Valentine's day activities for the whole family

Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it? Do you think February 14th is a great excuse to show your sweetheart just how much you care, or an over-commercialized non-holiday destined to cause friction between the genders? Regardless of your feelings toward the romance aspect, Valentine’s Day with kids can be so much fun. This year February 14th falls on a Saturday, and is full of Valentine’s Day Activities for families to have lots of love-themed fun together.

Dress the Part

Challenge everyone in the family to put together a Valentine-themed outfit. Aim to outfit yourselves in red, white, pink and purple. Boys (and their fathers) might balk at first, thinking you want them clad in hearts and butterflies; remind them about that favourite red and white hockey jersey and offer little prizes for ‘best-dressed’ family members. Don’t let all the effort go to waste… take a family selfie of the results and you’ll have a sweet, or possibly hilarious, memento.

Get Artsy-Crafty

Arts and crafts are a big part of Valentine’s Day with kids. Chances are you’ve recently overseen the creation and/or addressing of cards for your kids’ friends and classmates. With 20+ kids in each class, that can start to feel like a chore, but taking the time to complete a special project together as a family can be a real treat. A Pinterest search will provide you with more Valentine’s craft ideas than you could complete in a lifetime, but here are a few sweet ideas to get you started:

  • Instead of secretly making cards beforehand or using store-bought cards, why not make cards together, right on Valentine’s Day? Have lots of craft supplies on hand and sit down as a family to make mini masterpieces for each other.
  • Build a family photo collage. This is guaranteed to get your family talking about their favourite memories. You could make this a fairly sophisticated project, resulting in something you want to hang on your wall forever, but if you have young kids, consider doing a cheap, cheerful, and unbreakable version. Dollar stores carry poster board and you can cheaply print family photos ahead of time. Make sure you have enough scissors and glue for everyone and enjoy not micromanaging the project to ensure it’s ‘perfect’. Whether you make one together or one each, be sure to display them in a place of pride once the glue is dry.
  • Make some pink or red play dough and have fun shaping it with cookie cutters, the potato masher, garlic press and other kitchen tools. Show the kids how to roll ‘worms’ and form them into heart shapes. Spell their names and “I ♥ U”.
  • Bake heart-shaped cookies, or decorate brownies or rice krispie squares with red and pink Smarties or jelly beans, or cinnamon hearts. The best part is eating what you made, together!

Make a Fancy Feast

In my opinion, eating out on Valentine’s Day is highly overrated. Restaurants are operating at maximum capacity; service and food quality often suffer. Skip the stress and make a meal to remember at home.

  • Let the kids help you plan and prepare the meal. Offer a couple of choices (with photos for non-readers), and decide on something you’d like to make together. Give the kids age-appropriate tasks and then have the satisfaction of seeing them tuck into a meal they are proud of co-creating. For a really easy option, trim Greek-style pitas into heart shapes and have a build-your-own pizza party.
  • Decorate the table! For older kids, you could really fancy it up with a tablecloth, flowers, candles and pretty glassware. If your young kids make that seem like a recipe for disaster, use paper napkins and plates in Valentine’s colors and drink out of red Solo® cups. Let kids decorate their own cups with markers or stickers while you’re putting the finishing touches on the meal. Serve the kids a mocktail (like cranberry juice and sparking water) while you and your sweetie enjoy a much-deserved cocktail!
  • Or have a picnic. Sure, it’s February and probably freezing outside, but why not have a picnic on the kitchen or family room floor? Spread a blanket, use non-spill cups and enjoy a meal of kid-friendly finger foods. Think PB & J sandwiches cut into heart shapes or small sushi rolls. The indoor picnic could easily become a family winter tradition.

Take the Family on a Date

You don’t need to stay home to enjoy family time together! Plan ahead to get out of the house and make some new memories.

  • Head outdoors for some winter fun. How about skating, skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, hiking or just taking the dog for a long walk? If it’s an option where you live, end your excursion with a campfire and s’mores. A sweet treat will perk up tired family members and help make the day memorable.
  • Go out, but stay inside. With Valentine’s being on a Saturday this year, there will be lots going on in most cities. Try a play, concert, dance performance or musical, or hit a local museum, science centre, zoo or leisure centre. Wondering what’s going on your city? In Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary or Halifax, Family Fun Canada’s team has already done all the hard work; check our Valentine’s event lists. For other areas, search online or check with your city’s arts and recreation departments.
  • Go to a movie. All the latest pics will be on, but if you’re looking for a sweet and affordable show, select Cineplex theatres across Canada will be showing The Muppet Movie at 11 am, for just $2.99 per person.

Hold a Love-In

Watching movies, reading together, playing games… these are things most families do together at least once in a while (and hopefully quite often!). To make the day really stand out, add some special twists to these family activities.

  • Settle in for a family movie complete with cozy viewing den of blankets, pillows and stuffies. Plan snacks like fruit kabobs with melon cut cut into heart shapes (using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter) or some fancy popcorn (our family loves this popcorn recipe). Pick a movie about families, friendship or age-appropriate romance. Visit for lots of great “best-of” lists for all types of media, including a Romance Movies list that has choices for every age group.
  • Read books about love, friendship and families with your kids; Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie Friedman is a favourite with my daughter. Or show kids your wedding and baby albums and tell the story of how your family came to be.
  • Organize a board game tournament! Have fun Valentine’s-themed prizes ready to reward kids for winning, having good attitudes or improving their skills. Co-operative games, rather than competitive ones, are a great choice. Family Pastimes makes fun co-operative games for ages 3 to adult.

Share the Love

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a partner or family nearby to share Valentine’s Day. Take baking or homemade cards to a nursing home or shelter, or visit a single or elderly neighbor with some flowers or treats. You’re sure to brighten their day while teaching your kids important lessons about caring for the more vulnerable members of our society.

Hopefully, these ideas have you looking forward to planning a special jour d’amour with the whole family. If, however, you and your darling have your hearts set on an evening a deux, simply have your family activities earlier in the day. Turn breakfast or lunch into the fancy meal, and make your family movie a matinée. Set the babysitter up with some themed craft supplies to keep the fun going after you’re gone. Whatever your choices, have a Happy Valentine’s Day with the ones you love best. ♥