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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Preschool Valentine's Day Party

{Real Parties}

My daughter is growing up to be as obsessed with parties as I am.  She was very much looking forward to her preschool's Valentine's Day party, for which my husband and I are room parents of her class, therefor, in charge of planning their party.  Now as I have mentioned in my previous post about her preschool's Halloween party, the following were the party planning stipulations:

  • No treats or snacks of any kind.
  • There is a very limited budget, my total party budget for this party for 15 kids was $45.
  • The party must be less than 40 minutes long.
  • The party must be appropriate for a variety of aged kids, ages 2-5 and at widely varying developmental levels.
Read on to find out what we planned.

The Kissing Hand
My daughter and I happened upon this adorable app for the iPad, an interactive version of Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand.  The best part, it was FREE.  You can choose to read the story by yourself or have it read to you.  The words are highlighted if you choose the "Read to me" version.  Also, your child can tap words to hear them or objects for sound and animation.  I found the moral of the story (to not be sad when you go off to school because your mommy (or daddy,) is with you in your heart, was great to reiterate to preschoolers.  They also learned the sign language for "I love you."

Valentine Cards
Using the sign language for "I love you," I had the kids make Valentine cards for people that they loved.  I traced their hand on a peach piece of foam and cut it out.  Then I folded over their middle finger and index finger and taped them down to the middle of their hand.  The kids used stickers, crayons and rubber banded toilet paper rolls in the shapes of hearts to stamp and decorate their Valentines.

Mail Delivery and Sorting
The teacher had asked that one of the stations be having the kids deliver their boxed Valentine cards that were brought from home to each student's box.  I wanted to make this more of an open-ended activity in case kids got done with this task and then became bored.  A friend of ours was creative enough to give my daughter a handmade mail bag and little mini envelopes sewn and made from felt as a birthday gift a while ago.  I replicated her design to make a Valentine's themed mail bag, using a satchel we found on clearance at a craft store, some iron on letters and additional felt.  I designed some of the envelopes to have flaps that opened so that they could hold a real "letter" inside.  To help the kids practice their number recognition, each "letter" had a number 1-5 written on it and they were to sort the mail into the appropriate basket that held the heart with the same corresponding number of sticker hearts on it.  The mini mail boxes were found in the dollar section at Target.  So cute!  This station was by far the most popular, the kids loved the dramatic play!

Playdough Cookies
I killed two birds with one stone on this playdough making.  I'll post about the party favor for my daughter's Strawberry Shortcake party soon.  This recipe for homemade playdough is of the strawberry variety.  The recipe is below.  Each child was given their own baggie of red playdough and they rolled, cut, and flattened and used a variety of heart shaped cookie cutters to make pretend playdough "cookies."  The kids got to take their playdough home as a party favor since we wanted to discourage candy treats.  This station is where my husband politely requested to be put in charge.  Playing with playdough is fun no matter what your age!

Strawberry Playdough Recipe
Serves/Makes: 20 cups    |   Difficulty Level: 3    |   Ready In: < 30 minutes

8 cups flour
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 packages un-sweetened strawberry Kool-Aid- this will make the playdough red, no need for food coloring
2 cups salt
16 tablespoons cream of tartar
8 cups water

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and Kool-Aid in a large cooking pot. Add water and oil. Stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball in pan, remove. Knead until smooth. Store in a covered plastic container.

*Note- Since I multiplied this recipe to make so much, I divided this into two separate batches so the pot wasn't overflowing.  Also, be prepared for the mixture to be pretty sticky at first,  it needs to be kneaded until it smooths out but don't worry, it will.

Again, I had an overall budget of $3 per child.  Not too shabby huh?  I may have had as much fun planning as the kids had at the party.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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