Valentine’s Day has historically, never been a holiday that excites me.
It’s always felt so forced. “Get me a present to prove you love me and so I don’t have to feel like the only one who was forgotten on Valentine’s Day”. Lol. Single, not single, married…it always seemed the epitome of Hallmark holidays designed to add unnecessary pressure. Cynical, I know.
But then…enter kids.
Kids love celebrating ANY and ALL holidays. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, National Croissant Day, Penguin Awareness Day (you get the picture). Why? Because it’s an excuse to do things that are out of the norm. Presents, special activities, treats…I mean, who can blame them? And, as a parent, I can’t deny the sense of joy kids add to even the most random, Hallmark-y holidays. So of course, it’s our desire to foster the fun, make the memories and share in the joy together.
A mom of 3 littles who was determined to find fun, non-traditional, slightly healthier alternatives for celebrating Valentine’s Day. Below are some of the new traditions we’ve been doing for the last 3 years that have become quite special and we as a family have a blast doing together.
Valentine’s Day Fondu
I got this idea from a friend and instantly thought it was genius! We have a fondu maker set that, at the time, we had used once or twice with our 2 oldest children, and they had absolutely LOVED the whole experience. It’s an exciting treat that we only do a couple times a year (New Year’s Eve being the other fondu holiday) and something that the entire family can enjoy doing together. For our fondu, we use this dairy free chocolate and sometimes, if we feel really fancy, we’ll make the fondu recipe found at the bottom of this post or even swirl in a little peanut butter). YUM. Then, for our dipping items, we use gluten free pretzel sticks, bananas, apple slices, strawberries, and/or gluten free graham crackers. A sweet treat with a healthier spin.
Valentine Scavenger Hunt
I came up with this activity after realizing that, as many times as we say “I love you” to each other each day, we never really talk about specific qualities/character traits that we love about one another. It’s something I would love to remember to do more often, not just on Valentine’s Day. So with the idea of being more intentional with our words of love and encouragement, I whipped up this valentine scavenger hunt idea. For this activity, I cut out a bunch of construction paper hearts in a variety of colors. Typically I choose one color for each family member to make hunting a bit easier for the littlest kids. Then, at some point earlier in the week (or even earlier on Valentine’s Day), we write down one thing we love about each other on the hearts so that each person has one heart written by every family member. I hide the hearts throughout the house and we all go searching for our hearts. Once they are all found, we come back together and take turns reading what everyone wrote.
Bible Verse Heart Mobile
It’s a great thing to celebrate our love for each other as a family, but let us not forget our first true love – the love of our heavenly Father. How is it that I never thought to use this holiday of love to celebrate Christ’s love for us with our kids? It is after all, the greatest love we will ever know and is the source from which our love for one another stems. This activity started out with just me putting in the work and then sharing it with the rest of the family. Now that I have a Kindergartener and 4th grader, this is something we can easily create together. We simply locate a handful of Bible verses that talk about God’s love for us, write them down on construction paper hearts, hole punch, and hang with a piece of string from our dining room chandelier. Then, at dinner time, we cut them down and take turns reading them. It’s a great dinner conversation starter and a wonderful teaching tool that we can use to share the Gospel with our kids.
Valentine’s Day Advent Calendar
This idea evolved from the uncontainable enthusiasm my kids have when it comes to opening their Christmas advent calendar throughout the month of December. In fact, my son once said to me, “I wish there was an advent calendar for every month of the year!” So, I decided to take our Christmas advent wall calendar, tape a piece of card stock that says “Valentine’s Day” over the words “Merry Christmas” and voila! Valentine’s Day advent calendar. Our advent calendar is not super “Christmas-y” so it’s easy to switch the vibe to Valentine’s Day. This neutral one would be another great option to multipurpose for both Christmas and V-Day! Now of course, the MOST exciting part of the countdown calendar is finding some sort of trinket or treat in each pocket from day to day. Brian and/or I fill each day with a little piece of paper with a reason we love each of them and then either a cheap trinket (stickers, temporary tattoos, hair tie, etc.) or a tiny sweet treat (check out my post on healthy Valentine’s Day treat swaps).
Valentine’s Day Dinner
Easy peasy…make OR order in your family’s favorite meal. Yes, I get it…not everyone necessarily likes the same things for dinner and there’s always one picky eater. BUT, there’s got to be at least one meal that everyone can get on board with- even if it’s pizza! For us, it’s usually sushi. My son is the only one that isn’t a fan, but there’s always something on the menu that he enjoys (chicken curry, rice noodles, etc.) It’s an especially exciting day in our house when our kids feel like THEY get to pick what we have for dinner! Not to mention…a night off of cooking for mom ;).
And that’s a wrap! This is our version of Valentine’s Day! If you’d like to close out your celebration with some fun family Valentine’s Day children’s books, check out my other post. Just remember, regardless of how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or if you choose to celebrate it at all), it’s always the laughs and togetherness that seem to leave the deepest impressions.
Valentine’s Day Chocolate Fondu
1 bag of dairy free chocolate (we like this brand)
2/3 C of full fat coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
Fruit, pretzels, graham crackers and other fun dippers
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