I found this site that has links for different patterns for poetry. Each child chose which style they wanted to use and then used the pattern to create their own poem. We had 2 noun verses, 1 cinquain and 1 haiku. In addition we looked at famous love poems and each child selected a short Valentine poem to learn and recite for the party.
Here's a couple of cute books to set the mood...The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting and Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda. The Sabuda book tells the history of Valentine's Day and uses illustrations of mosaic tiles. The Valentine Bears is a sweet story of a mother and father bear who set the alarm to wake up from hibernation to celebrate the day.
For decorations, Sweetheart candies were our inspiration. We cut lots of heart shapes, tracing cookie cutters as templates, using the same colors as the Sweetheart candies. The kids copied the Valentine wishes onto the hearts - "YOU'RE FINE", "ASK ME", "SO COOL", FRIENDS 4 EVER", etc. We put them up all around the room.
At the party today, we played a game called "Throwing The Smile", made chocolate lollipops, did a Valentine craft, and recited poetry and ate cupcakes. Lunch was not very "Valentine-ish" - turkey chili dogs, but the kids loved them anyway. I made an easy Valentine drink that I hope made up for it though. I gave each child a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a clear plastic cup, then filled it with strawberry soda. Yummy and very pink!
Here are more details from the party:
Game: "Throwing The Smile"
This game is taken from the Family Fun website. In this game, players try to keep from smiling, if they can!
1. Players sit in a circle, making sure they can see everyone else. One player who is "It" starts the game by smiling widely, while all the other players are somber. "It" then uses his hand to wipe the smile off his face and throw it to another player who has to catch the smile with his hand and put it on.
2. This new "It" can then wipe off the smile to throw to someone else--though he will probably choose to mug wildly at everyone for a few minutes before relinquishing his happy role. Meanwhile, all other players must sit stone-faced. One smirk and they're out.
Very fun, great for any age.
This is one of the most rewarding activities. They're so simple to make, but the result looks like a lot more work. I get my supplies from the cake decorating section at Michael's.
You need: a bag or two of candy melts (depending on how many you want to make) - I bought white and brown candies for today, but have used other colors in the past with good results; a tray of plastic candy molds (we used heart shapes), lollipop sticks, clear cellophane bags. You don't need any special stirrers or squeeze bags. Empty a bag of candy melts into a glass bowl and melt in the microwave. I stir after one minute and then cook it for another minute. Stirring well helps it melt. Before we poured the chocolate, we added sprinkles to the bottom of the molds - white sprinkles for the brown chocolate and rainbow sugar crystals for the white chocolate. Then, spoon the melted chocolate into the molds and insert the lollipop stick. I put them in the fridge for about an hour. When they're hard, pop them out of the mold and put them in the cellophane bags. Tie with a ribbon. So easy!
Craft: "You're loved because...." Heart Ornaments
This is similiar to this craft, but with a little bit more added. Before the kids glued their hearts together, each of the other children had written on each other's hearts filling in the blank "You're loved because ________". We had 7 party-goers all together, so each child had six hearts to glue together. They each made two heart ornaments (3 hearts per ornament). Everyone read their Valentine's out-loud and it was sweet to see how happy it made them to read all the nice things the others had to say. We're going to save ours and use them as ornaments on our Christmas tree.
Entertainment: Poetry Reading
We had 5 Valentine poems recited. Little Brother wanted to do 2 poems. One of them was "Won't you be my honeybee and fly away with me, we'll bumble along together 'cause you're my honey-bee." Middle Brother recited, "I love you, I love you, I love so well, if I had a peanut, I'd give you the shell." Sister did the classic poem by Robert Burns, "A Red, Red Rose", and Big Brother recited this poem, author unknown, "It is almost here, that special time of year. When hearts and flowers by the hours are brought to all who seek; When kisses swirl and words do peak into little tufts of cotton candy, my sweet. So be my love and be my own and call me on the telephone or send a card, that is not hard, right to my waiting door, and I'll be yours forevermore."
By the end of the party, the lollipops were cooled; we put them in the cello bags for everyone to take home.