by Chris Molnar
Traditionally Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romantic love, yet that’s not how Valentine’s Day originally became a holiday. It was in honor of the martyr Saint Valentine who was beheaded for not renouncing his faith on February 14, 269 AD. It is said that when he was imprisoned, he sent a letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it “from your Valentine.”
It actually did not become a celebration of love until the Middle Ages. Since then, the holiday has grown into an enormous celebration of love, where people offer gifts and confessions of love. But it doesn’t have to be simply celebrated for romantic love; it’s also a great time to shower your children with love, fun, and attention (as if you don’t already do that!)
Here are 14 ways to celebrate this holiday with your children.
1 – Heart Hunt
Buy foiled wrapped chocolate candy hearts or other individually wrapped candies and hide them all over the house and allow your children to find them, like an Easter egg hunt.
2 – Valentine’s Day Photo Book
Kids love to look at pictures of themselves and their family members. Use a fabric or rough surface photo album or scrapbook. Allow your children to cut out and glue their school valentine’s cards and glue them to the front and back. Break out all those pictures of everyone in your family and help your child decorate the inside with photos and valentine’s décor.
3 – Treasure Hunt
Finding hidden treasures can be very exciting, especially for children. There are always hidden treasures in every corner of your neighborhood. Check out local garage sales, antique shops, and second-hand stores to find a treasure of value.
4 – Host a party
A Valentine’s day party is a perfect way to celebrate this holiday with your child, whether you are hosting one for your family or your child’s classmates. Decorate the house in fun valentine’s décor, include crafts, cookie decorating and fun kids games.
Steal my heart is one game you can play if you are having this party for your child’s classmates. To play you’ll need a bowl of candy conversational hearts and a set of chopsticks for each player. Set up a timer for about 2-5 minutes and have the children use the chopsticks only to get the hearts out and place them in front of themselves. The child with the most hearts wins the game.
5 – Make Valentine’s cards
Homemade Valentine’s cards can be a treat for kids to make and a treat for their receivers. You can use either foam paper or construction paper along with some fun valentine’s decorations. There are a number of templates and ideas you can use online; a great site for this is Disney’s Family Fun.
6 – Storytime
Reading stories to your child that are valentine themed is a great way to help your child learn about Valentine’s Day and to bond with your child. Children love to hear personal stories about their family members so, if you have a great story about how you and your spouse met and fell in love, or your parents, share that with your children
7 – Decorate the House together
Decorating the house with Valentine themed decorations is perfect for children to kick off a love for the holiday. Put on the love songs and make a tradition out of singing with your child and decorating the house pretty in pink.
8 – Balloon Fun
Make candy in a balloon by stretching out the top of the balloon and dropping down small individually wrapped candies. Your kids can play with the balloons and then pop them to get out their special treat.
9 – Poetry time
Write poetry with your child, this is an amazing way to teach your children the art of poetry and having a little fun. Make your poetry funny and take turns with your child writing them. Start if off so your child will have an example of what to do. Write rhyming poetry as this would be more fun for your kids, start with something like:
Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
You have a stinky shoe
10 – School Time Valentine’s Card Holders
Crafts are fun for kids and a great bonding experience for the both of you. You can make a few different types of cool Valentine’s Day card holders. You can make a backpack card holder, or a mailbox, or even a suite case Valentine holder. We decided on a tote, which is simply two foam cut-out hearts sewn together, with a cute ribbon as the handle. Have your child decorate the sides.
11 – Visit a Local Art Museum
Museums have a rich array of history that can teach children quite a bit about various people, places, and times in history. You can also get a guide to take you and your children through the museum for you both to learn a few incredible facts about the art housed there.
12 – Learn about Nature
Go out to your local forested parks or reserves. Visit the information center before going on any trails to learn about the nature occurring in the park. They usually have brochures that introduce you to the park and everything that resides there. Using your brochure walk through the park with your child and see if you can recognize the trees and surrounding plants.
You can also review the various classes or guided tours that many local parks have during the year, they should have something of interest to you and your child.
13 – Baking fun
The kitchen is a perfect room to share a delightful afternoon of baked goods and the company of your child. Make some Valentine’s Day cookies or cupcakes that you and your child can decorate together.
14 – Plant an Indoor Garden
If you live in a warm climate you can make an outside garden of herbs, vegetables and/or flowers. Or if you live in a colder climate start your garden on the inside. Go to any local green house and allow your child to pick out the plants they would like to watch grow or that they like to eat. Plant the garden and watch with your child as your garden grows. Make sure to have your child water them so they can feel the joy and responsibility of taking care of something. Once spring breaks you and your children can transfer your garden to the great outdoors.
Hopefully these ideas will help you and your children have fun, laugh and create a lifetime of Valentine’s Day memories.
Article by Chris Molnar, a father of two whose kitchen table is full of scraps of red construction paper, foam hearts, stickers and glitter glue. Chris is editor of Themeaparty.com, a blog full of party ideas, games and crafts.