Ah, love. Although with children in the house, it's more like ... "Ah! Looooooooove!"
Their enthusiasm for any themed holiday makes Valentine's Day the perfect opportunity to whip up cool crafts and special treats, while bonding as a family.
Better yet, there's no need to spend big bucks: From "going on a heart hunt" to making a half-dozen heart-shaped treats out of everyday food, we've got activities, projects and snacks to celebrate the day with little money, but lots of love!
Share the Love
Valentine's Day is the perfect time to help your children express what love means to them—and to you as a family.
Say It With Pictures
Ask your child what or whom she loves most—whether you, the dog or her new scooter—then take a picture of her with it. Do this activity each year, and you'll have a sweet montage of what really made her heart beat faster to show her when she's all grown up. (Framing is optional.)
Write Down Sweet Nothings
Tear up slips of paper and have each member of the family write (or dictate, depending on their age) something he or she loves about every other member. Then, distribute the slips to the appropriate members, and, at a family meal, have each person read them aloud and guess who wrote which ones.
Go on a 'Heart Hunt'
Send your children on an indoor "heart hunt." For younger kids, hide Conversation Hearts around the house, tell them how many there are (so you don't lose any) and set them to work. For children who are learning to read, you can hide letters on slips of paper to spell out a Valentine's message. For instance, write each letter from the phrase "I love you" on separate pieces of paper. Once they decode the message, give them a Valentine's prize.
How Do You Save on Family Stuff?
How will you celebrate Valentine's Day with the kids this year? What budget-friendly craft ideas are on your to-do list?
Holiday-themed crafts hold a special place in a child's heart and in the "things we're not allowed to throw away because someday these will be happy memories" drawer. And these crafty ideas repurpose things you already own.
Put a Stamp on It
There are two great things about stamps: 1) They have limited potential for mess and 2) they can be made from nearly anything. We have three specific "anythings" in mind.
- Celery "Roses": Take a complete celery bunch and cut straight through it about three inches from the bottom (see photo at left). Then dip the severed ends in paint and stamp them evenly onto paper. Look, you've created botanicals suitable for the most flowery of sentiments!
- Potato Hearts: Cut a potato in half, then use a sharp knife to cut out a heart from one of the exposed insides. On the other half, do the opposite and cut away the negative space around the heart to create two fun, themed stamps.
- Thumbprint Hearts: Considering that all you need is a thumb and an ink pad, thumbprint hearts are an easy breezy option. Overlap two thumbprints at roughly 45 degrees to form a little heart, or trace a heart with a pen and let your kids color them in with thumbs.
Repurpose Your Crayons
Give their old, broken crayons new life by using the wax to create cool heart-shaped versions using a silicone ice cube tray and an oven.
- Peel the wrappers off of your crayons (the kids can help with this part) and use a knife to chop them into pieces about half-an-inch long.
- Fill the ice cube tray with the crayon pieces, letting the children pick the color combinations. Encourage them to imagine what combinations they might need: green and yellow for grass, blue and gray for the sky, and so on.
- Pop the filled tray into the oven for 15 minutes at 230 degrees.
- Make sure the kids stand back as you pull out the tray, then let the crayons harden. Once they've cooled completely, grab your new crayons and get coloring!
Everything Is Yummier When It's Heart-Shaped
It's true—and kids know it! With one simple cookie cutter, you can make every meal a little more fun this time of year. In fact, we've found six foods that just might taste better when heart-shaped.
Click the first slide to see our ideas.
More From LearnVest
Never cringe again: Here's how to take the best photos of your family.
Meet Milk and Bookies, the cutest nonprofit we've ever seen.
These ten decor items will grow with your child from toddler to teen.