Overview: Valentine's Day is such a fun holiday to celebrate, but how do we do that without opting for a party instead of precious learning time? Party with a purpose! Our Valentine's Day Social Etiquette Party is perfect for any grade and teaches some of the most valuable (and parent-appreciated) skills of all...manners!

What is a Valentine's Day Social Etiquette Party?

A Valentine's Day Social Etiquette Party is a Valentine's Day-themed party for school-aged children, teenagers, and even young adults that teaches table manners and dining etiquette. It offers a unique opportunity that is opposite of traditional Valentine's Day parties that include lots of candy and craziness.

How to Implement a Valentine's Day Social Etiquette Party

The goal of this type of party is to provide an opportunity for students to learn and practice table manners. To set the stage, your setting needs to provide a place to dine. Tables can be covered with table cloths and set up with place settings. Some fun Valentine's Day confetti and name cards for each child's seat add a fun touch.

In terms of menu, it is completely up to you. You could host a lunch that is catered by the parents. You could also allow the students who buy to go get their lunches and bring it back to the classroom, while those who brought set theirs up on paper plates provided. You could also just plan for snacks during the last part of the day. Either way, have at least one item to offer students so that they can practice saying, "yes, please" or "no, thank you" when being served. Healthier food items, such as popcorn, fruit, hummus and crackers, or ants on a log are obviously better options than sugary items filled with artificial ingredients and dyes. Keep it simple. Most every kid, if not all of them, will be thrilled to be in attendance and not in a math lesson.

To begin the party, have the room staged like a resturant. Have the children enter with classical music playing and as they find their seats, the boys can practice pulling out the chairs for the young ladies. Throughout the party, talk about and practice how to use napkins, how to sit at the table, and how to say, "yes, please" or "no, thank you" when being served the food and drink items. Of course, we talk about how to eat our food (not with our mouths open!), appropriate conversation for dining as well as the appropriate voice level when talking to people you are dining with. We even learn how to toast.

This type of party is always a hit with kids and parents definitely appreciate it. You can choose to plan ahead and have your kids dress the part. Girls may choose to wear skirts or dresses and the boys can wear a nice shirt with pants or even a tie.

Tips for Implementation:

  • Recruit parents to help with set-up. If possible, choose a time when the students are out of the classroom so they can arrive back at their restaurant.
  • Provide a sign-up sheet the week before for parents to contribute food items.
  • If your classroom is not equipped with tables, move desks together to form clusters.
  • Don't forget about the music! Set the stage with something soothing like Classical, Jazz or nature sounds.
  • Calling all Scrapbookers...get really fancy and make a formal invitation to the children. Use your invite theme to make the place settings and decorations.
  • If time allows and the kids are up for it, include a little lesson on dancing. Fancy, right?