Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love and letting those most dear to you know you appreciate and love them. What better way to teach this lesson to your kids than to share a day of family fun? Choosing activities that the entire family can enjoy will make for a memorable day -- and who knows, you might just start a new family Valentine's Day tradition.
Baking as a Family
Bake yummy treats to warm the house -- and the heart -- on this February day. Sugar cookies are fast and easy to make. The whole family can take turns measuring and mixing the ingredients. Once you roll out the dough, the little ones will likely enjoy using heart, arrow or cupid-shaped cookie cutters to create the Valentine’s sugar cookies. To make Valentine's heart-shaped cupcakes, once the family measures and mixes the batter -- and pours it into the paper cupcake liners in the pan, have your kids place a marble or a one-half inch ball of rolled-up aluminum foil between the cupcake liner and the pan. This will push the paper into the batter to form the notch in the heart. Be sure to whip up plenty of pink frosting -- and have lots of red sprinkles on hand for everyone to decorate the heart cupcakes. Keep in mind that only adults should put things in the oven and take them out.
Making heart paint prints is a fun, Valentine's Day project that the family can do together. To create a family mural, get a large piece of paper – you might need to use rolled paper if you have a lot of family members. Have each family member first place each foot on a paper plate filled with paint, or you can use a brush to paint on each other's feet -- but beware, it tickles! To make the hearts, stand on the mural paper with your heels together, which will form the point of the heart, while your toes will form the top. Not into feet? You can do the same project using your hands instead. Bring the palms together to form the point of the heart – and splay your fingers into a heart shape.
Family Card Exchange
Spend some time together making and exchanging Valentine's Day cards. You can make the cards as simple or complex as your family desires, depending on the ages of the little ones. Help your tots draw hearts on their cards -- and let them use glue and glitter to cover the hearts for a sparkly show of love. Or, make fun “edible” cards by attaching heart-shaped candies on card stock with cake frosting. You can also give the kids buttons to use to create hearts on their cards. As small buttons are a choking hazard to little ones, reserve this project for kids ages 5 and older. Once the cards are complete, have a card-exchanging ceremony where each person says something they love about the other family members before handing out the cards.
Play some heart-themed games for a fun Valentine’s Day afternoon. Have a family “heart hunt” similar to an egg hunt. Just stash chocolate hearts -- still in the wrappers -- or paper hearts, felt hearts or plastic hearts around the house. Whoever finds the most hearts gets a special Valentine’s treat. You might also have a candy kiss dash to see who can find the most candy kisses in 2 minutes. Next, you can try a game of "steal the heart." Fill a large bowl full of candy hearts and give each participant a pair of chopsticks. Players have to see who can fish the most hearts from the bowl using nothing but chopsticks. Younger tots can use a plastic spoon. And you can challenge expert players by telling them that they must only fish out hearts of a certain color.