A Parents Guide to Celebrating
Valentine's Day with Your Kids
Although celebrating Valentine's Day is often focused on romantic love, the February 14th holiday can also be a special day for cherishing the love within your family as well. Try some of these suggestions for crafts, games, stories and meal planning to make this day a sweet and fun memory your children.
Start off your day with a trip to your local library, where you can check out some of these endearing titles about love. The classic Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney tells of Little Nutbrown Hare, whose doting father loves him to the moon and back. Another perennial favorite, Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch is a timeless story about a mother's undying love for her child. Or look for the more recent release, I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, an adorable tale of adoration and affection between a boy and his teddy bear.
Once you return home from the library, try whipping up some thumbprint heart cookies. This is a great recipe to make together with your preschooler. Start by preparing your favorite recipe for sugar cookie dough - or pick up some ready-made dough at the grocery store. Place the round cookies on an un-greased cookie sheet. Press your child's thumb into the cookie twice, at an angle, to make the shape of a heart. Sprinkle the hearts with red and white sprinkles and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. If you want to give some away as gifts, make a small packet out of red or pink colored cellophane and tie it with silver ribbon.
Now that it's time for lunch, consider one of these special Valentine's Day suggestions. Turn your tried-and-true meatloaf into a real Valentine surprise by cooking it in a heart-shaped mold. Then "frost" it with red-dyed mashed potatoes. Or, serve up Love Pancakes, made from your favorite buttermilk pancake recipe with a little red food coloring added in at the end. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter once the pancakes are done cooking. Rather than topping with syrup, consider strawberries and whip cream. Yum!
After naptime and a nice snuggle, try one of these crafts. Tissue paper flowers are a great activity for both younger and older children. For each flower, make a stack of 6 to 8 sheets of multi-colored tissue paper. Each sheet should be approximately 8x10. Fold it like an accordion and then wrap the center of the folded paper with a green pipe cleaner. To form the petals, gently separate and pull up each sheet paper towards the top and center of the flower. Voila - a heartfelt floral delivery that didn't cost a fortune!
With elementary-school aged children, you might want to try a family love mobile. Cut out a heart from construction paper for each member of your family - to make a fuller mobile, add in grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Print out a picture of each family member and glue it onto the heart. You might want to cover each completed heart with laminating paper. Then punch a hole in the top of each heart and string with yarn, ribbon or lanyard. Attach to two crossed dowels (or use a hanger if you don't have dowels handy) and hang.
Wind up your busy day of Valentines love with a family game night. Enjoy a game of old-fashioned game of Candyland over a dessert of chocolate dipped strawberries.
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