Thinks Valentine's Day is a mushy-mushy lovey-dovey holiday to spend doing romantic things with your spouse, partner, or a hot date? Yes, but there's more to it than that. Valentine's Day for families is a thing. I think Valentine's Day is fun but I get why people might not love celebrating. Too much pressure. No special somebody. Your partner is one of those people who says you don't need a particular day of the year to express love.
But how about Valentine's Day activities for families? Celebrating Valentine's Day with kids can be really fun. The holiday is a celebration of love, so why should that be limited to the romantic kind of love?
Valentine's Day for Families: Super-fun (and easy!) activities
Maybe it's time to do something different and start some new family traditions this Valentine’s Day. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
1. Plan a scavenger hunt with the kids for Mom or Dad
Let the kids make and hide clues for mom or dad. The end of the hunt can produce a meaningful gift, such as gift certificates for favors (washing the car, cleaning out the garage, cooking dinner, etc.), homemade treats, and framed family pictures. You can get really creative and fun with this one. See what your kids come up with for prizes!
To make things easier for younger kids, one adult must be “kind of in on” the details.
2. Think about those who may be lonely on Valentine’s Day and brainstorm ways to show you care
This is a great time of year to do something kind for an elderly neighbor or residents of a retirement community or veteran's home. Let your kids make Valentine's cards, bake heart-shaped cookies, or assemble fun treat bags. Check beforehand about food allergies or whether an institution can accept homemade food items.
And, expressions of love and kindness don't have to be traditional Valentine's Day things. A small task like helping a neighbor bring their trash bins in from the curb is s just as appreciated as cards and candy.
3. Get the kids to tell you how they think Valentine’s Day started
Then do some research with them to see if their ideas are right. Challenge older kids to write a story with the facts they learn. I asked my six-year-old if he knew what Valentine's Day and he said it was a day to be nice and kiss your family. Sounds pretty good to me! We might just go with that and leave the Saint Valentine's stuff for another year but I bet older kids could come up with some fun things.
4. Don’t forget Grandparents
Have your kids write individual notes to grandparents (or other special people) and personally deliver them with a box of candy, some flowers, or some sweet treats.
If grandparents live far away, mail each note in a separate envelope with a piece of artwork. Our kids come home from school with a ton of drawings and art projects and this is a great way to manage the sea of paper that falls out of the backpack. Snail mail has gone out of fashion but that's kind of a shame. Anyone would appreciate Valentine's Day treats in their mailbox – especially grandparents.
Looking for stationary that will make your kids want to write letters? Check out this fun animal writing paper.
5. Mail your kids a Valentine’s card
They’ll love finding something special in the mailbox just for them. Share special memories or wishes you have for them. I'm super excited to try this with my kids this year. They love going to the mailbox with me and helping me carry the mail back down the street to our house. Seeing something there that has their name on it will make their day.
6. Come up with personalized ways to show love to each of your kids on Valentine’s Day
One child might appreciate more quality time with you while another may feel loved with words of affirmation or presents. Everyone's love language is different.
No matter what you come up with, this gets your family talking and spending time together. If you have more than one kid, one-on-one dates are really a neat thing. I took one of my kids grocery shopping and then rolled through the McDonald's drive-through for a milkshake to drink on the way home. He called it “our special day.”
7. Share with your kids how you celebrated Valentine’s Day when you were their age
Then have them talk to their grandparents or older friends or relatives to find out how they celebrated it. Talk about ways Valentine’s traditions with your family have changed and how they’ve stayed the same.
My kid's elementary school Valentine's Day experience is pretty similar to my own, so it's nice to see some things don't change. They loved hearing about it when I was a kid. And then they ask me questions like “Was there TV back then?” Sigh. If you really want a dose of nostalgia, you can order this 1970's Charlie Brown DVD that includes “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.”
Want something really fun? Check out these “Cootie Catcher” valentines.
8. Make Valentine’s Day a “red letter day” for your family
Decorate the house (or just a room) with hearts, streamers, and balloons. Wear a red outfit and serve heart-shaped pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Take it up a notch and offer whipped cream and red and pink sprinkles.
Make heart-shaped sandwiches to pack lunches. You might be thinking this is a little too much Pinterest and glitter for you, but just try it. It's one day. Kids really get into making a big deal out of special days. You can clean up the mess later and you'll look back on it and be glad you took the time.
9. Let the kids make an “I love you because” book for someone special
They can write special messages and include drawings or some favorite photos and artwork. All you need is a blank journal. You can use any type of blank notebook. I really like these brown paper craft notebooks you can buy in bulk on Amazon. They're easy to customize with crayons markers or other craft supplies. You can also find lots of fun journals for kids on Etsy if you want something a little more finished or something to give as a gift.
I'm really looking forward to including my family in some Valentine's Day activities this year. This doesn't give my husband a pass…I still expect something mega-romantic. And, if not that, maybe something with just the two of us. Hey, a dinner where I don't have to cut anyone else's food is sexy.