Two days until the class Valentine’s Day party. You’re hosting it and don’t have a plan! Oh dear!
Sound familiar? This was my situation before just about every homeroom holiday party of my children’s elementary school career.
And with three kids, I was either a homeroom mom or volunteer quite a few times. I knew the drill. Why did it always catch me off guard? A great mystery. (I think it has something to do with my personality and/or career choice. I thrive on procrastination and hot deadlines.)
However, the “night before” mad rush to get Valentine cards, goody bags and party plans together just might have scarred my children a little. I know it did my husband. So . . . why do it, you ask? Hey, just because I was terrible at it didn’t mean I didn’t love it! What a blast to hang out with my kids, and their friends and teachers for happy events. The hugs and high-fives were definitely worth the stress. And along the way, I picked up a few tricks that helped with my procrastinating ways.
If you find yourself in charge of a school Valentine Party or a Wednesday night kids’ class at church THIS February 14 (that’s TWO DAYS FROM NOW), here are a few activities that you can pull together at the last minute with minimal stress. I borrowed them from different websites and resources and adapted them for different themes many times:
Who doesn’t love a piñata?
No time to order a fancy piñata or even run out to the store. You can make one that the kids will love from items in your cabinet. (I did this for more than one holiday class party and it was always a big hit.) Start with a large brown paper bag. Cut strips of tissue paper (red/white/pink for Valentine’s Day). Glue the strips in overlapping lines all around the bag until it sports a new fun, festive, colorful look. Stuff it with candy and roll down the top, stapling to close. Punch holes for the string to hang it up. Don’t forget to grab a stick or long ruler for smacking it and a bandana to cover the hitter’s eyes. Depending on the goodies in the bag and the tissue colors you use, you can make a piñata for Christmas, Halloween or other holidays.
A puzzle race . . . calmer, but still fun.
Make a word puzzle race quickly and easily. Take several small paper bags. Decorate them if you like. Use construction paper/typing paper/notebook paper to cut out small hearts. Write an individual letter on each heart to create a Valentine’s Day phrase like “Be my Valentine,” “I’m sweet on you,” “I love you,” etc. Put all the letters of each different phrase in a small paper bag. Organize the kids into small teams of 2-4 and give each a bag. When you say “go,” they’ll dump the letter hearts out on the ground and see who can assemble their phrase first. For younger kids, you can use different colored hearts that you’ve cut in half. Their objective can be to put together the two halves of hearts with the same color. You can make variations of this game to fit Christmas, Thanksgiving or other holidays. (Phrases can be the names of songs, faith-inspired phrases, Scripture verses, holiday customs, etc.)
Cake mix cookies.
Kudos to the person who came up with these . . . cake mix cookies are the bomb! They are so easy, versatile and cheap. You can make a couple dozen with any cake mix in your cabinet, depending on the color or flavor you want. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 box cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- Variations: Add walnuts, pecans, coconut or chocolate chips. Or, roll in sugar.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, roll into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then move to wire rack. These stay very moist and chewy for a couple of days. You can decorate them or leave them plain.
I remember having young kids and racing a million miles a minute. It’s OK if you are not the best planner or organizer in the world. Enjoying life with your family might mean you live on the corner of last-minute and crazy. The most important thing is that they know you are there, mess and all.