Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and affection, at least that’s what the greeting card companies tell us, right? Well, some of us can’t afford a babysitter for this special holiday and some of us simply don’t want to leave our children on a random day in February just because someone else says we should! For those of us who are celebrating as a family, here are five family friendly ways to have a special time on Valentine’s Day, with a bonus tip at the end for after the little ones are in bed!
1. Get Active for Your Heart
Valentine’s Day is all about your most vital organ, your heart! Exercise it! Take the kids for a walk in your winter wonderland or, if you’re lucky enough, go for a hike or a stroll on the beach. If you’re housebound, have a dance party or do a workout DVD in the living room. Get your heart pumping in honor of the holiday!
2. Make Fondue Kid-Friendly
Fondue is a classic meal for Valentine’s Day. It’s sensual and delicious and it creates a meal to be lingered over as you stare into the eyes of the person you love. But there’s no reason you can’t do fondue at home and make it fun for you and the kids. Whether it’s chocolate or cheese you’re craving, prepare your dippers, get some goodness melting in a double broiler (just put your cheese or chocolate in a glass or metal bowl on top of a pan of boiling water in a pan on the stove), and enjoy playing with your food as a family!
3. Bake a Cake
One of my childhood memories of Valentine’s Day that I hope to recreate with my children is baking a heart shaped cake with my mother. If you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) a heart shaped cake pan, make heart shaped cupcakes by placing a glass marble outside each of your paper cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Trust me on this one and try it—it works!
4. Create Lasting Valentine’s Day Memories
Prepare some beautiful paper and colored pencils or markers. Sit around the table as a family and have each person write his or her name at the top of a page. Then, below the name, write “I love you because…” Pass your papers around the table so that everyone writes something on everyone else’s paper. If your kiddos are too small to do the writing, have a parent take dictation. Each family member should receive their own paper last and everyone should have a turn reading their page aloud for the rest of the family to hear. Cherish these forever in scrapbooks or framed on a wall.
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5. DIY Art for the Holiday
For a fun activity for all ages, grab some paint (finger paint, if you’re brave!), a couple of small canvases, and some tape. On the blank canvas, lay out your tape with a message for Valentine’s Day (LOVE, a heart shape, or FAMILY are all appropriate). Then, go crazy with paint on top of the tape! Let your children make a mess and be creative mixing colors and painting techniques. After everyone is agreed that your masterpieces are complete, remove the tape to reveal your heartfelt message in white.
Valentine’s Day with kids doesn’t have to be completely kids-oriented just because you’re a mom. If your children are too young for the holiday or perhaps after you’ve completed one of the activities above and your kids are fast asleep, break free from the traditional Valentine’s Day chocolates by creating a new tradition with your partner. Share a bottle of the same wine you had at your wedding, listen to your song and share a dance in the living room, watch your favorite movie (even if it’s not romantic), or pull out the fondue leftovers and get creative with that melted chocolate! Whatever it is, make it something special that you’ll want to do year after year to keep that romance alive, even when you’re stuck at home with the kids!