hearts is the thing you might be questioning me about.
Like everyone else, I have a to-do list that can wrap around my house. But on this day I wanted to zen out and cut paper hearts while listening to a podcast. It was a lovely way to spend an hour while my son was napping. Once I had about 40 paper hearts I taped them to some string at intervals and hung the garlands from the top of the wall, also with tape.
If podcasts-while-cutting is not your thing, you can buy pre-cut paper hearts at the craft store, or even search Etsy for heart garlands that are super cute.
This Valentine’s Day play date was a smashing success. So, are you planning to host a Valentine’s Day play date?
Before you go, remember to snag the super cute PeelyPack Valentine’s Day sticker pack! This children’s activity pack is full of stickers made exclusivley for PeelyPack kids, and it’s available here for a limited time. Most of the stickers you’ve seen in this post (plus more) are included in the Valentine’s Day PeelyPack.
However you plan to celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your family and friends.