Valentine’s Day marks the transition from a long (and for many, challenging) winter to the hopeful first signs of spring. It’s a good reason to celebrate as a family.
Your plans don’t need to be elaborate or expensive to make the occasion special. Small touches can build excitement for a heartfelt celebration. We have compiled some simple and sweet ideas to shower your family with love!
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Toddlers: Hands-On Activities for the Five Senses
Make this Valentine’s Day a multi-sensory celebration for your toddler with activities for each of their five senses. They will feel, listen, taste, see, smell (and love) these sweet ideas!
Touch. When you can’t see grandparents or loved ones in person, create valentines personalized with your kiddo’s fingerprints, handprints, or footprints to feel a little closer. Or send them a virtual hug with a hug-o-gram! They will love the feel of paint on their toes and fingers.
Sound. Turn up the tunes for a game of freeze tag. When the music stops, everyone must freeze in place like a statue until the music starts again. This is a great listening skills game.
Taste. Fill your Valentine’s Day with sweet treats! For snack time, dip large stick pretzels into cooled melted chocolate or frosting. Your kiddos can roll these in mini chocolate chips and sprinkles in a shallow pan for easy cleanup.
Sight. Go on a Hearts Hunt—set up indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. Cut out a handful of small hearts from either construction paper in red and pink or waterproof foam core for outside. Hide the hearts in low and easy-to-see places for your toddler to find.
Smell. Not only will they be able to create fun shapes out of play dough, but it will smell great when you add Jell-O to the mix! Try cherry, raspberry, or strawberry for a sweet scent and the perfect shade of pink.
Jell-O Play Dough Recipe:
- 1 C flour + 1/2 C extra flour for kneading
- 1 C water
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 oz. package of Jell-O (cherry, raspberry, or strawberry)
Combine all ingredients. Pour into a nonstick saucepan and heat on low, stirring until a ball forms. Cool completely on wax paper. Knead the dough and add flour as needed until the mix is smooth and not sticky. Store in a Ziploc bag for up to two months.
Elementary: Be My Valentine
Valentine’s Day may look different this year for many school-aged kids. They might not be exchanging paper valentines with classmates or throwing parties, so focus on how to make the holiday special at home. Use their creative energy to make a handmade valentine card for each member of the family. Set up a craft table with paper, pens, crayons, glue, glitter, or whatever crafts supplies you have on hand. Create decorated valentine mailboxes out of empty shoeboxes to place at each bedroom door to collect love notes. Consider making valentines, like these sweet handprint cards, to mail to grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, or elderly loved ones to spread the love further. Also, don’t forget your furry friends! Many of our four-legged family members have been faithful companions during this pandemic. Help your kiddos make doggie treats or catnip filled cat toys to show your pet how much you adore them!
Make Valentine’s Day dinner special by serving food in shades of red or pink, like spaghetti in marinara sauce, spicy chili, heart-shaped pizza, strawberry milk, or cherry Jell-O made into a heart mold. You can also add beet puree or food dye to mashed potatoes to turn them pink. Or use a cookie cutter to cut toast into the shape of a heart and cover it with strawberry jam. Find decorative items in red or pink to cluster in the middle of the table for décor and serve your meal on red or pink dishes or paper plates. Encourage everyone to wear their favorite pink or red outfit to dinner. And their heart will skip a beat at dessert! Serve a Sweetheart’s Float made with vanilla ice cream and Cherry 7-UP topped with whipped cream, heart-shaped sprinkles, and a cherry.
Complete your night with everyone opening their mailboxes filled with sweet treats and notes!
Teens: Fun Surprises for Your Biggest Kids
Your teen may feel too grown up for a paper valentine or way too cool for a stuffed animal, but you can still give them a gift that they will love. Even if they might roll their eyes or be embarrassed, you know that secretly they are glad that you did. And these are the memories that they will appreciate as they get older. Here are a few teen-approved valentines gift ideas:
Get Moving Together. Plan to go for a heart-healthy jog or hike together. Give them a new red water bottle, a sweatshirt with hearts, or red athletic socks with a positive message. If you are the adventurous type, try a new activity together like snowshoeing or rock climbing. Get the heart pumping together this Valentine’s Day.
Kick-Off the Day, the Right Way. Jumpstart their morning with heart-shaped pancakes and fresh berries. Whether you make them from scratch or a box, your heartfelt breakfast will be a great start to their day. Or show them you love them a latte with a coffee gift. In a clean, disposable to-go coffee cup, stuff with red tissue paper, a coffee gift card, and chocolate-covered espresso beans, then top with the lid and handwrite a note on the paper cup. Or schedule time for a coffee date. Grab a cappuccino to go and take a sunny stroll together.
Sugar Rush. Food is the perfect way to someone’s heart. No one is too old for heart-shaped cookies! Pour your love into a special sugary treat for your teen, like chocolate-dipped strawberries or cupcakes with sprinkles. Or if they love to bake, try to master a difficult recipe together like a chocolate souffle or eclairs. Valentine’s Day is a holiday to indulge.
Support Their Hobbies. Whether their interests are cooking, art, music, reading, writing, or knitting, support their hidden talents and hobbies on Valentine’s Day. Encourage them to try an online class to further their skill set or give them a gift certificate to a sporting goods or craft store for supplies.
Think outside of the heart-shaped candy box and find a creative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family!
Looking for more Valentine’s Day ideas? Our Dream Dinners gift to your family is our activity toolkit filled with ideas to spread the love this month and throughout the year. Download your copy now!