Valentine’s Day is all about love. And I love my children more than anything or anyone else in the world so it only seems right that I spend time with them on the 14th of February.
My girls are older now and we are like ships in the night with one working and one in senior school so it’s great to have an excuse to spend time together doing something we all enjoy. When they were younger, Valentine’s Day was an excuse to do special things together with a focus on hearts, cuddles, kisses and love.
Below I have listed what we used to do in the past as well as the things we do now. Whatever age your kids are, put aside some time on Valentine’s Day to celebrate your love for one another.
20 Things to do with your kids this Valentine’s Day
1. Make up a dance
It’s always good to get active with our kids and making up dances is so much fun. We laugh till we cry every time.
Use a dance app (your kids will know what I’m talking about) that teaches the moves, records you, and then adds music and special effects.
Keep with the Valentine’s theme by choosing a love song you all know and like.
2. Kindness project
I haven't tried doing this with my kids on Valentine's Day, but we're kicking it off this year.
Here's the plan - on the night of the 13th, we'll cut different-sized hearts from coloured paper. Then we'll write positive messages and compliments on them. They don't need to be long quotes, a simple "You're special" or "You're doing great" will do.
Then, on Valentine's Day, we'll go spread some love via our own special kindness project. Whether it's neighbours, friends or family, leaving a small note sharing love is a mood booster for anyone, especially those who don't have anyone to celebrate this day of lurve with.
3. Adopt an animal to love
When was the last time you went to the zoo?
Use this Valentine’s Day to share some love with the animals. Some zoos allow you to get close up with cuddly creatures. What could be more app than cuddling a koala on Valentine’s Day?
You might even be able to adopt an animal which means you can keep on loving well after the zoo visit.
4. Have a chocolate fountain
We love our bright pink chocolate fountain. It isn’t Valentine’s Day if we don’t dust it down and use it.
There is something about decadent chocolate that matches perfectly with a day focused on love.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a chocolate fountain, instead make hot chocolate and dip in pieces of chocolate so they go all gooey and delicious.
5. Create a family love tree
If you have excess pieces of paper hearts from the Kindness project, you can use those for a family love tree. Write down messages for each other and hang or paste them on the tree.
This has become our tradition for years, we would cut out a tree trunk from coloured paper and the heart-shaped messages served as leaves. The finished product looks incredible! It makes my heart full seeing my daughters write thoughtful messages for me and each other.
If you want to do this with your kids on Valentine's Day, you can also use a real tree branch from your backyard and place it in a pot. Then you can fasten a piece of thread through each note and hang them along the branch.
6. Sunrise or sunset
It doesn’t matter which!
Both sunrise and sunset are beautiful times of the day that symbolise love, life and beauty.
Snuggle up and watch the sun do its performance while you talk about what and who you love most in the world and why.
7. Valentine's Day science experiments
If you want to go all nerdy with your kids on Valentine's Day, this will do the trick!
Now this one can be a bit messy, but the post clean-up can also be a bonding sesh with your little ones!
Search for simple but fun science experiments online and add a Valentine's Day twist. For instance, you can do a colour-changing milk experiment and use shades of red. Be sure to do age-appropriate activities, though. They might lose interest if the tasks are too difficult.
8. Breakfast in bed
Breakfast in bed makes the perfect start to the day.
For years my girls loved preparing brekkie in bed for me. It was a bit hit and miss I can tell you. The most memorable year was when they put baby beetroot in the fruit salad instead of grapes.
Now though, my teens and I snuggle up with a pot of coffee and toast. It is much easier and you know what you’re putting in your mouth!
9. Pick wildflowers
It all sounds a bit Anne With An E, but we love picking wildflowers and it’s a perfect thing to do with your kids this Valentine’s Day.
You can walk down a road and not notice one flower until you look for them.
For better pickings (excuse the pun) head to a leafy area such as a park or woodlands.
10. Cooking and baking
How about spending a few happy hours in the kitchen with your kids on Valentine’s Day?
Make sure you stick to Theme Love and incorporate lots of hearts, pretty pinks and yumminess into your cooking.
If you time it right, you can eat what you make for dinner which means one less meal to make. Winner.
Get ideas and easy recipes here: 10 Valentine’s Day treats to make with the kids.
11. Walk up a mountain
There is something about walking up a mountain that is really wonderful compared to a flat walk.
It’s the climb that gets the adrenalin pumping, the achievement of reaching the top, and then the reward of spectacular views.
This is a super healthy Valentine’s pursuit if you have active kids and a local mountain walk they will do without too many moans and groans. Don’t forget to give them a big, fat cuddle and tell them you love them when you reach the top.
12. High tea
High tea is a very elegant and romantic affair. Those delicate sandwiches and the cute little cakes.
If you want to go out for high tea, book early as lots of people might have the same idea for Valentine’s Day. Or you can make your own at home as we do. Head to your local op shop for a cheap tea stand and old-fashioned tea cups. Then add sandwiches with the crust cut-off and some shop-bought cakes and you’re ready to go.
Pinkies out everyone.
13. Virtual Valentine's Day party
This activity is perfect if you have loved ones and friends from far away - organise a virtual party with them!
When creating the programme, you can include a dancing or singing competition where the whole family can participate. Prepare a prize for the winning team to keep everyone motivated. And don't forget the online games for the kids!
14. Valentine's craft
Valentine’s is an ideal time to get crafty with your kids.
Suggestions from me include decorations to adorn your house, homemade jewellery or Valentine’s cards for secret loves.
I still have art we made on Valentine’s Day years ago, it makes my heart melt.
For more love-focused art ideas see: Kid’s Valentine’s craft ideas to make with love.
15. Create a family love playlist
The airwaves will be filled with romantic love songs on this day, so we create a playlist customised just for us. This is one way to let my kids know that Valentine's Day is not only for couples but also for families and loved ones in general.
Take turns suggesting songs to add to the playlist and make sure to stick to the theme of "family love." If you can't think of any, here are two of our favourites: "Mama" by the Spice Girls and "Ode to Family" by The Cranberries.
16. Make mocktails
You can’t beat a mocktail to celebrate a special occasion. As someone who has been proudly sober for two years, I am the master of this alcohol-free decorative drink.
You’ll find lots of ideas for mocktails online but add your own twist for Valentine’s. Think fizzing sherbert, fairy floss, strawberries and love heart lollies.
17. Loved-up movies
Life is hectic so I jump at any opportunity of a movie marathon with my kids. It’s a great way to get your cuddle quota on Valentine’s Day.
Here are my suggestions for great kid’s movies with a love/Valentine’s theme:
- Gnomeo and Juliet
- The Lady and the Tramp
- See here for suggestions from others
Round it off with a big box of chocolates to share. It’s Lindt Lindor all the way for us but get whatever takes your fancy … it is Valentine’s Day after all.
18. A spa session
Nails for the girls and a massage for the boys? You can’t beat a bit of pampering on Valentine’s Day.
Treat yourself to an in-store service or, if money is tight, pamper yourself at home for almost nothing.
My girls and I went through a phase of doing face packs. Just trying not to laugh while they are on is enough to make you cry with laughter. My nephew loves them too, so don’t leave the boys out.
19. Love letter treasure hunt
This is one of my favourite things to do with my kids on Valentine's Day.
Why, you say?
Because I get to write down and show them how much I love them.
Each year, I would compose several love letters (each one contains clues that lead to the next), and hide them around the house and the yard. Then, they get a special treat (a chocolate bar or their fave snack) after finding all the hidden notes.
20. Go through old photos
Spend a few lazy hours on Valentine’s Day going through old photos with your kids.
They love seeing pics of themselves from when they were little. Tell them all about times gone by with a focus on how loved they have always been.
We thoroughly enjoy going through our old albums and my girls love me re-telling the same stories. There is something very nostalgic and love-filled about reminiscing on times gone by.
Summary: Things to do with your kids this Valentine's Day
This annual celebration of love need not be confined to romantic relationships. We can redefine Valentine's day to show our children that it's not just about romantic love but also about the love we share as a family.
For years, my girls and I have had a blast creating our own Valentine's Day cards, whipping up sugary delights in the kitchen, and snuggling up for cozy movie marathons.
I know I won't be their date forever. Someday, my girls will be in a relationship; and they will want to spend this special day with their romantic partner. That is inevitable and I'm completely fine with it ... really I am (cue: holding back the tears). But now, while I'm still the sole apple of their eye, I will make the most of this day.
If they get tired of the activities I listed above (or get too grown-up for them), I'll come up with fresher and more exciting things to do with my kids on Valentine's Day.
You too, can try ditching the traditional romantic notions, in favour of crafting, treasure hunts, and doing messy experiments. They require a lot of energy, but they are very fulfilling. And I assure you, they're more fun than having a candlelight dinner at a fancy restaurant. (*wink)