There is no denying the fact that holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day become much more fun after having kids. Every family chooses their own way to celebrate; you may find that your family just likes to go with the flow and celebrate in different ways each year, or you and your kids may thrive when you practice the same traditions every single year. Either way, having some fun activities planned can help make Valentine’s Day feel special for your children. Below, we’ve listed some family ideas for Valentine’s Day, including yearly traditions that you can start and some fun activities by age group.
Yearly Traditions to Make Valentine’s Day Special for your Children
If you’re someone who likes to keep holidays simple, the idea of starting any ongoing Valentine’s Day traditions with your family may seem a little bit daunting. The good thing is, you can pick and choose any family ideas for Valentine’s Day to help make your children feel special without having to commit to repeating traditions year after year.
However, if you do thrive on routines, find the activities that your children love the most and make them your go-to when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day at home. You could make this day feel special by making a festive meal, creating Valentine’s cards for your loved ones, getting out of the house, and discussing the meaning of Valentine’s Day with your kids.
Make a Festive Meal
We all know that kids love to eat, so why not take the holiday festivities into the kitchen by preparing a Valentine’s Day-themed meal for your little ones. Start the day with a fun and festive breakfast such as heart-shaped pancakes, strawberry glazed doughnuts, or heart-shaped toast. You can get creative and come up with your own Valentine’s snacks and meals by using a heart-shaped cookie cutter or red and pink food dye to spice up any of your family’s typical favorite foods.
Create Valentine’s Cards for Loved Ones and Friends
Carve some time out of your day to sit down with your kids and fill out some Valentine’s cards for your loved ones. Think of some close family members and friends that you can easily deliver your Valentine’s cards to such as your spouse, your children’s grandparents, or some fellow classmates. Talk with your kids about why you care about the people you chose and some of the reasons you love them. This can help encourage your children to think of others and to practice gratitude for some of the positive relationships in their lives.
Get Out of the House
One fun way to celebrate any holiday is to get out of the house as a family. Pick an activity that you don’t usually do, such as trying a new restaurant or going to a local park for a picnic. Getting out and trying a new activity is the perfect family idea for Valentine’s Day because it will make the day feel special and memorable for your kids. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to do one of the fun family activities that you’ve been wanting to try such as visiting a local museum or even taking a day trip.
Talk About the Meaning of Valentine's Day
Although the true origin of Valentine’s Day isn’t entirely known, we do know that it is a day to celebrate love. Usually, people think of Valentine’s Day in the context of celebrating a special someone, such as our spouses, but there is nothing wrong with using it as a day to tell your family how much you love them as well. Talk with your children about what love means to you and share with them how grateful you are to have them in your life.
Keep it Simple
Being a parent is hard enough as it is. Adding the pressure of making every holiday festive and fun for your children can be a little overwhelming for some parents. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do a lot for your children to have a nice Valentine’s Day. You can keep it simple by just staying home and spending time together as a family. Just because you have a low-key Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that it won’t be fun and enjoyable for your children. Simply snuggling up with your family and watching a good movie is an enjoyable, low-key way to embrace this holiday with them. Be patient with yourself and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
Valentines Activities for Children by Age Group
Depending on the ages of your children, there are lots of fun activities that you can try with them at home to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Some of our favorite activities include crafts, baking, and filling out Valentines cards to send to school. Below, we’ve listed some family ideas for Valentine’s Day broken down by your children’s age group.
Infants and Toddlers
Simply set up some painting and coloring supplies and create some heart-shaped patterns with your little one. You can also set up a festive sensory bin with heart cutouts and heart-shaped rocks (make sure any hard objects are large enough to not pose a choking hazard). For younger babies, you can get some non-toxic finger paints and help them paint heart shapes on a canvas. As your baby gets older, it’ll be easier to engage them in crafts such as coloring and painting. You can also try drawing some heart shapes on a sheet of paper and have your toddler color them in for you.
Preschool and School Age Children
Once your children reach preschool and school age, you can send some Valentine’s cards to their classmates at school. Some parents may find that they thrive when it comes time to send festive cards and treats to school with their kids, while others may dread this task. Older kids can be more involved in getting the Valentines ready to send to school or helping with baking if you choose to send a baked good instead. Later on, we’ll list some additional tips to help make sending Valentines to school a little bit easier for parents who find it overwhelming.
Teenagers and Up
It can definitely be challenging to engage your teenager in certain activities such as crafts. However, it's always worth it to give it a shot. See if your teenager is interested in helping you with Valentine’s Day recipes such as baking and decorating cookies. If you’re having a hard time getting your teenager excited about these types of activities (don’t be shocked if you are), propose that you two watch a movie and order a pizza, they will likely have a hard time saying no to that!
Tips for Sending Valentines to School with Children
Sending Valentine’s cards to school is a fun activity for some parents, while others find it overwhelming. Whether you’re someone who likes to go above and beyond for your child’s class activities or you just want to do the bare minimum – there’s no shame in taking steps to make this process a bit easier on yourself. Below, we’ve listed a few tips to make school Valentine’s cards a little bit easier this year.
- Plan ahead: It will definitely make your life a little easier if you start thinking about Valentine’s Day festivities a little bit in advance. Try to get a class list to find out how many Valentines you will need to send your child with and get started on filling them out ahead of time. The more you can break up this task into smaller, more manageable bits, the less pressure you’ll feel.
- Find out about food allergies: If you plan to send a baked good or treat for your child to share with their classmates, then you’ll want to make sure to find out about any food allergies or other restrictions that exist within their class. You can always play it safe by sending non-edible Valentines if you’re unsure about allergies and don’t want to risk it.
- Use it as a teaching opportunity: Make sure to talk with your child about why you’re working together to do something nice for their classmates. Ask them about any of their friends at school and why they love and appreciate those friends. Also, make sure to discuss inclusivity and explain to your child the importance of involving all of their classmates in Valentine’s celebration.
Some parents may find that Valentine’s Day is a fun day to try new crafts and activities with their children, while others may dread the extra work of putting together a bunch of cards for school. Whatever your views are, keep in mind that this holiday can be whatever you make of it. You may choose to have a simple day with your family, plan a full day of fun, or fall somewhere in the middle. Just remember to use this day as an opportunity to tell your loved ones just how loved they are.