Do you want to host an easy Valentine’s Day party for kids without spending a bundle or planning loads of activities? These practical tips will help you plan and host a Valentine’s Day party that the neighborhood kids (and their parents!) will love.
One early spring day when I was six, I came home from kindergarten and proclaimed to my mother,
“All my friends are coming over on Saturday for an Easter egg hunt! I invited the whole class. It’s gonna be so much fun!”
There was just one teensy problem.
My mom had absolutely no plans to host a party for my entire kindergarten class.
But rather than disappoint me and 20 five- and six-year-old kids, my parents threw together an egg hunt in our front yard a few days later.
I don’t remember what we ate or what I wore, but I do remember running around the yard with my friends having an absolute ball.
And I remember that my mom said YES.
Between her job as a nurse and taking care of my grandmother, she certainly had her hands full. But, she recognized the opportunity for fun and made it happen.
Simplicity is the stuff of memories.
I’ve been a party planner from a very early age, but usually stress out before hosting an event. It’s so hard not to get caught up in Pinterest perfection, but when it came to hosting a Valentine’s Day party for kids last year – the kids belonging to my very best friends who are more like family – I relaxed my expectations.
Instead of going hog-wild at the party store and Pinterest, I took a cue from my parents: kept it simple, and just did it!
The kids had so much fun, and I was a calmer, more engaged hostess.
So even if your kid invites their whole class over for a party without telling you, these tips will help you plan a stress-free soiree!
Valentine’s Day Party for Kids: 8 Tips for a Stress-free Event
1. Use Your Craft Supply Stash
Since a big part of our party was a Valentine’s Day card exchange, the kiddos created their own “mailbags” to collect cards.
You know how kids love to play with empty boxes more than the actual stuff that came in the box? Well, they can also have a ball with a plain paper lunch bag. Instead of spending money on Valentine’s Day craft kits, I raided our pantry and art caddy for supplies that let the kids stretch their creativity.
Ask your friends to bring supplies, too. One of my friends had a big bag of stickers left over from a school project that she was happy to contribute.
Be sure to spread the craft supplies evenly across the table so little arms won’t have to reach too far.
2. Do the crafts first.
Make your Valentine’s Day crafts before serving pizza or decorating cupcakes, because it’s much faster to scoop extra sequins into a bowl than it is to clean up sauce or frosting.
3. Keep the menu simple and embrace potluck. And wine.
When you host a Valentine’s Day party for kids, there’s no need to spend lots of time cooking or making cutesy heart-shaped snacks. All they want is pizza, pasta, mac n’ cheese, or hot dogs.
For lunch or dinner, try these kid-pleasing options:
- Order pizza or pasta dishes from a local restaurant (9 times out of 10 this is what my friends do)
- Make a lasagna or other baked pasta dish the night before, and just heat and serve
- Heat up frozen pigs in a blanket or make your own with crescent rolls
- Make or purchase fruit and veggie platters
For brunch, try:
- Bagels and cream cheese (even better if from a local bagel shop)
- Egg and cheese casserole
- Baked French toast (make the night before)
- Store-bought or homemade quiche
- Box of Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts (always a favorite)
Remember: It’s okay to ask guests to contribute! Most people expect it and are happy to do so. Whether it’s stopping to pick up the bagels, veggie platter, or a carton of juice, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t forget “Mommy’s juice”!
There are a dozen kids running around your house, so you deserve a glass of wine or a simple cocktail. This mulled wine spritzer is delicious, and my friends loved it!
4. Choose “Semi-Homemade”
What Valentine’s Day party for kids is complete without sweets?! After crafting and eating, it’s time to decorate cupcakes!
You’re a busy gal, so skip all the “from scratch” nonsense and use a boxed mix to make cupcakes before the kids arrive.
Remember this: Kids don’t know or care whether you baked all morning or if the frosting is real buttercream.
Set up the cupcakes and decorations on a nearby table (in this case, our sideboard), and it will be easy to transfer everything over to your main decorating spot.
5. Save Money and Time by Printing Cards at Home
If you work all week, it’s challenging to find the time to go to the store for Valentine’s Day cards, and even harder to coordinate bringing your child with you so they can choose what they like.
Instead, browse the web with your kiddo to find cute and free printable Valentine’s Day cards (like the ones you can get at the end of this post!).
Your child can practice their fine-motor skills by helping you to cut the cards.
6. Determine a card exchange process in advance.
File this tip under lessons learned the hard way! The card exchange is chaotic because the kids are so excited. If it’s a free-for-all, their cute mailbags will get ripped and they’ll forget who they already exchanged with.
So, decide in advance how the card exchange should happen. Consider lining up all the Valentine’s mail bags in one spot, and have each child drop their cards into the bags one at a time.
7. Keep cleanup easy
Chatting with friends with a glass of wine in hand is way better than chatting with friends while washing dishes, right? Disposable or recyclable plates and utensils and a giant plastic tablecloth make post-party cleanup much easier and faster.
Instead of holiday-specific plates, buy a value pack of colorful paper plates so you can use extras for playdates and family pizza nights. These pink paper plates were left over from my daughter’s birthday party, and I supplemented them with just one pack of Valentine’s plates.
Pro tip: Invest in a cordless hand-vacuum cleaner! They’re awesome for sucking sequins from your dining room rug and are easy for kids to use.
8. Embrace the Mess
Look, things are gonna get messy when you host a Valentine’s Day party for kids. There’s really no way around it, which is especially hard for us perfectionists. But as my dear friend said,
Why should I clean up for you? The kids will just destroy the place anyway!
Truer words were never spoken! 🙂
A Valentine’s Day Party Kids Will Love
With basic supplies from your craft stash and cupboard, some boxed cupcake mix, take-out pasta and an easy cocktail recipe, you’ll pull off a party to remember!
Check out these other ideas!
- 5 Free Printable Valentine's Day Cards for Kids + Non-Candy Treat Ideas
- How to Make 3 Easy Valentine's Day Mantel Decorations in 30 Minutes
- How to Transform Broken Crayons Into Perfect Party Favors
- Teacher Valentine's Day Card - Free Printable