Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Party Bean Bag Toss

My daughter (5) requested a bean bag toss for her class Valentine's Day party at school this year. I make bean bag toss games for many holidays and parties so it was easy to make one in just a short time.

Here's what you'll need:

cardboard box
old steak knife or cutting tool
half a yard of fabric total in different patterns as desired
plastic sandwich baggies
dry beans
sewing machine/needle and thread

Start with a cardboard box in the size you wish your bean bag toss game to be.  Trim off all the flaps so you're left with a solid base to cut on.  Draw your design on the box, including holes for the kids to toss bean bags through.  I made the word "LOVE" with the "O" being a toss hole, and a couple hearts for Valentine's Day.  Now carefully cut out your design using your steak knife or other cutting tool. A simple steak knife works so well for me and I have so much control when cutting out shapes like hearts!

Now you're ready to decorate your box. I painted mine with Crayola washable paints, which dry really quickly.  You can also use construction paper or markers if you're in a time crunch.  But really, the paint goes on fast and dries so quickly!

As that dries, start making your bean bags. Cut your fabric into 5 inch squares - you'll need two squares for each bean bag.  I made a total of six bean bags in three different patterns.  I found really cute, inexpensive fabric at Wal-mart for this project.

For the inside of our beanbags, I bought a bag of dry beans from the grocery store. Molly helped me fill six sandwich bags with about 3/4 cup of the beans in each and seal them up.  Fold each bag in half, then in half again so it's the right size.

Place two squares together, with the fabric design facing each other.  Sew around three complete edges, and part of another edge. Leave that hole open so you can turn it right-side-out. Then put the plastic baggie filled with beans inside your semi-sewn bean bag.

Finally, fold the open edges in a little and sew it closed. That way you won't have any rough edges poking out. You can also sew this part by hand.  Be careful not to sew the plastic bag inside so you don't mess up your sewing needle.  I have a set of bean bags I made this way from five years ago and they're still perfect, so these will stand up to lots of play and last for years to come!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Party Game Ideas

The first month and a half of 2013 has flown by and Valentine's Day is tomorrow!! I am in charge of the games at my daughter's kindergarten class party tomorrow so I thought I should hurry and share my ideas before it's too late! I have researched and come up with three different game stations for tomorrow. These games are really simple so you should have no problem throwing them together at the last minute.

First is a game I've planned is called "Matchmaker."  I have made large paper hearts, using different paper and colors for each one.  Have fun with the layers to make it tricky and be sure to add a heart-shaped piece of white paper to the back of each one to make it tricky! Once those are dry (I just used a glue stick so it went pretty quickly), cut each heart in half. You can do a straight line or a zig-zag line, or use special scissors with a zig-zag shape to them like I did and end up with a straight zig-zag line.  You get the picture. I made eight halves, so this is for eight kids - make as many hearts as you need for your group.

Here's how to play: have all the kids stand in a circle with their eyes closed. Keep all your heart halves in a bag and take it around so each student can pull one out without looking! Once everyone has their piece, tell them to open their eyes and find their match - the student who's holding the other half of their heart! Whichever couple pairs up the fastest wins. This will go quickly, so you may want to play a few rounds or use this as a fun way to pair up students for a second game, like my next one:

Here is a racing game I've named "I LAVA You!" All you need is four big hearts total for the kids to step on. You can use large 12" x 12" sheets of red card stock like I did, or even just cut them out from paper plates. You know I love paper plates.

Here's how you play: Line the kids up so they will race two at a time and give each racer two large hearts. Use tape to mark off a starting line and a finish line on the floor. When the race starts, kids must only step on their hearts to get to the finish line. Have them stand on one heart as they place the second one in front of them, then step to that one and move the previous heart in front. Keep going until they reach the end, careful not to touch the floor with their hands or feet. Pretend the floor is hot lava - hence the cute name!