Open kids’ hearts to sweet ideas for Valentine’s sharing, treats, and celebrations

Cupid’s arrow makes a beeline for the mushball in us all this time of year. Kids of every age roll their eyes at the silly sayings, rhymes, and riddles. What did the pencil say to the paper? I dot my i’s on you! What a great time to love on kids in extra special ways and also help them remember others.

Thinking ahead, last fall Katherine Lee, writing for Very Well, offered “Kids’ Valentine Party Ideas.” One of the sweetest is throwing a party with a charitable theme. Lee writes: “Some ideas for kids Valentine party for a cause: Putting together care packages for troops serving overseas, making toys or treats for pets in shelters, and filling backpacks with school supplies to deliver to homeless children, and just to name a few.” She adds, “What better way to teach kids about love than to host a kids Valentine party for a cause and show the next generation all the ways they can show love for fellow humankind?”

Lee also compiled Valentine’s Games for Kids’ Valentine’s Day Parties, including Catch My Heart, Valentine Charade Matching Hearts, and Valentine’s Day Pictionary

Sharing and caring start at home, and for V-Day last year the Huffington Post blog posted “Celebrating Valentine’s Day at Home with Young Children,” by Jamie Davis Smith, who wrote, “There are lots of ways to celebrate at home as a family and create a truly special night.” Some of the suggestions may sound basic, but in today’s 24/7 wired world they are easily overlooked: spend time together, celebrate each other, eat together, bake together, play together, and read together. Smith notes that “Reading together as a family is a great opportunity to get in some fantastic cuddling time.” (The post has a couple suggestions for “just mom and dad time,” too!)

Parenting’s “Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids,” by Kelly Ladd Sanchez, rounded up some other excellent V-Day celebration ideas for the family. For example, Kim Stogbauer, a children’s party designer and blogger with The tomkatstudio.com, suggested hiding a few construction-paper hearts all over the house for the kids to find. The one who finds the most wins a special V-day treat, like a new book.

Along the same lines, the Balancing Bedlam & Beauty blog offers “Creative, Fun, Family Ideas for Valentine’s Day,” including free, printable “10 Things I Love About You” cards. They even have a pocket-sized version! These happy little notes are super for both kids and adults. The blog urges V-Day celebrants to: “Place your note in a lunch box, on a pillow, in a briefcase, or even on a car’s windshield, and know that your ten minutes of intentionality today will change the course of their day (even if they don’t let you know).”

No need to overdo it on the sugar load, but a little treat definitely whispers “I love you” in a distinctly special Making Lemonade blog borrowed an adorable school treat idea from Everything in Focus: Swedish Fish in a “bowl.” Or try slightly gooey, pastel and pretty  4-ingredient Strawberries and Cream Sweetheart Popcorn Bars by Betty Hardin. Classic Play offers up Strawberry Smoothies with a strawberry-tipped “arrow” that make the day special (and nutritious) from breakfast to bedtime. Yet another cute way to slip in some fruit is in the form of Chocoloate-dipped Clementine Hearts from Premeditated Leftovers.