The planning of Valentine’s Day festivities becomes immeasurably different after having children. But just because this holiday is commonly thought of as a time for romance, doesn’t mean you can’t plan activities that involve the kids. There are a lot of fun original ways to make February 14th a memorable occasion for the young ones as well as the parents. Below are a few examples of what you can do this year to show appreciation and love to everyone in your home. There are a lot of options here so feel free to try more than one. But before you decide how you plan to celebrate, keep the following advice in mind:
- It doesn’t need to be difficult.
- It doesn’t need to be expensive.
- It doesn’t have to look good.
- The gesture itself means more than the result.
- It’s supposed to be fun!
Okay, here you go:
Valentine’s Day Ornaments
Go all-out on Valentine’s themed ornaments. Cover the kitchen and dining rooms with heart balloons, red and white streamers and heart shaped confetti. Wear a red apron or outfit, put a red table cloth on the dinner table and make heart shaped meals: sandwiches and pancakes are classics and easy to whip together with the help of cookie cutters. Plus, a little red food coloring will make whatever dish you make more festive. Try to incorporate food that’s red in every meal: peppers, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, watermelons. Embrace the colors associated with this holiday to put everyone in the spirit to enjoy it.
Get some heart-shaped sprinkles, make some pink cupcake batter and stock up on red icing! Then divide the family into teams and have a Valentine’s Day themed dessert bake off competition right in the kitchen. There are dozens of recipes for these types of dishes online so have each group pick one and get the kids to help you make it. No matter who wins the contest the little ones will be happy with the amount of sweets that are suddenly in the house.
Try this great recipe from allrecipes.com.
- One of the traditions I still practice is crafting an “I love you because…” book with my siblings for someone we really care about: parent, grandparent, aunt, neighbor, etc. Everyone in the home gets a piece of construction paper and draws a picture or writes a heartfelt message to whomever the book is going to. Once each page is finished, each individual work is stapled together to create the makeshift book. If possible, include photographs of the lucky recipient and have the finished product bound at a local print shop to make it look cooler. These homemade Valentine projects make for fun group activities that are especially great for younger kids since it gives them a chance to be creative. It also has the lasting benefits of showing them the incentives of treating others with compassion and making kind gestures.
- Have everyone make a Valentine’s Day card from scratch for every other person in the house or just assign a family member to each person. Assuming the kids are old enough to write, have them prepare cards as well. To make it more fun, task your children with thinking of creative ways to give their card to their assigned recipient. Some fun ideas: hide it under their pillow, tape it to the bathroom mirror or put it in the microwave (just be sure they see it before heating up their food!). Turn this part of the activity into a game to see who can come up with the most clever way to present their Valentine.
- Organize a scavenger hunt with the kids for your significant other by making and hiding clues for them. Decorate the clues themselves with candy or heart stickers and prepare a meaningful gift at the end , such as notes of love and appreciation, drawings, flowers, homemade treats or a home cooked meal, a coupon for a spa appointment, framed family pictures, etc.
- Prepare Valentine’s Day jars for your children that include notes of affection, baked goods, stickers, confetti or anything that they can put in their rooms. If possible, have your kids prepare a jar for your spouse to take to work or get them to paint a Welcome Home banner for them.
- Bust out all the craft supplies at your home for a day of artistic expression! Encourage your children to draw all the people, places and things that they love and if you’re so inclined, join in on the fun! Once everyone’s finished, combine all the individual drawings into a collage displaying all of the people and things your family loves. And if you’re short on supplies but still want to do something like this, find out if there’s a pottery store that offers lessons near your home and take everyone to a class.
- Now if your kids really enjoy making Valentine’s Day cards and you’re feeling particularly generous, have your children make as many letters and drawings as they can. Then take them to a nursing home or homeless shelter and distribute them out to all the residents. It’s sure to get a smile on everyone’s faces.
While it is February and it’s probably still a bit chilly outside, not all Valentine’s Day plans have to include being indoors. If it’s a nice day, take everyone to the park for a picnic, hike, bike ride or anything that you can do together. Then take the family out to a place you all enjoy like a restaurant, a bowling alley, a movie theater or really anywhere that you like to go. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, go eat somewhere you’ve never been or try an exotic restaurant with food you’re unfamiliar with. This will make for a more memorable holiday even if the meal itself isn’t particularly enjoyable.
Family Movie Night
Ask everyone what their favorite romantic movie is, write them all down and then pick one out of a hat to decide which one to watch. If your kids don’t like romantic films, use animated movies instead. Or if your family prefers to play games, have a family board game night and let the kids pick which one they want to play. Personally, I like Bananagrams.
Remember, this is a day when people are actively encouraged to treat others with compassion and kindness, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to show your children why these are things worth celebrating. Group hugs go a long way. Good luck and happy Valentine’s Day!