Wrapped in Love
Hugs and KissesThis one is a Valentine's Day version of Simon Says. A leader faces the players and calls out commands. "Hug!" means hold your arms up over your head to form a circle (like the "O" in "XOXO" for kisses and hugs). "Kiss!" means move into a jumping-jack position, with feet and arms out wide to form an X. Any other command means stay still or you are out. Play several short rounds so that several kids get a chance to be the leader and no one sits out for long.
Heart-Healthy Beanbag Toss
This game is adapted from Marie LeBaron at Make and Takes. First, make a list of kid-friendly fitness activities: jumping jacks, frog hops, side kicks, arm circles, and so on. If you have space for gear like basketballs, jump ropes, or a mini-trampoline, include those too.
Next, create a poster displaying your activities. They could be in list form, tic-tac-toe style, or even in concentric rings like a target. Place the poster on the floor. Then have kids toss a beanbag (make a heart-shaped one if you like!) onto the poster. You can have a set number of times to do each exercise, either overall or marked with the actions on the poster. Or you can have players roll a die or pick a playing card to give them a target number of jumps, kicks, and so on.
Heart-Scotch HopOutdoors, use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch course using heart shapes instead of squares. Inside, achieve the same effect with painter's tape or sturdy foam cut-outs.
Amp up the game by adding extra instructions: "Blow 3 kisses" or "Pretend to shoot an arrow like Cupid" if you land on a certain space or if your marker lands outside the course boundaries.
Heart BeatHere's another relay race option. Cut out a batch of paper hearts and write instructions on each one: Skip, crab-walk, link arms back-to-back with a teammate, and so on. Put these in a bowl or bucket at one end of the room. Split players into teams. One at a time, a player from each team runs to the bowl and picks a heart. He then returns to his team, following the instructions on his heart. Continue until everyone from one team has taken a turn, or until all players have had a chance to run.
This spin on Musical Chairs gets party-goers moving, without excluding anyone like Musical Chairs can. Find a seat fast or you'll find you're IT (but that's fun too).
You can also play Musical Valentines. Use large heart shapes taped to the floor instead of chairs. To make the game inclusive, take away one heart each round, but don't make players sit out. Instead, everyone squeezes together onto fewer and fewer hearts until they're all crammed together on the last one.
Heart and Seek
Scatter paper hearts or other Valentine trinkets (like erasers or pencils) in a designated area and challenge kids to find them. This also works well as an outdoor game. In that case, you can even make Valentine ice cubes dyed with a little food coloring, and hide these as the treasure instead.
For another variation: Use larger paper hearts in several colors, or old Valentine cards or pictures. Cut them into pieces and hide these. Once the kids collect them all, they must work together to reassemble them.