It’s February. The month when hearts and cupids invade the stores and love is in the air. And while the month’s focus is mostly on romantic love, the love a parent feels is always worth celebrating. So this year, make Valentine’s Day about the whole family with a few fun, simple ideas.
Mornings can be rushed, but don’t let that stop you from starting Valentine’s Day off right by setting out a few surprises the night before. “I get Dollar Tree Valentine balloons and tie them to the back of our kitchen chairs as a ‘surprise’ for Valentine’s morning,” says Halley Sullivan.
Other parents adorn their child’s bedroom door with heart-shaped cutouts and write what they love about him or her. Imagine your kiddos’ delight when they read all the things you love about them! Both of these ideas take a little planning, but they are simple ways to warm your child’s heart without much effort on a hectic weekday morning.
If you have a little extra time, breakfast can be a great opportunity for Valentine’s Day fun as well. Just whip up some pancake batter, add a few drops of red food coloring to tint them pink and pour out fluffy, heart-shaped pancakes your child will love. Or, skip the dye and add sliced strawberries for heart-shaped color and a boost of fruit flavor. If you’re an expert pancake-maker, try spelling out “I LOVE YOU.” Too many letters? Replace “love” with a heart and “you” with just “U!”
If pancakes aren’t popular in your house, make “toads in a hole” (also known as “nest eggs”, where scrambled eggs are served in a cutout hole in a piece of toast) and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter instead of a cup to make the hole! Similarly, use that cookie cutter on the bread for French toast (or for a PB&J sandwich in your child’s lunch!).
Valentine’s day crafts that are simply LOVE-ly
If you’re home with your little loves during the day, a few simple Valentine’s Day crafts can keep everyone in the mood. Get the day started by giving your child a few pages of Valentine’s Day stickers to make cards for everyone she or he loves. One year, we made heart-shaped suncatchers using coffee filters, markers and a blowdryer. Just cut the filters into hearts, let the kids color it and then spray a little water on to watch the colors spread and mix. Use the blow dryer to speed up the drying process. Hang in a sunny window as a reminder of the love and fun you share.
Pinterest offers printable scavenger hunts or you could make your own “heart hunt” by simply hiding heart cut-outs around the house. If you have a builder in your family, pick up some toothpicks and heart-shaped gummies or marshmallows and let your child connect them together into fun, towering creations. (This activity is also fun with grapes any time of the year!)
If you’re dreaming of being outside, grab a cardboard toilet paper roll and let your child cover it with stickers or construction paper. Add some pink and red streamers for an almost-instant windsock to hang outside. (Be sure to either warn your child of its eventual destruction or make sure to hang in a protected area!)
Use Valentine’s Day to spread some love
Valentine’s Day gives parents an opportunity to spread love and do some good. Bake some dog treats for your beloved pooch and take extras to the Humane Society or Teddy’s Rescue. Or remind an elderly neighbor that you care by dropping off a bouquet of flowers or plate of homemade cookies.
Last year, Megan Anderson found herself home with a sick kiddo and used the time together to show the outdoor birds a little love by making a heart-shaped bird feeder using just pipe cleaners and plain cheerios. It’s a craft that they plan to repeat again this year.
Instead of a romantic dinner and dancing, plan a family dinner and dance party. Take your family’s favorite meal and follow it with a playlist of fun that gets everyone moving. Then, cap the night off by serving up a delicious dessert to enjoy (with a little less guilt after busting all those moves!). To settle those little ones down, send them to bed with some extra sweetness by taking turns going around the table saying what you love about each person. It’s simple and free but gives your family a priceless way of celebrating the unique love you share.
So this year, whatever you do, take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to gush over your children and celebrate the indescribable love between parent and child.