If you are planning a Valentine's Day party for children, games are essential. Here are some games appropriate for the preschool crowd.
Preschool-age children love to fish. You can create a fishing game with small toy fishing poles and hearts (as fish). Use an empty plastic tub as your "lake" and put into it red hearts cut out of construction paper or cardstock. Each heart is good for a prize. One might be good for a Hershey's kiss, or other small candy, another might be for a small plastic heart. Put magnets on the cardstock hearts and a magnet on the fishing pole. Then the kids can "fish" for hearts and win a prize at the same time. Each child should only be allowed to "catch" one fish each.
Preschoolers love balloons and you can create a heart target for them to aim their balloons at. Create a target out of cardboard or heavy cardstock and put it on the floor somewhere. You might want to have several targets on the floor. Give the kids balloons that have been blown up but aren't tied shut. Let them let go of the balloons in the direction of the target and see where their balloon lands. Be forewarned: kids will want to play this over and over again. So either have plenty of balloons ready to go (perhaps held closed with a clothespin) or have plenty of adults around who want to blow up balloon after balloon. You can also play a similar game by putting a heart target into a box or laundry basket and having the children try to hit the target with an inflated balloon. Be sure to provide prizes for everyone!
Preschool age children love a good game of "Duck Duck Goose" or "Simon Says". For Valentine's Day, you can put a twist on these classic games. Have the kids play a game of "Cupid, Cupid, Love" instead of "Duck, Duck, Goose" or have them play "Cupid Says" instead of "Simon Says". Be sure to add a smooch at the end of each order in "Cupid Says" or have the kids incorporate Valentine's Day activities, like "Cupid says, give your neighbor a hug".
This is a game young children love. Have them "throw smiles" at each other. Sit them in a circle and show them how the game will work. Only one person in the group will smile first. He or she will smile wildly and widely for the whole group. The rest of the group will not smile, not even a little tiny smirk. Once the smiling person is done, they will literally "wipe" the smile off their face and pass it to the next person in the group, who will repeat the wide smile and hope nobody laughs. The kids that laugh or smile are out of the game (those who should be stone-faced anyway). The game can continue until only one stone-faced person is left. Be sure to provide every child with a fun prize just for trying.
Preschool teachers might want to encourage creative thinking with a little game of "Valentine's 20 questions". The teacher can have a visual in mind, which might be a heart, or Cupid, or a card or something relative to the holiday. The teacher says "I'm thinking...:" and the children must ask questions about what the teacher is thinking. The teacher can give tiny clues along the way especially if he or she is losing the interest of the younger children in the group. Whoever figures out what the teacher is thinking can be the next one to begin the next round of 20 questions. Be sure to ask the child what they are thinking before the next round begins or it could go on longer than it needs to!
Children love "pin the tale on the donkey" so why not "pin the heart on Cupid"? In this game, simply provide each child with a big red heart with his or her name on it. Have a big cutout of Cupid on a wall and blindfold each child, spin him or her around and have them stick their heart on Cupid (there should be adhesive of some sort on the back of the heart). Once everyone has stuck their hearts, let them look at where they ended up.
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