Celebrating Valentine's Day with kids adds a whole new meaning to this celebration of love! However, this sweet holiday can get too sugary, too fast.
What’s a parent to do when you want to treat your kid, but not to treats?
Instead of putting the Valentine’s Day focus on the sugary foods, you can divert the excitement to healthy activities your family can do together. The special day can become a great opportunity to focus on fun, healthy activities and creative expressions of love.
Here are some ideas that can help make the day special without relying on too much sugar:
1. Make healthy heart-shaped meals together
Get out your heart-shaped cookie cutters! There are so many ways to prep Valentine’s meals in fun heart shapes.
Your kids will definitely feel the love when you serve any of these for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (Even if you have a picky eater!)
- Pour whole wheat pancake batter into heart shapes (drop raspberries in for a splash of red)
- Cut whole wheat English muffins into heart shapes
- Top anything and everything with fresh fruit cut into heart shapes!
- Create heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch
- Cut cucumber slices into mini hearts
- Shape whole wheat raw pizza dough into hearts, then top it with the ingredients your kid loves best
- Trim quesadillas into heart shapes (bonus health points if you include black beans and veggies inside)
Better yet, get kids involved in making your Valentine’s Day healthy goodies. There are proven health benefits to including kids in the kitchen.
2. Create Valentine’s Day fruit bouquets
Fruit bouquets are fun to make! Kids love to give gifts, too, and when they help make the fruit bouquet, they can feel special giving one to you.
- Fresh, washed, firm but ripe fruit that doesn’t brown after cutting (such as strawberries, melon, pineapple, grapes, kiwi, and berries)
- Skewers or bamboo sticks
- Cookie cutters (heart-shaped or flower-shaped)
- A vase or a decorative pot
- Floral foam from a craft store (to hold the skewers in place)
- A knife and cutting board
- Prepare the Base:
- Place floral foam into the vase or pot. This will be the base for your skewers. Make sure it's secure and won't easily tip over.
- Cut and Shape the Fruit:
- Melon and pineapple: Cut them into slices and use cookie cutters to make heart or flower shapes.
- Strawberries: Leave them whole or halve them, depending on their size. You can also dip some in melted chocolate and let them cool on parchment paper.
- Grapes and Berries: Leave them whole.
- Kiwi: Peel and cut into slices or wedges.
- Assemble the Bouquet:
- Start skewering the fruit. For a nice visual effect, try to vary the shapes, colors, and textures on each skewer.
- Make sure the pieces are secure but not squished. Leave enough space at the bottom of the skewer to stick it into the base.
- Arrange the Bouquet:
- Press the fruit skewers into the floral foam, starting from the center and working your way out. The taller skewers should be in the center, with shorter ones on the outside.
- Adjust the placement as you go to ensure the bouquet is balanced and full. Fill in any gaps with more fruit or add extra skewers as needed.
Chill until serving! For more Valentine’s Day fruit treat ideas, check out this Pinterest board.
3. Get crafty together to show your love
Valentine's Day crafts are a wonderful way for kids to express their creativity and spread love to friends and family. You can bond together over craft time and create treasured keepsakes or gifts for loved ones.
Here are some fun and kid-friendly craft ideas:
- Handprint Heart Cards: Use paint to make handprint hearts on cardstock. Once dry, kids can turn them into cards by writing messages inside.
- Valentine's Day Slime: Create pink or red slime with glitter or heart-shaped confetti. Kids can help mix the ingredients and enjoy playing with their festive slime.
- Love Bug Crafts: Use pom-poms, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes to create adorable love bugs. Kids can make a whole bunch and give them out as valentines.
- Heart Wreaths: Cut out a bunch of paper hearts from different colored construction paper and glue them in a circle to create a heart-shaped wreath.
- Paper Heart Chains: Create chains of hearts by cutting strips of paper and forming them into heart shapes, then stapling or gluing them together to make long chains.
- Valentine's Day Bookmarks: Use cardstock, stickers, and markers to create personalized bookmarks. Kids can give them to friends or family members who love to read.
- Heart Stamps: Cut a potato or sponge into a heart shape and let kids dip it in paint to create heart stamps. They can stamp hearts onto paper, fabric, or homemade cards.
- Beaded Heart Jewelry: With pipe cleaners and beads, kids can thread heart-shaped bracelets or necklaces.
- Tissue Paper Flowers: Stack different colors of tissue paper, cut them into flower shapes, and secure them in the middle with a pipe cleaner. Fluff out the layers to create beautiful flowers.
- Window Decorations: Use tissue paper or suncatcher paint to create heart-shaped decorations that can hang in the window and catch the light.
- Love Potion Bottles: Decorate small bottles with glitter, stickers, and ribbons. Kids can pretend they're mixing up magical love potions.
- Fingerprint Heart Art: On a piece of paper or canvas, kids can use their fingerprints to create heart shapes or spell out a message with hearts. Perfect for really little kids!
4. Set up a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt
Activate their brain power! (And yours!)
Creating a Valentine's Day-themed scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to infuse the fun of the hunt with messages of love and appreciation.
Simply hide clues in your home or yard that lead to small prizes, like stickers, pencils, or small toys. Each clue can also include a reason why you love them or a happy memory.
Here are some sample scavenger hunt clues:
- Clue for the fridge: From veggies to juice, I hold it all, find your next clue where the cold things call. Find a message of love and something cute!
- Clue for under the bed: Where you rest your sweet sleepy head, look beneath, don't dread. Monsters aren't real, but your next clue is!
- Clue for the washing machine: Round and round, I go all day, washing your clothes so you can play. Inside me is where you need to peek, a message of love from me to my sweet.
- Clue for the bookshelf: Find the story that we love best! Look between the pages where stories are told, your next clue of love will unfold.
- Clue for the mirror: When you look in this you’ll see the face that I love. (Clue: It’s your face!)
- Clue for the closet: A place to hide. Open the door and see what's inside: not just my love, but a a clue to find!
- Clue for the couch: A cozy spot that’s not a bed. Look beneath the cushions deep, find a token of love to keep.
- Clue for an outdoor space: Out you go where the breezes flow. Find how much you mean to me.
More tips: Tailor each clue or message to reflect personal memories, inside jokes, or specific things you love about your child. To build on the Valentine’s Day theme, consider using heart-shaped notes or decorations with each clue.
Of course, one of the “gifts” they find can be a bottle of their favorite Renzo’s melty vitamins. With zero-sugar and a taste kids love, Renzo’s can help replace sweets while nourishing their little bodies.
5. Express your love through song and dance
Host a family concert or dance party with a Valentine’s Day twist: Have each family member choose a song and dedicate it to another family member.
This is your opportunity to belt out lyrics about how much you love your child. Here are some popular songs about a parent’s love for their child:
- “Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder
- “You Are My Sunshine" by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell
- "In My Daughter's Eyes” by Martina McBride
- "Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon
- "A New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion
- "Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel
- "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw
- "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" by John Lennon
- "To Zion" by Lauryn Hill
- "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston
Your kid may want nothing more than to sing Baby Shark to you, but hey, that’s love, too!
6. Share your love of stories
What’s better than a cuddle at the end of a long day? A cuddle with a book!
There are endless excellent books out there to read to kids on Valentine’s Day. Check your library, bookstore, or your own shelves for any of these:
For toddlers and preschoolers:
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
- I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth
- Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love
For kindergarteners and early elementary:
- The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
- Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
- Love Is by Diane Adams
- Love by Matt de la Peña
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
For elementary school kids:
- The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
- Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
- Love Monster by Rachel Bright
These books cover various aspects of love, including familial love, friendship, and self-acceptance, making them perfect for sharing and discussing on Valentine's Day!
7. Grow a “Garden of Love”
Brighten February 14th with indoor greenery! Head to your local greenhouse together and let your child choose a plant. If you need to pot the plant together, even better — kids love to get their hands in the soil.
Here are a few houseplants that are perfect for creating your own garden of love:
- Heartleaf Philodendron: With heart-shaped leaves, this plant is perfect for Valentine’s Day. It's also easy to care for and not picky about light!
- Anthurium: Known for its heart-shaped flowers (which are actually leaves), these beauties come in reds and pinks, fitting the Valentine's color scheme perfectly.
- Hoya Heart: This plant is often sold as a single, heart-shaped leaf that can eventually grow into a vine with proper care.
- Succulents: Some come in reds and pinks, but you can also arrange succulents in adorable heart-shaped pots and arrangements. Here are some ideas.
While you plant, talk about how love and care keep plants healthy, just like it keeps us healthy, too!
Here’s to a sweet Valentine’s Day without the sugar rush!
There are so many sugar-free ways to make Valentine’s Day special with kids. The key is to focus on activities that promote togetherness, creativity, and active engagement.
We hope you’ve found inspiration in this list! Share your ideas in the comments.