February 2, 2023

Valentine’s Day may be about passion and romance for some but, for parents, weekend getaways and romantic dinners for two are rarely on the menu. No matter how you celebrate with your significant other, be sure to embrace the fun that you can have with your children on this day of love too.

Ready to create some family-friendly Valentine’s Day traditions that include even the littlest loves of your life? Here are ways to celebrate with kids of all ages:

1. Off to a good start. Prepare a Valentine’s Day brunch to show your special someone how much you care. Make pink pancake or waffle batter with food coloring or berry juice, then top your fluffy creations with cut strawberries and whipped cream. Use cookie cutters to make the waffles or pancakes into heart shapes for extra points.

2. Put your heart on display (or your shirt). This is the day for your little girl to shine if she enjoys the color pink! Help her find a wonderful Valentine’s Day outfit, then help her decorate with jewelry and hair ribbons that feature hearts. Not a fan of the pink and adorable look? Purchase plain t-shirts and fabric paint at the neighborhood craft shop, then let your kids create.

3. Create personalized Valentines. Making homemade Valentines may seem difficult, but with the correct supplies, it can be simple. Your children can embellish hearts they’ve cut out of colored construction paper with stickers, glitter, and candied hearts. Lacking time? Use this embellishing technique create partially handcrafted Valentines made from pre-made cards.

4. Share some love. Deliver some of the Valentine cards to a nearby nursing home or children’s hospital in addition to presenting them to friends and family members. Bring your kids along so they may witness how much the modest act meant to others.

5. Write letters of appreciation. Take the traditional Valentine’s Day card one step further by sitting down at the table with your kids and writing letters of appreciation to the important people in your lives. Grandparents, teachers, and long-distance relatives will all enjoy hearing how much your family cares.

6. Get heart-healthy. February is American Heart Month, so use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to educate your kids about the importance of exercising for their heart-health. Plan an annual family walk or bike ride, or crank up the love songs and get your hearts pumping with a Valentine’s Day dance party.

7. Adorn your house. Why not decorate for Valentine’s Day if you already do so for Halloween and Christmas? Shop at the dollar shop for low-cost decorations like streamers, balloons, silk roses, and tablecloths with heart designs. Ask your children to assist you in decorating your home for Valentine’s Day.

8. Arrange a celebration for children. Invite a handful of your kids’ friends—or just their stuffed animals—to a party now that the house is all decked out. Online, you can get free printable templates for games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Valentine’s Bingo. Sprinkles and pink frosting can be used to adorn cookies or cupcakes in the shape of hearts. Serve a sparkling pink punch in plastic champagne flutes to your visitors to make them feel special. The drink is made of pink lemonade and strawberry-flavored sparkling water in equal proportions.

9. Make strawberry-covered in chocolate. Even children like this traditional Valentine’s Day goodie! If you get a package of microwave-safe dipping chocolate, they can (nearly) create it by themselves. Fruit should be dipped in melted chocolate and laid on wax paper. Put these sweets in a package to share or give as a gift.

10. Take part in a treasure hunt. Write clues on paper hearts, then hide them throughout your house to create a Valentine’s Day adventure. Participants should follow each clue to the next until they reach the last special gift or message.

11. Promote a passion for reading. A book like Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is ideal for reading aloud. Or share Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda with your family to learn about the ancient Roman priest and healer who is said to be the inspiration behind Valentine’s Day.

12. Perform unplanned deeds of compassion. Did you know that the week of February 9–15 is Random Acts of Kindness Week, which includes Valentine’s Day? Make charitable acts in your neighborhood, greet people with smiles, or bring flowers to an elderly neighbor. See who among your children can list the most acts of kindness performed throughout the day.

13. Enjoy a family date night. Skip the reservation for two and take the whole family out for a night on the town instead. Get dressed up in nice clothes and dine at a restaurant you all enjoy. End the evening with a stroll around a lake under the stars.

14. Say “I love you.” How often do you say those three simple words out loud? No matter how else you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, there’s no better way (or day) to let your children know how just how special you think they are!