The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may be putting a crimp in your special Valentine’s Day plans. Restaurants and bars may be closed or have limited capacity. Performance venues like theatres and concert halls remain closed. As far as a date night goes, there may not be much to do outside of the house for parents this year. But that does not mean you cannot have fun or skip a romantic date night once the kids are in bed. It may be a little different this year but here are some ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids.
1. Prepare a special Valentine’s Day dinner
Make your pizza? Fondue party? Heart-shaped pancakes, waffle bar, or French toast with fruit? Order out? Whatever you decide, just make it fun. Serve strawberry milk with dinner to add something sweet and pink to the meal. Decorate the table with foam hearts or other festive items.
For dessert, how about heart-shaped sugar cookies or donuts? Let your kids top them with pink frosting and as many sprinkles as can fit. Or these recipes for Valentine’s White Chocolate Popcorn, Raspberry Cream Cheese Heart Tarts, or M&M Heart Shaped Valentine Rice Krispie Treats.
Pancakes, waffles, and French toast can also make for a fun breakfast if dinner is not in your plans. A heart-shaped cookie cutter can turn regular toast into a Valentine’s Day treat with strawberry jam.
2. Enjoy a family movie
Why not watch a movie with those treats? Some family movie ideas that may be appropriate for the occasion include “A Charlie Brown Valentine,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Ever After,” “Winnie the Pooh: A Valentine for You,” and “Lady and the Tramp.”
3. Host a tea party
Get fancy on Valentine’s Day and host an afternoon tea with, of course, some sweets. Serve pink lemonade and strawberry cream cheese or jam on finger sandwiches to add some festive color. Some other “red snacks” that are also healthy (bonus!) include strawberries, apples, watermelon, raspberries, dried cranberries, red grapes, red peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Everyone could dress up and should use their best manners!
4. Put on a dance party
If tea is not your thing, then turn your living room into a dance floor and crank up the kids’ favorite tunes. Dance, dance, and dance some more until they burn off all the sugar from any sweets.
5. Take a walk
Another way to shed some energy is to take a family walk. It can be around your neighborhood or find a park or nature preserve. To make it even more fun, have a contest to find the most objects that are heart-shaped or colored red or pink.
6. Give a small, inexpensive gift
A Valentine’s Day gift should not be extravagant. A new game, book, box of crayons and construction paper, or puzzle can do the job. Or something fun to wear for school.
Our favorite love-themed books for children include “Guess How Much I Love You,” “I Love You Always and Forever,” “The Kissing Hand,” “I Love You Stinky Face,” “Snuggle Puppy,” “Mama, Do You Love Me?,” “Never Too Little to Love,” “Love is You and Me,” “Llama Llama I Love You,” “Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You,” “Huggy Kissy,” “I Would Tuck You In,” “Dinosaur Kisses,” and “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!”
7. Find a service or volunteer project
The pandemic may limit your opportunities for service projects or volunteering so call ahead to find out what is possible for your family. You could check out food banks, senior care facilities, animal shelters, children’s hospitals, and homeless shelters in your area. Places of worship may also have ways you can assist those in need. Or consider sponsoring a child from a different part of the world and other ways to help underprivileged children. What better way to celebrate a day of love than showing some to those less fortunate. During this pandemic, it may be nice to see what you can do for your local first responders like firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and health care workers. Maybe they would accept homemade cards or treats.
8. Make it a Yes Day
Remove “no” from your vocabulary – within reason, of course – and let your kids choose how to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They can wear want they want. Do what they want. Eat whatever and whenever they want. It could be their best day ever!
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