Before having children, Valentine’s Day was about treats, surprises, maybe a bit of romance, and held a sense of anticipation. Nowadays, Valentine’s Days provides a fantastic opportunity for you to connect with and nurture the little hearts entrusted to you! The best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids are by doing things together that show love in a way that speaks best to your child!
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Learning Your Child’s Love Language
A person’s love language is how that person best gives and receives love.
Being intentional to learn my children’s love languages has allowed me to take my parent-child relationships to a level so deep, we connect in a magical sort of way! So let’s run through them real quick for context.
There are five main love languages:
Physical Touch. These kids are the huggers. The ones that always seem ready, willing, and in search of a snuggle, a hug, a kiss, or those who CAN’T WAIT to wrestle dad when he gets home!
Acts of Service. These kiddos might ask, “Mom, will you get _____ for me?” Or “Mom, will you make me waffles for breakfast?” They are greatly appreciative and moved when you offer to drive them to the store to spend birthday money or spontaneously do one of their chores for them.
Receiving Gifts. Children with this love language, love receiving things, although, it doesn’t have to be something that costs money. These kids can be shown love with breakfast in bed, a hand-me-down, or hand-written love note from you!
Quality Time. Kids with the quality time love language will ask to go to the store with you, ask to help you make dinner, and seemingly follow you around everywhere. They simply desire to be near you! (alone time, playing a game, date, playing outside just the two of you) –
Words of Affirmation. This may be your child’s love language if he regularly says, “Mom watch this!” and likes to show you a new dance or battle move. He’s actually looking for words of affirmation during that moment.
Below each listed activity, game, or craft, you’ll find a note on which child love language it will benefit the most.
The Best Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Kids
I am calling these the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids because each of the items below was chosen, specifically for its ability to speak and show love to a child in a way she’ll understand and feel.
Beyond the candy. More than a card. You’re reaching your child’s heart!
Host a Valentine’s Party Together
One year we hosted a Valentine’s Party for several families in our homeschool community. And when I say several, I mean several! I was surprised by how many moms and children were SO excited about the idea!
Keep it simple. I am in no way shape form or fashion a hostess! Party Planner was never on my career wish list!
Simply open your home, invite as many friends as you have room for, ask everyone to bring a Valentine’s-themed snack, find one craftsy friend do orchestrate a Valentine’s Day game or craft, and Viola!
Hosting a Valentine’s Day Party will speak love to relational children who REALLY enjoy their friends! Kids with the Acts of Service love language will feel loved when you are willing to “do this for them,” and you’ll strengthen your adult friendships, as well as your child’s friendships as well.
*Acts of Service
Bake Valentine’s Day Cookies Together
Baking with kids has many benefits besides showing them love! It is tremendous for their spacial skills, hand-eye-coordination, and overall brain development.
By allowing your child to truly help, you’ll be giving chances for her to receive praise for a job well done.
Again, keep it simple. My preference is to use rolled sugar cookies for this Valentine’s Day with your kids activity. By baking rolled sugar cookies, we are stacking quality time on top of more quality time by decorating as well!
This is my favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe. It is very simple and works every single time. Choose an icing such as this or this, add some natural food coloring like this, and you’re all set. Get the cookies baked and decorate away!
*Quality Time and Words of Affirmation
Have a Valentine’s Day Themed Sweet Snack
Kids love snacks! Well, come to think of it, everyone loves snacks!
I use to get all in my head over anything “themed” until I realized how easily pleased children are!
Valentine’s Day-themed snacks are as simple as using a heart cookie cutter, like this, to shape a peanut butter sandwich. Or tossing some heart-shaped marshmallows, like these, in a cup of hot chocolate!
A few more ideas for themed snacks would be: heart-shaped Rice Krispy Treats (cookie cutter or store-bought), homemade chocolate hearts (use this to create), or my VERY FAVORITE Valentines Day themed snack… Valentine’s Day Popcorn!
To make Valentine’s Day Popcorn, simply add pink and red M&M’s to a bowl of popcorn. If you’ve never had M&Ms in your popcorn, you have NO IDEA what you’re missing!!
*Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Acts of Service
Make Valentine’s Day Cards Together
This again is another activity that I can easily over complicate!
A few years ago, a scrapbooking friend of mine gave me two HUGE bags of her old scrapbooking supplies. The bags contained loads of scrapbooking stuff that she couldn’t do much with anymore. There were stamps, stationery, stickers, cards, and more.
I gave it to the kids, and they fell in love! One of my children, in particular, LOVES to CREATE! She must have made me ten cards and love notes within the first week of receiving those bags!
To make Valentine’s Day cards together, all you really need is a piece of paper and some crayons. This is a Valentine’s Day activity for all ages.
*Creating Valentines Day cards will speak to children with Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, and the added bonus of Receiving Gifts if you choose to make your card for your child and give it to her! (And why wouldn’t you?)
Make Dinner for Daddy
Having children on Valentine’s Day can often mean that the romantic stuff gets forgotten about.
Honestly, even before we had kids, the last thing in the world I wanted to do on Valentine’s Day was – wait 45 minutes for a table at a crowded restaurant to eat a meal we could have prepared at home in our PJs.
Now that you have the blessed task of raising your kids to know and understand how to give and receive love, making a meal together for daddy is a great idea!
It’s important to remember that when a child has the love language of receiving gifts, that means she also prefers to show someone love by giving a gift!
*Quality Time and Receiving Gifts
Hang Valentine’s Decorations
When I threw the Valentine’s Day party, I mentioned above the children asked me if they could decorate. Now I am not much of a decorator, but I know my kids, and I knew their idea of “decorating” is to have colored paper from the ceiling.
I knew that if they were asking me if they could do it, it meant that decoration for our party was important to them. So I said yes.
I did make a few tissue paper pom poms to hang from the ceiling, but otherwise, the decorate was their doing.:) They cut out red and pink hearts and paper spirals and hung them throughout the house.
This activity may require letting go of an expectation of perfection and letting kids be kids.
*Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation (They’ll LOVE getting compliments on their design job!)
Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt Game
We LOVE scavenger hunts at our house! Like, really, really love them! There is just something about looking for things that sparks the wonder inside a child!
Kids don’t need an elaborate hunt, they just need a bit of adventure. Scavenger hunts have the added benefit of keeping kids busy in a positive way.
The very best part about THIS Valentines Day Scavenger Hunt Game is that it requires very little effort from mom.
They’ll be tasked with looking for “things that remind them of love” whether inside or out, it’ll be a lot of fun!
*This is sure to appeal to children of ALL love languages because kids simply love a scavenger hunt!
Words of Love Game
This game is played by “assigning” words of love for the day. Instruct your children to “call people out” whenever they hear the assigned words of love used!
For instance, if you declare the word of love to be “Sweetheart,” whenever your child hears the word Sweetheart used, she’ll call out a designated phrase.
Designated phrases can be something simple, such as, “YOU SAID LOVE, NOW I GET A HUG!” Or, something elaborate like a rhyme.
Use your imagination, keep it simple, and let them have fun by listening intentionally for words of love.
*Words of Affirmation
Pin The Heart on the Human
A spin on the classic Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Pin the Heart on the Human is a simple and fun way to get kids engaged.
When we play this, I LITERALLY draw a huge stick figure! Every once in awhile, I’ll put some real effort into it and give my human a shape, but typically he’s made of lines!
Hang a “kid-sized” human on the wall, cut out a red paper heart, stick a piece of tape on the back and have a blast seeing who can get closest to the “heart spot!”
*Non-artistic note: A human can be created by taping several sheets of regular paper together, then drawing your stick figure on. Kids are insanely easy to please and DO NOT care what your human looks like!
“I Love You Because”
The “I Love You Because” Game is a Mommy favorite!
We play this game by sitting in a large circle together. I have created a “Magic Talking Wand” out of a wooden spoon. (Listen mama friend, it’s just a wooden spoon… seriously!:)
Once we’re in a circle, we take turns holding the Magic Talking Wand. Whoever is holding the Wand must finish this sentence to the person to their left or right, “I love you because _______!”
Anyone not holding the Wand must not speak, and those holding the Wand must find something they love about the other person.
The things they choose to say can be ANYTHING! From basic complements such as the color of a child’s hair to elaborate feelings such as how the child always includes others. Just let your child share her heart.
*Words of Affirmation
Read About St. Valentine Out Loud
Valentine’s Day truly is about love. The story of St. Valentine (to the best of anyone’s knowledge) is a tale of selfless love.
Teaching children how holidays and traditions are formed provides meaning and weight to them that they may not otherwise comprehend.
Reading aloud to your children is fantastic for brain development, family bonding, and your child’s vocabulary! In fact, it’s one of those underestimated things that if all parents truly understood just how powerful it was, we’d all be a little shocked!
Read the story available here and spend a few minutes afterward talking it over.
Sing a Love Song to Jesus
Most small children like to sing. It’s the reason songs like “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves Me” are so popular among church-going preschoolers!
Using an opportunity such as Valentine’s Day to remind children of Who loves us most and Who is the very definition of Love will plant seeds that reap a bountiful harvest!
Pick your favorite worship song and crank it up. Spend 3-6 minutes singing a love song to Jesus. Teach your kids how to worship and how to seek Him.
*Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts
Deliver Treats to First Responders
Do you get all choked up, like I do, when you think about the men and women who serve their communities?
The hearts of the first responders are to be admired! Police officers, EMT’s, and Firefighters are brave, sacrificial, and they sure didn’t choose their careers in an attempt to get rich!
Call up your local fire station or police station and ask if you can drop by with a treat.
If you love to bake, bake them some homemade cookies. If not, pick up a box of cupcakes or cookies from the store and just spend a minute telling your first responders how much you appreciate them when you drop the goodies off!
My goodness… what a GREAT example you’ll be setting and teaching your children!
*Acts of Service
Pay it Forward Game
We’re all familiar with what it means to pay it forward.
You’ll often hear about people paying for the coffee of the car behind them in the Starbucks drive-thru.
Pay it Forward is a great option for a Valentine’s Day with kids activity because it’s easily customizable and requires NO preparation.
Instruct the kids to look for ways to pay it forward all day long. The game is played when one child receives the pay it forward FROM someone else, they then have to pay it forward TO someone else.
This is a great way to encourage sibling bonds. If you have an only child, you then are responsible for keeping the game going by paying it forward to your child regularly so she can then pay it forward again.
Some examples are:
- Doing a siblings chore
- Complimenting a stranger (“I like your dress.”)
- Giving a spontaneous hug
*ALL love languages benefit with this one!
Forgotten Loved One Letter
Every family has members they can’t seem to stay in touch with.
It’s easy to let time slip away, telling yourself you should really check in and see how so and so is doing, but never actually doing it.
With the Valentine’s holiday being full of cards and gifts, it’s a great opportunity to be intentional to make that forgotten relative feel remembered.
Create a card or note and send it via mail, email, or even a picture. Encourage your kids to write or draw whatever is in their hearts.
Using the backdrop of Valentines Day prevents it from being “weird” if you haven’t spoken to the person in a while and everyone is touched by the kindness of a child,
*Acts of Service and Receiving Gifts
Look for Red Game
Activities that require a child to be on the lookout for something intentionally are great brain-boosters.
I love incorporating these types of games as much as possible in our daily lives.
When kids are getting anxious in the car, this works well to occupy or distract them. When you need a few minutes alone to get a tedious task done, this works great then too!
Look for Red (or any color) is played by assigning your child the task of finding red things. You can assign them to look for a certain amount of time, making a contest of “how many” he can find. Or, you can assign the game for the entire day, simply requiring her to point it out every time she finds something red.
*Words of Affirmation
Look for Love Game
Just like the Look for Red game, while playing Look for Love, you are charing your child with the task of intentionally looking out for something.
Only now she’s looking for love!
What does love look like? Well, that’s the point of the game! What does SHE think love looks like?
Perhaps it’s when a stranger holds the door open. Or when mommy makes her favorite lunch.
Love can look like MANY things to many people. This game sets her heart in motion to be observant of the world around her and look for ways people show each other love that we often miss.
My favorite way to play this game is to challenge a child to look for godly love. They’re specifically looking for actions one person does to another that resemble selfless, unconditional love.
*Words of Affirmation
Beaded Hearts Craft
I’m the first to admit that I am not craftsy! As a matter of fact, I have to force myself to do anything craftsy for the sake of my kids!
But… this craft I can totally do! I use this model for just about every holiday!
Celebrating Valentines Day with kids makes for a great excuse, I mean opportunity, to get craftsy. This craft is sure to be a hit with child and mom!:)
My Loves Fill-in Printable
Printables that capture moments and memories are among my favorite activities with kids.
Using simple printables to record a child’s answers to cute questions provides you with a time-capsule of sorts that you can bring out in future years to compare to, ooo and aww over, and treasure!
A great idea for storing these is to get a 3-ring-binder, with dividers (as many as you have children), and make a section for each child.
Add these printables and other favorites that they complete over the years to the collection. By the time your child is grown, you’ll have an adorable and treasured keepsake!
*Quality Time and Receiving Gifts
Pink (or Red) Only Coloring Sheet
Kids love to color.
There’s something magical and therapeutic about putting color to a stark-white sheet of paper!
You can take a simple child’s activity such as coloring and make it a special time of connection on Valentine’s Day by merely using ONLY pink and red to color in the picture!
Older kids can be challenged to keep the picture interesting while only using the two colors.
Younger kids will reveal which color they like more by using one much more than the other.
Simple and so fun!
*Quality Time and Receiving Gifts
Secret Love Words Dancing Game
It’s good for kids to be silly. It’s especially good for your kids to see you be silly in front of other people.
When mom and dad act a little crazy out in public, it gives children a glimpse of what confidence looks like.
Play the Secret Love Words Dancing Game by assigning a word to the day. Whenever your child (or you) hears that word, the rule is, you have to dance. Wherever you are. Whoever is around.
*Words of Affirmation and Quality Time
Valentine’s Day Rapid Fire Game
The Valentines Day Rapid Fire Game is a spin-off of the Elevator Game I taught here.
In the Valentine’s Day Rapid Fire Game, the goal is to encourage bold conversation and sharing, which is a highly beneficial skill when trained intentionally.
The game is played by setting a timer (typically 1-2 minutes is good) and instructing your child to talk about all the things they love about Valentine’s Day until the timer goes off.
He could state simple things like how much he likes the color red or how much he loves Valentine’s Day candy. Or he may end up sharing that he likes it because mom spends extra time with him! (Boom!)
Bless a Stranger Game
The Bless a Strange Game is one of our family favorites by a landslide!
What we all need to know is that there will always be other people in the world! And our children will be around those other people their whole lives, so the better they can get at not being intimidated by them, the better off they are!
Play the Bless a Stranger Game by being kind of a stranger!
This could mean challenging your child to hold a door open or pay someone a random and simple compliment. You choose what you are comfortable, but be sure to stretch your comfort levels and participate yourself!
*Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation
Count the Ways Game
Count the Ways is played when mom and child take turns listing all the ways they feel loved by the other.
This game helps your child learn that it’s good for others to get credit for their work. Although making your child’s lunch may not feel like work to you, allowing him the opportunity to verbalize these things is good practice for extending a pat on the back!
You can play this game by sitting in a circle with the “Magic Talking Wand” like you would for “I Love You Because” or you can play while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa with heart marshmallows!
*Words of Affirmation and Quality Time
Spending Valentine’s Day With Family
The saying goes, “A child holds your hand for a little while, but your heart forever.”
The goal of using these family Valentine’s Day ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids, in a meaningful way, is to tighten and tether the heartstrings between mom and child.
The only tool you have in your parenting reserve that will allow you positive long-term influence over your child’s life is the connection or relationship you have with her.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day with your children in a meaningful and purposeful way will produce greater rewards than you can imagine some heart-shaped marshmallows are capable of!
Keep things simple and connect in as many ways as you can!
The time while they are little is short, and life is fleeting. Make the most of this Valentine’s Day with your kiddos!