By Kathryn Trudeau
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and for many children, this year’s Valentine’s Day might look a little different. With some schools returning to virtual or hybrid, many children might not have the traditional in-class Valentine’s Day party 一 but that’s okay. We’ve created this list of 10 easy and inexpensive Valentine’s Day activities that you can do with your kids.
Ready to plan your at-home Valentine’s Day party? Here are 10 activities to include in your party.
1. Create Homemade Cards
What’s Valentine’s Day without a Valentine’s Day card? Making homemade cards exercises fine motor control, dexterity, and creativity.
What you need:
- Red, pink, white, and purple construction paper
- Tissue paper
- Crayons, markers, colored pencils, or non-toxic, washable paint
- Glitter (if you’re brave!) or stickers
- White paper doilies for that classic Valentine’s Day card
- Glue sticks and/or tape
- Safety scissors
If your child is celebrating Valentine’s Day with an in-class party, use this craft time to make their own Valentine’s Day box to collect the cards they receive. Cover a shoe box (or leftover Amazon Prime box) with construction paper. Adults can cut a slot to let cards be put into the box. Decorate with paint, stickers, glitter, markers, or cut-out felt hearts.
Any holiday is a good excuse to whip up a batch of cookies, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The easiest -- and quickest -- option to purchase premade sugar cookie dough.
Here’s what to do:
- Chill the dough
- Once the dough is chilled, remove it from the tube packaging
- Lightly dust a cutting board with flour
- Roll the dough out
- Use heart shapes to cut out heart-shaped cookies
- Bake according to package instructions
Once the cookies are cool, frost them with pink frosting and decorate with sprinkles.
3. Read Valentine's Day Books
Reading is one of the best gifts a parent can give to their child. Reading teaches new words, bolsters emotional intelligence, and of course, is a great bonding activity. Head to the library and stock on your favorite Valentine’s Day books, and cozy up on the couch for an afternoon of reading.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool by James and Kimberly Dean
- Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
- The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll and Jeni Bassett
- If Kisses Were Colors by Janet Lawler
4. Have a Heart-to-Heart Conversation
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about sending cards or eating candy; it’s about celebrating the people in our life that we love -- and letting them know how we feel. Model the importance of expressing your feelings and sharing what you love most about your children. Invite your children to share what they love about each of their siblings.
5. Make a Coupon Book
A tried-and-true Valentine’s Day gift, coupon books are super easy to make, and they teach your child the importance of showing love by serving others. Giving a gift isn’t the only way to show someone you care, and coupon books help kids learn this lesson. They also teach children the importance of following through on their promises. Maybe your child wants to make a “Valentine’s Day Coupon Book for Dad” or maybe they want to make one for their sibling.
What you need:
- Cardstock (postcard size)
- Hole punch
- Markers or crayons
What to do:
- Add a hole punch to the top left corner of your cardstock
- Decorate each coupon
- Make a separate cover out of a clean piece of cardstock with a title
- Tie them all together with a piece of thread
Ideas for your coupon book include:
- Doing an extra chore for a sibling
- Helping sort laundry
- Cleaning up without help
- Doing an outside chore (helping shovel snow, etc) if age appropriate
- Helping set the table
- Feeding the dogs
- Letting a sibling choose the movie for movie night
- Extra cuddles (for smaller children)
6. Sort Candy
Sorting is an important cognitive skill, and it can be a fun activity for toddlers and young elementary-aged kids. You can sort candy-coated chocolate by color (teaching color skills as you go), you can have early readers read the phrases on conversation hearts, or you can sort a variety of candy by size. You can also practice counting skills too!
7. Make Pink Berry Smoothies
Sometimes just a little color is all you need to make the day seem extra special, and these Pink Berry smoothies deliver the pizzazz without any artificial food dye.
What you need:
- 4 ripe small bananas
- 1 cup frozen whole strawberries
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 16 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt
- 2 cups whole milk (or oat milk)
- Honey (to taste)
Add all of your ingredients in the blender. This makes several servings so it’s plenty to share!
8. Make Heart Symmetry Paintings
To make a heart symmetry painting, you need scissors, white paper, and tempera paint. Create large white hearts, using most of a sheet of paper. Fold the heart in half, and ask your child to only paint half of it. While the paint is still wet, fold the heart in half -- just enough to let the paint smudge onto the other side. Open the heart and allow it to dry flat.
Once dry, you’ll see a beautiful symmetrical heart painting.
9. Make “I LOVE … “ Hearts
This is a great activity for younger children who can’t write. Draw a big heart on a poster board and ask your child to draw everything he or she loves. You might see everything from pictures of mommy and daddy to candy to puppies to a favorite stuffed lovey.
10. Make Glitter Heart Rock Paintings
Painting rocks is so satisfying, isn’t it? To make glitter heart rocks, you need:
- River rocks
- An index card with a heart cut out of the middle
To make the glitter heart, use the stencil (with the index card) and apply heart-shaped glue to your rock. Sprinkle with glitter and dust off any excess. Allow the rock to dry before decorating with additional paint. You can keep the finished rocks or you can leave them at parks to bring joy to another person’s day.
Which activity will you add to your day?