As delightful as a romantic candle-lit dinner for two may be, once kids get added into the equation, you’ve got to think more creatively. But that’s okay. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples; it’s for sharing with anyone you care about. And what better expression of your love than the family you have created? This Valentine’s Day, show your family how much you cherish them all day long. Keep reading to get 8 splendid ideas on ways to celebrate the holiday with the entire family.
1. Dine Elegantly
A special dinner can still be in the cards even if it takes place at home. An added plus of taking charge of the experience is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you care to make it. Begin with candles and fresh flowers, and feel free to sacrifice one or two buds so you can have romantic petals on the table. Have everyone get dressed up in fancy Valentine’s Day outfits, and let the kids decide for themselves what their idea of dressy is.
If you’re feeling especially inspired, make boutonnieres for the gents and corsages for the ladies. Options abound for the meal itself. One idea is to make dishes entirely out of red foods. Or you could serve heart-shaped pizzas or cookies. Or you can simply arrange pink cupcakes in a heart shape on a plate. If you have the time and inclination, create a treat board for dessert. This can easily contain healthy options like fruit and yogurt for dipping. Whatever you do, definitely have the kids contribute ideas about what to serve.
2. Create Together
Nothing says ‘I Love You’ like a handmade gift. And if the weather outside is frightful, a crafting day can be the perfect way to pass the time. Crafting can take so many forms, edible or not, long-lasting or made to enjoy today. You could bake cookies or pretzels, sliders, make decadent truffles or chocolate fondue for dipping fruit and cake. Non-food craft ideas for kids include tissue paper flowers, salt dough ornaments for a Valentine’s Day tree, or simple fingerprint heart art. Older kids may enjoy making origami hearts, string art, or heart-shaped tissue paper sun catchers. And all but the tiniest babes can make cards decorated with potato stamps (cut into heart shapes, of course). Be sure to include the date so you will always remember this special day.
3. Dance the Night Away
It’s likely that Valentine’s Day will involve extra sugar. Why not burn off some of that energy with a sweet dance session? Cue up your favorite tunes on an iPod, pop Just Dance into the Wii, or just flick on the radio. If your kids are into it, learn actual dance steps. YouTube has countless free tutorials from ballroom to Bollywood so you can torch calories and learn something new at the same time. Not feeling super energetic? Get everyone matching pjs, make up a big batch of popcorn, and cuddle up on the couch to watch a favorite movie together.
Another option for burning off that box of chocolates is to take a romantic and educational outing to gaze at the stars. Canada is blessed with vast areas of wilderness, and Ontario is home to many Dark Sky Preserves, including the one at North Frontenac located only 90 minutes from Ottawa. If you happen to be in the Toronto vicinity, check out the Binbrook Conservation Area near Hamilton where you can enjoy an inspirational view over Lake Erie. If you’re lucky, you might even spot Betelgeuse, aka, the red Valentine’s Star.
5. Up (or Bring) Your Game
If you’re in the mood to go out but a sit-down restaurant is beyond the kids’ patience level (or yours), consider taking the fam to a cafe for a relaxing, low-key outing. Treat yourself to a favorite fancy coffee drink, and the kiddos to hot chocolates with extra whipped cream. Many coffee shops now have games available for patrons to use, but feel free to bring your own. If the weather or other factors don’t cooperate, you can easily recreate a delightful cafe atmosphere at home.
6. Go on a Heart Hunt
No matter your age, a scavenger hunt is always great fun, and a Valentine’s Day-themed search is a great way to spend the day. Simply cut out a bunch of hearts from coloured paper, using one hue for each family member. The kids can most certainly help with this part. Write short, sweet messages on each one. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. An ‘I♥︎U’ or ‘Good for 1 Hug’ is all you need. You can even use candy hearts for inspiration. Assign colours to each person to find and let the fun begin! (Be sure to remind the kids that they shouldn’t shout out if they spot someone else’s colour.) The search can be done inside or out, so if the weather cooperates, definitely consider having the kids run around in the fresh air.
7. Seek Out Light
If you happen to be within striking distance of Toronto, consider making an outing to the Light Festival in the Historic Distillery District. The event is family-friendly, free, and this year, it takes place from January 17 — March 1, 2023. Besides lots of pretty lights, the festival features art created by local and international artists. Bundle up and enjoy!
8. Put the Kids to Bed Early
With such a fun, jam-packed day behind them, with any luck, you won’t have trouble getting the kids into bed early. Then the adults-only portion of Valentine’s Day can begin. Take the time beforehand to write each other love letters, and then savour them along with an adult beverage for a sweet ending to a sweet day.
With so many options, you may discover that one day is too short to do them all. The only thing better than a holiday is one that is so full of fun that it flies by!