Emily Buckley, editor in chief




Some people oppose Valentine’s Day, staunchly calling it a “Hallmark holiday,” but I see it as a great way to make it through the long, cold winter months and up the kindness level in our home. My husband and I opt to celebrate this holiday as a family and have made many great memories with

our kiddos doing so. Here are 14 ideas that you can implement fairly simply to make Valentine’s Day sweet for your whole family.

  1. Send Valentines: There are lots of ways to do it. My kids love creating homemade valentines and mailing them to faraway friends, grandparents, or cousins. Sometimes we include a coupon for an ice cream at McDonald’s or a homemade friendship bracelet. You can also email valentines via sites like Blue Mountain Cards, American Greetings, or Punchbowl for free. The Touchnote app lets you send postcards and add a picture. For about $1.50, they will do the printing and mailing to anywhere in the world.
  2. 14 Days of Kindness: Get creative as a family and plan 14 acts of kindness to do on the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Some ideas to help you get started: draw pictures or write notes to residents at a nursing home, pay for someone’s order in the fast-food line, deliver a treat to community helpers like the police, firefighters, or school secretaries, pick up trash in the neighborhood, or shovel a neighbor’s snowy driveway.
  3. Write Each Other Love Notes: Whether each kid puts out a creatively decorated mailbox, you have one family mail station, or you secretly hide notes on each other’s pillows and in backpacks, February is a great time to encourage your kids to write notes to their siblings. I’ve found that the writer is usually just as excited or more than the recipient. It feels good to be kind and always sets a special tone of love in our home when our kids are on a secret mission to share their love with each other.
  4. Make a Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board: A charcuterie (pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”) board is an easy, tasty, and beautiful way to feed a crowd an appetizer — but we like to use it for a meal! There’s a long list of what can go on a charcuterie board (hint: anything you want!), but they commonly include cured meat, cheese, olives, nuts, dried fruits, crackers, honey, bread and jelly or jam. You can cut cheese or salami into heart shapes and choose pink and red fruits and vegetables to make it especially festive.
  5. Have a Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt: Start at your kids’ bedrooms and put clues around the house, letting them search high and low for a box of candy, a pack of stickers, or a stuffed animal.
  6. Get Heart Healthy: February is American Heart Month, so use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to educate your kids about heart health. Plan an annual family walk or bike ride, or crank up your favorite love songs and get your hearts pumping with a Valentine’s Day dance party.
  7. Give them a Heart Attack: I love to surprise my kids by decorating their bedroom doors or bathroom mirrors with paper hearts. It makes it extra special to write compliments or love notes on the hearts.
  8. Break a Piñata: Kids love the fun of breaking a piñata. Heart-shaped piñatas are available on Amazon if you can’t find one locally. Your kids may also love making their own piñata using a balloon, newspapers, a paste made of flour and water, and tissue paper.
  9. Have a Photoshoot: Use cut-out hearts, feather boas, top hats, and costume jewelry to create a fun photo booth. Dress the kids in red and have a Valentine’s Day photo shoot!
  10. Bake Together: Sugar cookies are a standard in our house, but you could take it up a notch and try your hand at red velvet cake, truffles, cheesecake, or chocolate mousse. It could be fun to split the family into teams and have a bake off.
  11. Read Valentine’s Day-Themed Picture Books: Some of our favorites are: Love by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Loren Long; In My Heart by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey; Love is… by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane; The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond; and Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz.
  12. Dip Everything in Chocolate: We love to pull out the fondue pot on Valentine’s Day and dip strawberries, graham crackers, marshmallows, cheesecake bites, pretzels, and whatever else we can find in chocolate.
  13. Watch Your Wedding Video: Our kids love watching our wedding video. They think it is fun to see how young we looked, and we love reminiscing on loved ones who were there and how much our love has grown over the years.
  14. Say “I Love You:” How often do you say those three simple words out loud? No matter how else you choose to celebrate, there’s no better way to let your family know just how special you think they are!