4 Fun Ideas for Celebrating Valentine’s Day With Kids

When someone says “Valentine’s Day,” we think long-stemmed red roses and gazing soulfully into the eyes of our sweetheart over a romantic dinner. Roses and romance are nice, but did you know Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate with kids? Here are four Valentine’s Day ideas for kids that go beyond exchanging cards at school:

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1. Dress up your home
Colored lights and inflatable snowmen at Christmas? Check. A family of Jack O’ Lanterns on the porch in October? Check. A colorful wreath adorned with ribbons and sugar skulls to let your neighbors know you are hardcore Fiesta? Check.
So why not decorate for Valentine’s Day?
Get a heart-shaped foam wreath from the craft store and decorate it with flowers. Cut hearts out of pretty paper and string them in your trees, shrubs or flower arrangements. Make a garland using pre-cut wooden hearts strung on twine. Check out Pinterest for inspiration — there’s a DIY project for every age and ability. If DIY isn’t your thing, most craft and home stores have ready-made décor that will add Valentine’s Day flair to your home.
If you’ve never decorated for Valentine’s Day, start small. Buy or make one thing this year and add to your collection in years to come. Get used to hearing “When are we putting out the Valentine’s Day decorations?” in late January because kids love to decorate, and they’ll get into the spirit of the holiday. Their enthusiasm will be contagious.

2. Make treats!
Valentine’s Day is all about confections: beautiful heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and cute little conversation hearts with “Crazy4U” stamped on them, but why not kick it up a notch? Find a Valentine’s Day treat you can enjoy making (and eating!) with your kids. You can buy heart-shaped cookie cutters just about anywhere. Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe and make Valentine cookies with pink frosting and sugar sprinkles. If you want something savory, use that same cookie cutter on your sandwiches. Boring baloney and cheese becomes an extra-special lunch when it’s shaped like a heart.

If you’re more adventurous or if you’ve got the next Top Chef Junior on your hands, hop on Pinterest and check out some homemade truffle recipes. You just might start a new family tradition.

3. Talk about heart health
February is also National Heart Month, so what better time to teach children about their real heart? The Texas Heart Institute’s Project Heart has fun activities for kids focused on heart anatomy and heart health. It’s never too early to start learning about heart health.

4. Say “I love you.”
Hearts and chocolates are awesome, but Valentine’s Day is about love, and you can never tell your kids you love them too many times…so say it aloud and often! Although we show love for our children in countless little ways each day, there’s no substitute for saying those three little words. You love your kids. Tell them. It’s that simple.

Jill’s Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup slightly softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 (or 4 1/2 cups) flour

Cream the butter and both sugars together. If you have any brown sugar lumps, you should crush them up or pull them out. They make weird dents in your baked cookies. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add the salt and baking powder and mix the dough.

Before you add the flour, let’s have a little chat. Different altitudes need different amounts of flour. Differences in humidity will change the amount of flour you should add. Is there a storm coming? That changes things. Add only 3 cups to begin with. Then add additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and holds together. (This happens at about 4 cups of flour for me…except in the winter time when it happens at 3 1/2 cups flour.) That’s when you should stop if you are going to chill the dough, or just wait for another day to bake it. If you are going to roll it out right away, add another half cup of flour so it will be thick enough to move from rolling out surface to your baking sheet.

Bake at 350F. If you roll to 3/16″ thick, bake for about 7 minutes. If you roll to 1/4″ thick, bake for about 10 minutes.

 

By Jill Robbins