Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults. Kids can celebrate love, too, and you can help them! Involving kids in Valentine’s Day festivities prepares them for Valentine’s Days of the future. There are tons of fun ways you can help the kids celebrate love! Plan an entire day of activities for them to participate in.
Start the Day Off Right
You don’t have to wait until the evening to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Focus your morning activities on food.
- Make Breakfast in Bed: Have the kids surprise your spouse by making breakfast in bed! They can help cook the eggs, pour the coffee or orange juice and arrange the food on the tray.
- Create Heart-Shaped Items: Use cookie cutters to create heart-shaped eggs, toast and pancakes! The kids can help you mix the pancake batter or crack the eggs into the pan.
- Color Everything Red: Use red and blue food coloring to create the colors of love in all your breakfast food items! Mix red and blue together to make purple, put one drop of red in to create pink and put two drops in to create a bright red. The kids will love to create patterns and designs with the food coloring.
- If you’re making muffins, you can create a marble effect with the food coloring by placing drops of food coloring on the batter and using a toothpick to swirl it around. Alternatively, you can separate the batter into multiple bowls, place one shade of food coloring in each of the bowls and then spoon different amounts into the muffin tin, using a toothpick to swirl the batter.
Cards and Gifts Throughout the Day
As you go about the day, include the kids in creating Valentine’s Day cards and exchanging Valentine’s Day gifts. Make sure you create something for them and help them create something for other people. Have the kids include heartfelt messages in your cards to your friends and parents. If your kids are too young and can only draw stick people and smiley faces, that’s okay! Your friends and family will be excited that you included your children in the process. Their doodles and scribbles add character to your cards!
Make sure you pick up some small Valentine’s Day items for your children. You can find a variety of Valentine’s gifts for kids that will make them feel included in the holiday. Add some chocolates or a small toy, too. The best way to teach your children about Valentine’s Day is to include them in everything–or at least provide them with the chance to experience a kid-version of the activities. Do you have younger children? Get them a unique personalized stuffed animal this Valentine’s Day! It’s a great way to teach your children that ordinary items can become gifts as long as there’s some love behind it.
Teach Them About Love
Another important part about Valentine’s Day is love itself. The holiday isn’t just about gifts and material things–even though that’s a large part of it. If you’re worried about how to approach the messages behind Valentine’s Day with your children, focus on the personalized aspect of it. If you’re providing gifts to your friends and family, explain to your children how they should look for personalized Valentine’s gifts that represent each person they’re getting something for.
If your child’s school is doing something for the holiday, then you might be worried about how many Valentines your child will receive or what the holiday will look like in your child’s classroom. Make sure you have a conversation with your child’s teacher, and have a discussion with your child about giving gifts on Valentine’s Day–even to people who they might not like or who might not like them. Explain that giving a couple of pieces of candy is a great way to be thoughtful so no one feels excluded.
If your children are teenagers, discuss healthy relationships between significant others with them. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, so Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to discuss the signs of domestic abuse and how a non-toxic relationship should look. Chat about what they can do to show love for their friends by paying attention to the actions of their friends’ significant others, too. You can talk about social media’s role in domestic violence, organizations and hotlines to reach out to if they need it and emphasize that they can come to you with any questions or concerns they have. Education and awareness are the two biggest ways to combat a phenomenon, so take this Valentine’s Day to teach your kids about teen dating violence.
Explain the Historical Context
Most adults know that Valentine’s Day is a Christian holiday that represents St. Valentine, a priest who was executed in the very early days of the Catholic church. There are a variety of legends surrounding St. Valentine, including that St. Valentine was executed for marrying Christians, something that was illegal in the Roman Empire. There are many activities and things you can do with your kids to teach them these legends:
- Coloring Pages: You can print out coloring pages of St. Valentine and his story for your children to color. The kids will get the chance to learn about the holiday and the man it’s named after while also getting the opportunity to create some unique colorful images!
- Read a Children’s Book: There are a variety of children’s books that focus on St. Valentine. If your children like to read, or you like to read to them, then finding a children’s book about St. Valentine is the perfect way to go! Look for books with bright colors and easy-to-understand images. Your kids will love hearing the story of St. Valentine!
- Word Searches: If you don’t want to use a pre-made word search that focuses on the religious aspect of the holiday, you can use a word search maker to create a unique word search for your children to use! Include words from the story of St. Valentine that you know the kids will find easily, such as “Claudius” or “marriage.”
Decorate the House for Valentine’s Day
Another way you can celebrate love with the kids this Valentine’s Day is by decorating the house! You can create a variety of items that represent the holiday.
- Cut-Out Hearts: Teach them how to make easy cut-out hearts by folding a piece of paper and using scissors to cut a semi-circle around the fold. You can experiment with different sizes and colors. Find some Valentine’s Day-themed scrapbook paper for some patterns, too.
- Paper Chains: Create paper chains by cutting strips of paper and linking them together. Have your kids write the names of friends, family and other loved ones on the strips of paper before you link them together. Make the chains different lengths to tape to the wall and create a unique photo backdrop where the family can take photos! You can also make them long enough to hang across the ceiling like streamers.
- Honeycomb Globes: Pick up some pink, purple and red honeycomb ornaments and globes from your local craft store! The kids can help you open the honeycombs and hang them from the ceiling. They’ll have loads of fun, plus the honeycombs add a level of definition to your decorating that will make it feel decorated for all ages.
- Pick Out Flowers: Go to your local florist or grocery store and find some fresh flowers to place in vases for Valentine’s Day! Traditionally, people use roses, but you can find a variety of other flowers that represent the holiday. Look for flowers that are pink, purple, red or white. If your children are allergic to fresh flowers, you can find some faux flowers at your local craft store. The best part about faux flowers is that they will last much longer than fresh flowers, and you can reuse them to decorate next year!
Bake, Bake, Bake!
People typically associate Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped baked goods, so why not make some homemade treats with your kids? One of the easiest baked goods to make that is also kid-friendly is sugar cookies. You can use cookie cutters to create different shapes, like hearts, bows and arrows, roses and more. You can also make some homemade royal icing to decorate the cookies, or you can use red, pink and purple sprinkles if you think icing will be too messy.
- Brownies: Chocolate is another staple of Valentine’s Day! Bake some brownies with the kiddos, cut them into heart shapes and decorate them with red icing. Feeling adventurous? Add some Valentine’s Day M&M’s into the batter before baking them.
- Donuts: Donuts are pretty hard to make at home, so it’s okay to cheat a bit and purchase these from your local donut shop! Many shops make them in heart shapes for the holiday, so get a variety of flavors to bring home for the kids. You can either have them for breakfast or bring them home for a surprise snack.
- Macaroons and Whoopie Pies: These sandwich cookie-like treats are perfect for Valentine’s Day! Make these treats in red velvet or strawberry flavors to really emphasize the holiday. Use chocolate-flavored filling, too! The kids will love getting to put the sandwiches together. Enjoy them with some hot chocolate after dinner.
- Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Sticks: What’s better than salty and sweet? Your kids will love this savory treat. The best part is that they get to help you make it! Purchase some pretzel sticks from your local grocery store as well as some melting chocolates in pink, purple, red and white. Make sure you have some sprinkles on hand to decorate with, too! After melting the chocolates, dip the pretzel sticks about two-thirds of the way and then place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Have the kiddos add different types of sprinkles to the differently-dipped pretzel sticks and then stick the baking sheet into the freezer for a few minutes so the melted chocolate can cool. You can create a drizzle technique with the melted chocolate by dipping a spoon into the chocolate and moving it from side to side quickly over the pretzel stick. The kids will have a fun Valentine’s Day treat to snack on throughout the rest of the week!
If you have a close connection with your neighbors, have the kids box the baked goods and make special Valentine’s Day deliveries to your neighbors, friends and family who live in the area! You can take some to work and, if their school allows, your kids can take them into school for their teacher to pass out. Baked goods are a great option to give your friends and family because they typically make a lot–and there’s something for everyone! If any of your family and friends have food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure to find a recipe that works for them.
Volunteer at a Shelter
Looking for something different to do this Valentine’s Day? One of the ways you can celebrate love with your kids is by volunteering at a shelter this Valentine’s! While a bit unconventional, volunteering to serve others is a great way to teach your kids about love and help them celebrate the holiday. You’ll show them the importance of showing kindness and love to others, especially those who don’t have others during Valentine’s Day. You could also look into volunteering at a nursing home or an animal shelter this Valentine’s Day, too!
Volunteering actually increases social bonds between individuals, which increases the empathy people feel for each other–and that increases the feeling of love! Dedicating some time during Valentine’s Day to serve a meal to the homeless or walk the dogs at the local animal shelter will strengthen the empathy your children feel, making them more likely to trust others in the long run and want to do more social-engagement activities.
There are tons of ways you can celebrate love with your kids. This Valentine’s Day, create long-lasting memories by focusing on the little things.