In 2019, consumers spent a record-breaking $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day cards, flowers and gifts; $886 million of which was spent on presents for pets, proving that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples in the heady throes of romance. Deliver sweet somethings to every important person in your life on Valentine’s Day — or any day of the year — with these fun, easy and thoughtful ideas.
Create a “Sweet Tweets” jar. Decorate a Mason jar for your child. Fill it with slips of paper on which you have written adjectives or short sentences that describe traits you most appreciate, admire and love about them.
Hunt for Cupid’s treasure. Challenge your kids to a scavenger hunt. Give them clues on a trail of paper-cutout hearts. One clue leads to the next until they find a Valentine’s Day surprise. Check online for ideas about scavenger-hunt clues.
Give them a heart “attack.” On each of the 13 nights leading up to Valentine’s Day, mom of four Alexis Sanchez posts a heart-shaped note on each of her kids’ doors after they go to bed. By Valentine’s Day, their doors are covered.
“Usually, it’s just characteristics I see in them or ways that I see they’re kind to others. They really love this, and I even found my 8-year-old kept all his hearts from last year in a special drawer, so that’s pretty awesome,” says Sanchez.
Send a singing telegram. Shoot a video of your preschooler singing a little love ditty (such as: “I made this little valentine of red, white and blue. I made this little valentine especially for you!”) or other message of appreciation. Email the file to grandparents or another relative, or a friend or teacher your kiddo is crazy about.
Create homemade cards for classmates. Bypass the usual mass-produced, cartoony cards and publish simple photo cards with a themed border. Last year, Sanchez attached a small bottle of bubbles to her daughter’s cards, which read, “Friend, you blow me away!”
Snow them some love. Make a snow globe for your special someone out of a 16-ounce Mason jar. Hot-glue a small figurine and/or a miniature bottlebrush tree to the inside of the lid. Add red and silver glitter and foil heart confetti inside the jar and then fill it with water. Put hot glue around the inside of the lid and screw it on tight. Wrap a ribbon around the neck of the jar. Attach a tag with a love note that reads, “There’s snow one like you.”
Treat them to a “hearty” breakfast. Surprise your kids with heart-shaped cinnamon rolls. Instead of rolling your flattened-out cinnamon roll dough into one single roll, roll each side toward the middle until they meet, forming a heart shape. Slice and bake. Serve juice out of dollar-store champagne flutes. Make a fruit salad cutting up fruits such as apples, strawberries, bananas and watermelon.
Conduct a candy experiment. Put Conversation Hearts candies to the test. Gather vinegar, salt water, tap water and bleach (with adult guidance). Place a candy heart in each of four bowls. Ask your child to hypothesize about what will happen when each liquid is dropped over the candy. Using an eye dropper, test their theories. How does the candy react to different liquids? Did your young chemist’s predictions prove true?
Get those hearts pumping. On a sheet of poster board, draw a grid of nine squares and write the name of a different exercise (e.g., sit-ups, somersaults, jumping jacks, push-ups) in each of the boxes. Have the kids take turns tossing a beanbag (or another item) onto the grid to select an exercise. Then, have players roll the dice to see how many times they have to do the exercise on which the beanbag has landed.
Rev up date night. In the whirlwind of parenting, life as a couple can become routine. Plan an outing with your sweetheart that’s playful and gets you out of your dinner-and-a-movie rut. For example, lift off on a hot-air balloon ride, go dancing, take a couples’ cooking class, paint together at a drop-in paint-and-sip studio, or attend a concert or live theater production.
Bonus: Think Love Is for the Birds? You’re Right!
Show your love for our feathered friends by making these adorable heart-shaped bird feeders — it’s a fun rainy-day craft that your little valentines will love.
What you’ll need: