This past Saturday I stepped out of my comfort zone and hosted a Valentine’s Party for all the kids in my neighborhood.
Yes I am feeling alright! 😉
As many of you know I have been exploring this idea of how hospitality looks in a practical sense in my own community and since it is too cold outside for the Turquoise Table, I knew that I had to get brave and open my home if I wanted to start before Spring.
So a few weeks ago I sent a message out on our private neighborhood FB group asking if anyone’s kids would even be around and interested in coming if I had a party and to my surprise almost everyone said they wanted to come!!
We have LOTS of kids in our neighborhood. Ranging from ages 1 1/2 to 18! Our final number was 14 kids total which included my 3 youngest! Isn’t that awesome?!
I wanted to keep things fairly simple…I had a few pre-planned activities, but I knew that if I spent all this time planning stations or things to do, that the kids would rather just play…so I went onto Pinterest (The holder of all knowledge of party planning fun) and printed out coloring pages, word finds, word scrambles and Valentines Bingo cards!
The kids colored for a time but then decided to explore the house and play. I knew this was a possibility and was totally fine with it. Depending on your space this may not work for you, but I determined that I wasn’t going to stress about messes made or kids running. This was a 2 1/2 hr opportunity for them to be in a new environment and just have fun.
The kids were amazing. The played and ran and did a Just Dance competition. I think that they all had a great time. There is something about spending time in a new surrounding that is fun!
I planned the party over the lunch hour on purpose. I figured it would give the parents a break and also use up a portion of their time here. I kept things simple here as well, but WAAAAY over planned on the amount of food I needed.
We had pizza and hot dogs, carrots, grapes, Cuties and juice boxes. I bought 2 5lb bags of Cuties and think the kids ate 2 Cuties total. 🙂 Then for dessert I had mini cupcakes and bought these heart shaped sugar cookies from the local store bakery and 2 kids of frosting and sprinkles so that they could decorate their own cookie.
After lunch we played Bingo and I think that was a hit for everyone! I hadn’t gotten prizes but we had some mini candy bars left over from the treat cups in the cupboard. If someone got a Bingo, they got a treat. At one point we had 4 or 5 Bingo’s – I totally recommend that because kids of all ages can play!
Finally towards the end of the party one of the kids spotted our Elf on the Shelf movie (of all things!) and asked if they could watch it. So for 22 minutes the house was quiet as everyone piled into the living room to watch a show!
I got balloons for everyone at our local Dollar Tree and used those to decorate the kitchen, and everyone got to take one home. I also made treat cups as well.
We don’t thrown big parties for the kids on their birthdays. Honestly they have so much stuff already, and the gifts they get from us and their grandparents…it is enough. At a birthday party everyone expects to bring a gift…this type of party was so much fun and it takes the pressure off of the parents having to scramble to find something for a gift that my kids don’t need anyway!
I would host this type of party again in a heartbeat!
Clean up was pretty fast because we had used paper plates and napkins and a plastic Valentine’s table cover. We just gathered everything up and threw it out! And my kids LOVED being able to have all their friends over….they are still talking about it.
Gabriel’s only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough!
I know that opening your home can be scary…especially with adults right!?! So why not start off with a kids party?! It is a great way to meet the kids your own children spend time with and an unexpected treat in the middle of a cold cold winter!
Have you ever hosted a neighborhood party?! I’d love to hear about it and get ideas for future events!