Fact: Valentine’s Day pre-kids is nothing like Valentine’s Day post-kids.
Before I became a mum, Valentine’s Day was all about thoughtful gifts, romantic meals for two and quality grown-up time together. Fast forward a few years, and while Mark and I still make an effort to do something nice together, February 14th is a lot like any other day in a busy family home, with all the usual chores, noisy mealtimes and general running around after the kids. It’s certainly a lot less laid-back than it used to be!
Valentine’s Day may be more of a family affair these days, but it’s still a day when we celebrate love; I think it’s a great opportunity to get the kids (and the adults) thinking about positive emotions, and all that we have to be grateful for as a family. So rather than it being a day full of grand romantic gestures, we now focus on family-friendly, Valentine’s-themed activities that we can all have fun with.
Here are some ideas to inspire your own family-friendly Valentine’s Day.
Both my kids can never resist a good old craft session, and at this time of year it’s a great option for when the weather is awful and we need to keep the kids entertained. Heart-themed crafts are perfect for all ages; it’s such a simple shape to work with that even the smallest of hands can get stuck in, and you can easily make things more complicated for older children.
We’re definitely going to have a go at these Sequin Paper Plate Heart Suncatchers by Emma at Kids Craft Room – they combine painting, sticking and glittery bits all into one craft so I know they’ll be a huge hit with Miss J!
If you like the idea of keeping the crafting relatively mess-free, these Love Bug Bookmarks from Maggie at Red Ted Art are a brilliant option. They’d make cute little Valentine’s gifts for mum or dad too wouldn’t they? I suspect we’ll end up with a whole family of them…
If you don’t have lots of craft equipment lying around at home, you can still have fun with minimal supplies. My kids love making paper chains, and all you need for those is paper, scissors and sticky tape or a stapler. We usually get completely carried away and end up with a great big long paper chain draped all around the lounge! These fab Heart-Shaped Paper Chains from Jen at Mum in the Madhouse are perfect for Valentine’s, and if you don’t have pretty paper to hand the kids can have fun drawing their own designs on plain paper.
Lovely foodie fun
Valentine’s Day is a brilliant excuse to have some family fun in the kitchen; my kids just assume that there will be heart-themed cooking going on and love getting involved. When I cook with the kids it always works best if they can help out with as many stages as possible; it keeps them interested and makes it much easier for me to share the jobs between them. My Red Cookie Kisses are a great option for Valentine’s Day; they involve lots of dough rolling, they cook super-fast, and the kids can squidge a chocolate kiss onto each one to finish them off. Very satisfying!
Traditional cookies are another great option for family baking, and Ciara at My Fussy Eater’s Love Bug Cookies are just perfect for Valentine’s. Whenever we make cookie dough I always double the quantities and freeze half of it to use another time, you never know when you might have an emergency cookie situation!
If you really feel like going to town, how about a whole day of Valentine’s-themed food? I know my kids would absolutely go for this idea, they’d love the novelty factor and be super-keen to help out with the cooking. Grace at Eats Amazing has come up with a healthy Valentine’s kids menu which is lots of fun – check out these cute fruit wands!
How about adding some fun Valentine’s-themed games and activities into the day? I’m not suggesting you make life hard for yourself with lots of planning and prep here; it can be as simple as sharing your favourite feel-good stories, having a cuddle contest, writing each other a message on a heart-shaped piece of paper, changing noughts and crosses to hearts and kisses, or playing twenty questions with Valentine’s-themed objects.
Another idea that works well for us on family days is to get everyone involved in making a video of the day, and this could easily be done on a Valentine’s theme. Before we start, we all decide what we’d like to film, then we take it in turns with the camera throughout the day. I find it’s a really good way to work out what the kids are keen on doing, which inevitably means we end up enjoying ourselves more. And of course we have a lovely record of our day to look back on at the end, which after all is a great way to commemorate a day of sharing the love, isn’t it?
What have you got planned for a fun family Valentine’s Day this year?