We typically think of Valentine's Day as a lover's holiday, filled with chocolates, flowers, jewelry, a fancy dinner downtown, or a romantic evening in. But Valentine's Day can be a day for the entire family, with as much love and attention given to your kids as mom and dad lavish on each other. Here are nine ideas for an inclusive cupid celebration.
Start a Garden: It's still chilly and you're feeling snowed-in, but you can still get a jump start on a garden. Find a sunny space, whether it's a room, enclosed porch, or just a windowsill, and use clean egg cartons, milk containers, or growing boxes from the garden center. Make sure they have holes for drainage; fill with soil and plant your seeds. Are you unsure of what will grow in the area you live? This zone chart will help you decide what grows best once you transplant the seeds outdoors. You can also invest in an indoor garden kit, which comes with lights, tables, pots, seeds, soil, tools, and fertilizer.
Take a Trip to a Museum: Even if you don't live in a major metropolitan area, most towns have at least one museum or historical site within driving distance. And museums are not always about great art, dinosaur bones, or antiques. Children learn and enjoy seeing strange, weird, odd, and unusual collections of toys, food, movie memorabilia, and other representations of one person's lifetime passion. Check out this list of the nation's most oddball museums for inspiration.
Visit a National Park: The U.S. Park Service has a comprehensive website with information on every park by state, as well as annual admission pass information. This is a gift that gives throughout the year, encouraging travel, appreciation, and exploration of our nation's most treasured possession: it's protected landscapes.
Go to your Local Library or Bookstore: Digital dominates their world, but kids still prefer paper books over reading on their phones or tablets. Encourage a lifelong love affair with words by visiting your library or bookstore for story time or poetry readings, music presentations, and author meet-and-greet sessions. Then browse the aisles, choose some books, and sit down and read together.
Sign-up for a Parent and Child Art Class: Find a craft shop offering painting or pottery classes and go as a family. Create a set of hot cocoa mugs, paint a comic family portrait, or design and print special T-shirts. Enjoy your artistic attempts!
Create a Wicked (or Wonderful) Winter Wander: Bundle up and head for the park. Use the natural and man-made features as the basis for two forts, and have the ultimate snowball fight showdown. If the snow is deep enough and you own skis, do a cross-country run for fun and exercise. The loser has to make (or buy) hot chocolate for everyone!
Give the Gift of Sport: It's difficult to get motivated for workouts in winter; now is the time to try out a new sport. Give the kids the sports lessons they've always wanted. Whether it's the winter sports of skiing, skating, or hockey, rent or buy the equipment secondhand and get them into an exercise routine. Some warm weather sports, such as swimming, soccer, baseball, and basketball, are possible during the cold months; many towns offer indoor practice, camps, and lessons at local community centers.
How-To Become Handy: Local and national chain hardware stores offer parent- and kid-friendly workshops and project days. Children learn simple skills and tool safety as they design and build a practical project to take home. These events teach children practical skills and respect for the bigger and more powerful tools in the home workshop.
Learn to Cook: Department stores, grocery stores, specialty food shops, and cookware stores offer cooking lessons for families. It's a time to bond over a homemade meal and make a mess without worrying about who cleans up. It also teaches children practical skills they need later in life.
These are just a few ideas to enjoy this Valentine's Day as a family and show one another some love.