I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. My wife and I hardly acknowledge it. Not that we aren’t madly in love, have opposition to giving gifts or aren’t always looking for an excuse to have a date night. It just feels like a manufactured holiday conveniently located during a down time in the calendar. Bah Humbug!
Despite my personal indifference, I volunteered to plan my second grader’s class Valentine’s Day party. The PTA sent an email recruiting parents who would be willing to help, so I raised my hand.
My motivation: my oldest hasn’t had a normal year of school yet due to the pandemic. In turn, we as parents haven’t had a normal year of parenting an elementary-aged child. Parents entering the school is not permitted, and most school events and field trips are still on hiatus. I saw planning the party as one small opportunity to feel connected to her day-to-day school life and helping in some small way.
The PTA was explicit in that the party would only be 30 minutes, and I had a $25 budget to maneuver with. I put my thinking cap on and came up with two activities I pitched to her teacher via email:
I created 21 individual bingo boards with a subset of 30+ kid-appropriate compliments and affirmations. Fittingly, I purchased heart candies with messages for the kids to fill out their boards. School-approved candy and mechanical pencils were purchased for winning prizes. This was fun, because my daughter helped me in drafting the boards.
I developed a template for students to write and/or draw something they appreciate about an assigned, random classmate for them to share and/or post in the classroom. While her teacher green-lit this concept, I’ve been told they didn’t get around to doing this activity [INSERT SHRUGGING EMOJI].
I don’t deserve a medal. Nothing I planned is overly novel or creative. But the feedback I received (opinion of one from my daughter) is that Bingo was a ton of fun for her and her classmates, and everyone loves mechanical pencils! This, plus efficiently only spending $11 of my allotted budget, I’ll take as wins.
I’ve been told since the festivities by the lone male member of the PTA board that I was the first dad in the history of the elementary school to volunteer to help plan a party. Whether that’s true or not, I’m happy I contributed.
Coincidentally, this week our home school district announced masking will be optional starting next week and volunteers can start coming back into the building again for the first time in two years. Not sure if this is my first or last class party I’ll plan, but fingers crossed for more normalcy for school-aged kids and the parents who want to be involved - even if it just means buying suckers and drafting bingo sheets.
-Steven Michalovich, CBUS Dads contributor
CBUS Dads is a community of central Ohio area dads balancing an active lifestyle with being an involved parent. A Saturday for us may involve enjoying morning t-ball, lunch at a new local spot and an evening at a summer festival with our families. We may live downtown, in the suburbs or somewhere between, but our common thread is that we continue to experience the community we love - now as parents.