Valentine’s day may feel like just another commercialized ‘holiday’ but it can be a great opportunity to show your kids just how much they are appreciated and loved. Here are 6 fun and creative ideas to celebrate Valentine’s day with kids, no matter their age, and inspire you to create special family memories for years to come.
Valentine’s Day may often feel like a commercialized holiday designed to make money, but I confess I have always loved (pun intended) this holiday! When I was growing up, my grandma would host a Love Dinner every year around Valentine’s Day. She would lovingly decorate tables with pink and red hearts and flowers for the whole family to gather around and enjoy the special meal she had cooked. There were even little chocolates and treats at each seat. All this to show her beloved children and grandchildren how much we are loved.
I carried those cherished memories with me as I grew up and had children of my own. Now I take every opportunity I can to celebrate Valentine’s Day and show my family just how much I love them!
Here are some easy and fun ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids!
1. LOVE YOU ENVELOPES
If you need a simple way to remind your kids of all the things you love about them, look no further than these ‘Love You’ envelopes! We have envelopes made out of felt that we hang on each person’s bedroom door (pinterest has lots of tutorials on this), but any type of envelope will do as long as there is one for each member of the family. Then, each day from February 1st through the 14th, add a heart inside each person’s envelope detailing something you love about them.
I like to write all of my hearts ahead of time so that each day I just have to grab one! It saves a lot of time and makes it much less stressful. Make it even more fun and add a small treat alongside your note. You can even use these printable hearts to make it even easier! You can also set out a stack of extra hearts and let the kids get involved, putting notes in each other’s envelopes, too. Everyone will be feeling the love leading up to Valentine’s Day!
2. MAKE VALENTINE’S FOR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS
We all remember those school Valentine’s Day parties where you pass out a little paper valentine to everyone in your class, but why not expand this activity to include other people in your life. Buy a few extra cards or print off your own and leave them on a craft table or in a basket at the kitchen table. Spend the couple of weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day making love notes for friends, family, and neighbors, then deliver them. Your kids will enjoy spreading love all throughout the neighborhood, and who wouldn’t enjoy getting an unexpected valentine from the 5-year-old next door?
3. COUNTDOWN TO VALENTINE’S DAY WITH A KINDNESS CALENDAR
Years ago I noticed that after all the Christmas fun with loved ones showering my young kids with presents, they seemed to think the entire world revolved around them. I decided to create a fun countdown to Valentine’s Day where we did something kind for someone else every day leading up to the holiday.
There are plenty of fun ways to make this countdown. You can create an actual calendar, print it out, and put it in a central location. You can also do a paper chain and have a kindness challenge written on each piece of paper or make a jar with popsicle sticks and draw one each day.
When I did this with my kids, I used small paper sacks, wrote the numbers 1-14 on cute pieces of paper that I glued on the front, then put the kindness challenge on slips of paper inside each bag. Then I folded down the bag, hole-punched it, and tied it with ribbon before attaching the bags to a string hanging up in our house. The kids loved opening a bag each day and finding out what we were going to do.
Acts of kindness for the daily challenges:
- Pull up weeds for a neighbor
- Bake cookies for a neighbor or community helper
- Leave notes for the garbage men and women
- Take a thank you basket to your local fire department
- Help your sibling(s) clean their room
- Write a thank you note for your teacher(s)
- Help shovel snow for your neighbors
- Invite someone new over for dinner
- Take little treats to your doctor or dentist office
- Give as many heartfelt compliments as you can
- Pay for someone else’s order at a coffee shop, restaurant, or grocery store (Mom and Dad might need to help with this one…)
- Call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time and share how much they mean to you
- Do an extra chore without being asked
- Help make dinner for someone who just had a baby or is perhaps going through a difficult time
4. DECORATE YOUR HOUSE
A couple of years ago our whole family was incredibly sick the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. But I still really wanted to make the day special. So I decided to decorate. I created a photo background using red, pink, and white streamers. I blew up balloons in those same colors and threw them all over the house. Then I put up twinkle lights wherever I could. We also had cut-out hearts everywhere reminding us all of how much we love each other! The decorations lifted our spirits and made the holiday even more fun. Most kids love to get involved in decorating. Let them contribute whatever ideas they would like, then run with it. Encouraging them to make special artwork or create a paper chain to drape from the ceiling is a perfect way to let them help!
5. HAVE A SPECIAL BREAKFAST
Pancakes are the go-to special breakfast in our house. I make pancakes and syrup from scratch and add festive details for whatever we might be celebrating. For Valentine’s Day I love to make them in the shape of hearts. I use food coloring to dye the pancake batter pink or red. And then we top with strawberries and whipped cream. Another family favorite is drinking strawberry milk topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. You can make any sort of breakfast feel a little more fun by using food coloring and sprinkles! Just doing cereal? Make the milk pink! Are your kids having scrambled eggs and toast? Just cut the toast into the shape of a heart. Small additions can completely change your ordinary breakfast!
You can also, with very little effort, make the table festive for when the kiddos come to the kitchen in the morning. Throw some hearts on the table and buy some heart-shaped paper plates. Or make individualized placemats with construction paper where you write personality traits you love about each kid! You can even scatter some conversation hearts down the middle of the table.
6. LOVE DINNER
I have carried on the tradition of having a Love Dinner of my own, even though it is typically just for the five of us! A love dinner can be as extravagant or simple as you want or have the capacity for. Make a super fancy meal or just cook up a pot of spaghetti. Have everyone dress up fancy (my daughter’s personal favorite) or eat in your jammies.
The first year I did this for my kids, I gave them little hand-made invitations in the morning. (They were made out of construction paper and written in Sharpie because I am fancy like that). The invitations were to a special dinner. They were so excited all day! Then, while they were out of the house, I decorated, put up twinkle lights, and prepared some fun little games for us to play together. Everyone in our family got dressed up. And we ate a really extravagant dinner…of nachos. It was perfect and so much fun! In the future I would love to invite more people to our Love Dinner. It would be a great way to let other people in our lives know how loved they are! Maybe someday I will have the capacity for that. For now, I am going to stick to simple and fun—my favorite combination.
Ideas to make your own Love Dinner:
- Have a photo spot with fun props to take silly pictures together.
- Create invitations that you can reuse every year inviting your kids to this dinner.
- Take time ahead of the dinner to plan a few Valentine’s day-themed games. You can find all sorts of ideas on Pinterest for this.
- Have a fun dessert like chocolate fondue or a cookie cake.
- Print pictures of everyone attending and use them to decorate.
- Write a little love note or poem to each of your kids and your spouse to have them read at the dinner.
- Have everyone share what they love about one another while you eat dinner.
- Make it easy and use paper plates and plasticware or make it fancy and use your best dishes!
However you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year I hope you will feel inspired to take this opportunity to emphasize to your kids just how loved they are and create special memories for years to come.
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