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  • Becky Carlisle Cothern

How to Innovate the traditional Valentine Party?

It’s time for Valentine’s Day. Which means the same Valentine Tea with cake and punch, the same heart-shaped Valentine box, and the same generic Valentines passed out with candy and suckers. Have you noticed that Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in school the same way for the past 100 years? I think it’s time for a change and new twist to the holiday.

Valentine Tea with a Twist:

Instead of the traditional cake and punch why not try friendship foods. Make a friendship fruit salad. Have each child bring 1 cup of their favorite fruit. Mix all the fruits together and serve with a dollop of whip cream and pink sugar sprinkles on top. To drink why not try a friendship frappe. Using some of that same fruit students brought why not add ice and pineapple juice in a blender to make a frozen frappe the kids will love. The best part is the kids can help make the valentine tea treats in a few simple minutes encouraging independence and kindness.

STEAM Valentine Boxes:

Did you know that the United States Postal Services have guidelines for mailboxes? That’s why you don’t see people using garbage cans or laundry baskets as their mailbox. It cuts down on the confusion and ensures that mail gets delivered in the right spot to the right person. However, just because there are guidelines to follow does not mean mailboxes have not had their fair share of variety and creative input. So why not bring a little fun, artistic flare, and engineering into Valentine Box design? Try giving students a list of guidelines such as size, ease of inserting mail, materials allowed, etc. for students to follow. Then using a beautiful junk donated by parents and teachers allow students to create their own Valentine Box design. An activity such as this allows students to practice those STEAM skills you’ve been incorporating into your lessons all year long.

Change the Old Valentine into a Warm Fuzzy:

Every year we receive a pile of store bought Valentine’s with some cheesy saying. The cards never show any real emotion kids just like to get the candy that comes along with the card. So, why not mix up this outdated tradition as well by handing out warm fuzzies instead of cards. Here’s how it works:

Students will make their own warm fuzzy using a foam heart shape, pom-pom, and googly eyes. After making these cute little critters students will spend the day trying to do something nice for someone else. Ideas might include leaving a card, opening the door, throwing away trash, letting someone move in front of you, etc. When a kind deed is done the person passes their warm fuzzy on to the receiver. The idea of the game is to have the least, preferably no, warm fuzzies at the end of the day.

Just make sure you set a couple of ground rules before playing such as always deliver your warm fuzzy in a kind way. Be a happy recipient of a warm fuzzy. And we are all winners for showing and accepting kindness.

Hopefully with these innovations on a few traditions your kids will start loving Valentine's Day and you will too! Enjoy!

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