Every Valentine's Day, Americans gift their loved ones with chocolates, flowers, and cards. What many people don't realize is that other countries around the globe have very different ways of celebrating this day of love. For the families looking for Valentine's Day ideas for kids, consider trying out these unique traditions and celebrating this holiday in a truly unique way! Plus get tips on simple ways to make the Valentine's Day celebration with the family extra special.
Valentine's Day Ideas For Kids From Around the World
Explore other cultures and have fun at the same time with these Valentine's Day activities that you can do at home as a family.
Make Snowdrop Letters With Your Kids
Every year in Denmark, sweethearts and friends partake in a tradition called gækkebreve. This involves taking white paper, folding it four times into a square, and then finely cutting out sections to create a beautiful design. Then, they write a poem in the center. However, they don't sign their note. Instead, they put a dot for every letter of their name. Next, they press delicate white wildflowers called snowdrops and include them with the note.
Recipients of this sweet gesture must guess who sent the letter based on the text and the number of dots. This can be a fantastic tradition to start with your kids and it can serve as a pleasant surprise for family members and friends. For those who are not in an area where snowdrops are prevalent, don't worry - you can make paper versions of these beautiful flowers instead.
Bake German Gingerbread Hearts
In Germany, conversation hearts are much bigger and tastier! You see, these sweet treats, called Lebkuchen cookies, are made of gingerbread. They still feature delightful remarks in the center, but these cookies have ribbons attached and recipients wear them around their necks. While popular all throughout the year, they are most often seen on Cupid's big day! This can serve as a fun Valentine's Day activity for kids and adults alike.
Have a Family Chocolate Tasting for Valentine's Day
Chocolate gifts are not just a staple in the United States. February 14th is also National Chocolate Day in Ghana, one of the two largest cocoa-producing countries in the world. In honor of this sweet occasion, head over to your local gourmet chocolate shop and pick up a selection of chocolates and truffles. Then, have a chocolate tasting at home with the family! Let everyone try the milk, dark, white, and ruby chocolates, as well as everything in between. This is a fun way to explore the world of chocolate and spend some time with the family.
Host a Galantine's Day Sleepover
Did you know that is Finland and Estonia, Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate friends? In these countries, February 14t is Friend's Day. For the families who are willing to host some extra guests on the holiday, let your kids invite over their bestest of friends and host a sleepover! Activities can include other traditions from around the world as well as customs that are found in these two countries. Cards are a major part of the celebrations in Finland and Estonia, so grab some paper, glitter, glue, stickers, and markers for your kids to go crazy with their decorative sentiments.
Craft Marzipan Figurines
In Valencia, Spain, Valentine's Day is celebrated in October. Despite this slight difference in days, the tradition of gift giving remains the same. However, instead of flowers and chocolates, gentlemen suitors make marzipan figurines. This can be a fun and tasty activity for the whole family! All you need is almond flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, egg whites, almond extract, and food coloring. Mix your ingredients together 24 hours in advance and then get creative! These can be great Valentine's Day gift ideas for kids to give their friends and family.
Help Kids Be a Secret Jack Valentine
According to legend, on the eve of Valentine's Day, a gentleman named Mr. Jack Valentine ventures across the city of Norfolk, UK to distribute gifts to residents. Just like Santa Claus, this magical man has never been seen, but he's had an impact for over 200 years. This Valentine's Day, take on this tradition of unexpected kindness and show some love to neighbors and friends. Make cards and little gifts and then go out as a family to drop off these tokens of appreciation! It's bound to brighten their Valentine's Day, and research shows it will bring you happiness as well.
Make Floral Pig Figurines
Yes, you read that right! Pigs are another part of German Valentine's Day celebrations. Since flowers are also a staple on this holiday, combine the two and show off your floral design skills.
Simply grab some floral foam from your local craft store, along with wooden kabob sticks, aluminum serving trays, floral shears, and carnations in an array of colors. Cut out three foam pieces for each person-a big circle for the face and two triangles for the ears. Let them soak in water for two minutes and then attach your pieces to make your pig face using the kabob sticks. Place them in your aluminum trays to limit the mess. Finally, cut your flowers short and create your design!
Decorate With Paper Heart Lanterns
Verona is the city where Romeo and Juliet's forbidden love bloomed. It is now the setting for a Love Festival where residents line the streets with heart-shaped paper lanterns. Get into the spirit of the holiday and decorate your own home in the same manner!
More Easy Family Valentine's Day Ideas to Share the Love
There are also lots of other easy ways to make Valentine's Day special for kids and families inspired by your everyday activities. Try one of these simple options to show love and appreciation - and have fun as a family.
Have a Family Valentine's Letter Exchange
Valentine's Day is all about love, so take some time to have family members share what they love about one another. Have everyone in the family draw names and write a letter (if kids are too young to write, they can get help from an adult or create a drawing instead) that shows what they love or appreciate about the designated family member. Share the letters or drawings over a Valentine-themed family dinner.
Give Your Favorite Family Games a Valentine Twist
If you are pressed for time but want to throw some Valentine fun into family night, think about using some small hacks to give favorite family games a Valentine twist. Swap game pieces out for conversation hearts or wrapped chocolates, or play charades with only Valentine-themed ideas. Share your favorite kid-friendly Valentine jokes or cute kids' Valentine quotes during game time.
Have Kids Find the Cute Character Couples
You can create a fun twist on a scavenger hunt with your kids favorite characters or toys. There are certain characters that just go together, like Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Younger kids can have fun finding their favorite character pairs hidden around the house. For older kids, try pairing up some funny character or animal combinations - like a stuffed animal that lives in the sea and one that lives on land. Make it as easy or complicated as you'd like. Have a timer to find the hidden toys in a set amount of time, have older kids identify why it's a silly match, or use clues to find where the next couple lives. Finish with prizes like Valentine candy at the end to give everyone a sweet surprise.
Create a What Love Is Jar With Kids
Valentine's Day centers around the idea of love and relationships, so it provides a good opportunity to talk about what love means with kids. If kids are old enough (elementary age and up) create a jar where everyone writes down an aspect of what they think love means on a slip of paper. Pull out the slips over dinner or Valentine's Day treats and talk about what each person wrote. This can be an opportunity for parents to talk about things like respect, boundaries, and healthy relationships. Brainstorm ways everyone can be more loving to one another and write it on a family whiteboard to make your family stronger than ever.
Gamify Valentine Family Movie Night
Make family movie night a real Valentine treat by coming up with a unique theme for your family. It could be something like "Feeling and Healing" where you watch inspirational family movies, or it could be love moves inspired by literature appropriate for families, like the 2011 hit Gnomeo and Juliet. Then, gamify the Valentine family movie fest by asking everyone trivia questions about the movie afterward.
Make Family Valentine Puzzles or Other DIY Crafts
There are lots of cute ways to make your own Valentine-themed crafts as a family. One easy idea is to take old family photos, glue them to posterboard, cardstock, or lightweight cardboard, and then cut them to make heart-shaped puzzles. You can make larger puzzle pieces for little kids or create a photo college to make more challenging puzzles for older kids.
Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Kids
Valentine's Day isn't Christmas or a birthday, but lots of parents want to do something special for their kids or families when the holiday comes around. If you want to go beyond traditional gifts, try one of these ideas.
Presents Inspired by World Traditions
Some of the activities listed above can serve as ways to make unique Valentine's Day gifts too. Make marzipan figurines, snowdrop letters, and gingerbread hearts for family and friends! Pig-themed gifts can also be a surprisingly fun choice. We love these ideas:
- Gift flowers following the Japanese language of flowers, otherwise known as Hanakotoba. This practice places a meaning with different flower types. For instance, red carnations represent familial love, daffodils symbolize respect (making them a good gift for parents and grandparents), and zinnias mean loyalty. Also, always gift odd numbers of flowers and avoid groupings of nine and 13. This can be seen as bad luck!
- Wooden spoons: In Wales, loved ones exchange decorative wooden spoons. While you are likely not going to whittle one yourself, you can let your kids decorate wooden spoons to give to their friends. All you need is paint, glue, glitter, and any other craft supplies that they may want to add to their love spoons. This is an easy craft that allows them to show their creative side.
- Chocolate + flowers: For the folks who want to stick with the chocolate and flower themes seen in Ghana, Japan, Romania, and the United States, consider combining the two! All you need are chocolate melting wafers and silicone flower molds. Melt your chocolate, pour it into the molds, and then place them in the fridge or freezer for approximately 30 minutes. These are easy gifts to make that have some extra meaning behind them.
Simple Valentine Gifts for Kids and Families
Simple can still be meaningful, so don't stress when it comes to giving your children something special on Valentine's Day.
- Affirmations: Nothing means more to your kids than your love. Create some simple positive affirmation cards for kids or for the whole family to express your love and give everyone a daily boost.
- Give your kids a break: Giving someone a break can be a way to show your love. Give your kids (include your spouse or partner too if you'd like) a Valentine card that gives them a break or free pass on a chore or task they don't love (like cleaning their room, taking out the trash, or feeding the puppy). When they're having a bad day, they can cash it in, no questions asked.
- Help them express themselves: Every kid is unique and expresses themselves differently, so tailor your gift to their gifts. Do they like to write? Give them a cute journal. Is art their thing? Specialty sketch pens or art markers might be a welcome Valentine gift. Is your kid a building fanatic? Fuel their budding engineering skills with a Valentine-themed Lego set.
- Go custom to make Valentine's gifts special: Having a special item with their name or nickname on it can be really special for kids on Valentine's Day. Think about a custom book, like Reasons Why I Love You, custom tees or hoodies, or even a cute custom cereal bowl with their name front and center.
Make the Most of Celebrating Valentine's Day as a Family
For families with kids, dashing off for date night on February 14th isn't always feasible. Plus, celebrating Valentine's Day together as a family provides lots of great opportunities for bonding and learning. Whether you try a creative idea inspired by cultures around the world, put your own Valentine twists on family games or crafts, or simply have a special meal together on Valentine's Day, celebrating the day as a family can make it special and fun for everyone.