Valentine’s Day isn’t as big a deal in the UK and Europe as it is in the USA, so you don’t often find boxes of little cards to give your kids to hand out to classmates and friends. That being said, we started hosting a small craft party at our house to make valentines ourselves about three years ago, and it’s been so much fun every year that it’s become an annual thing. This year, we hosted some of our American friends so that our children could make cards for loved ones back home. It was sort of organized chaos, but everyone had a GREAT time, and that’s what a party is all about!
My first piece of advice to anyone wanting to host a craft party of any kind, especially one with very small children participating, would be to have everything pre-set for each child. Once you get the activity started, kids go flipping BANANAS! This year, I pre-cut and folded the colorful cardstock in advance, and I made sure that all of the 3D stickers and special heart stickers had already been divided up evenly and set in each child’s place. The second piece of advice is make sure everyone has a set place! This has taken me an embarrassing number of parties to learn. Everything runs smoother at activity time if nobody is playing musical chairs. I try to seat siblings together so that their parents can assist them easily. That being said, for children under six years old, I always let parents know in advance that I expect them to stay with their child. Hey, I’ve got four kids of my own to help!
Since I don’t let the parents escape, I try to have a light cocktail ready to hand them when they walk in the door. This is usually the time kids get rowdy; right when they see their friends! For our Valentine party last week, I served moms and dads Rosé with some fresh raspberries. Easy, tasty, and pink!
We always try to use materials we have before purchasing more. For envelopes, we pulled together all of the extras we had from Christmas cards and birth announcements that we never sent out (you know how it goes; you order 50 custom cards, but send out 20 and have a bunch leftover you can’t doing anything with!). We had 25 large ones, and 12 small ones, so we cut our card stock to fit perfectly with those envelopes. I also had some extra paper out for little ones who just wanted to scribble and sticker, but weren’t particularly interested in the organized craft. The leftover strips of card stock worked great for place cards.
I have a bit of a strange habit of collecting and repurposing cute jars. These gourmet yogurt jars are great for crayons, pencils, and markers.
Another idea I HIGHLY recommend for craft activities is wrapping the table tightly with packing paper. It protects the table, but is also fun because they can color on it. Previously, we’ve drawn things for children to color in, but this time we were short on time and energy!
I’m not sure what the deal on helium balloons in Germany is, but you don’t find them easily. Instead, we used these floral sticks and taped them to the table. Kids love taking these home! And do make sure they take them, because, if you don’t, your own children will beat each other with them! The felt heart confetti was great because the kids were able to paste it in their cards.
Our party was at 2:00, so I only served light snacks and treats. I made homemade Love Potion (fresh pink lemonade) for kids. I only serve ONE beverage other than water at parties for children. This just simplifies things and helps to prevent sugar-highs! I’ve found that having several options for them to choose from requires an adult to be stuck playing bartender for the entirety of the party, and that’s just not necessary! My pink lemonade recipe is posted over on NIUME.
We had fruit, a veggie tray, and a cheese board for snacks, and cupcakes and chocolate covered pretzels for sweets. It was just right!
We stuck some paper hearts to the wall and used my Instax camera to take a little keepsake photo each child could take home or stick inside a valentine card.
And that’s it! I hope you find my tips helpful and that you have a very happy, loving Valentine’s Day!
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