For some, Valentine’s Day was strictly an adult holiday. The parents went out for dinner, leaving the kids at home with a babysitter. Maybe you had a card exchange at school, but not much beyond that.
For others, Valentine’s Day was another special occasion that now floods the holiday with special memories.
Life is too short; why not do both?
Have your romantic evening, but throw a party for the kids, too. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a memorable occasion.
1. Decorate Cookies
I know, I know—not particularly original, but kids love decorating heart cookies. And eating them. And (sigh) making huge messes.
If the thought of baking makes you shudder, and no judgment here, you can drop a load of cash at Etsy or online bakeries for the real deal, but remember we said you didn’t have to spend a fortune, right?
Many local grocery stores have undecorated heart cookies, but if not you can always go with Pillsbury and their cut-out and ready-to-bake cookies at Target and other locations. A wonderful option to simplify.
If you want to make your own, you’ll save money and they’ll probably taste better. Growing up, you probably had the big soft cookies made with butter or margarine or the crisp cookies made with Crisco. If you want the best of both, make crisp cookies with butter frosting so you get the taste of butter.
Yes, you can get fancier with fondant or royal icing, but these are kids. The cookies are not going to be that pretty, anyway. You might as well have an icing that actually tastes good.
If you do decide to make your own, make the cookies ahead of time and stick them in the freezer baked and ready to go. If you try to do everything on the same day, you will be too tired to enjoy an evening out with your partner.
Make the frosting ahead of time too. Pick the food colorings you want and have it ready to go in pastry bags or plastic baggies with tiny holes cut in the corner. Trust me, you don’t want the kids’ help when it involves food coloring.
Cover your children in aprons or garbage bags with holes cut out for their arms and heads.
Then take a lot of pictures as they decorate! These are precious memories in the making.
2. Disney-fy Your Valentines’ Day Party
Of course, Disney has a recipe for Heart-Shaped Pizza with Mickey Mouse Pepperoni. And why not?
Have the kids help with the assembly part and make this festive meal while you watch your favorite Disney flic—or one that you think is particularly appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Lady and the Tramp? Tangled? Frozen 2? What is your go-to romance when it comes to Disney?
OR pick one that emphasizes love, friendship, and family—like Lilo and Stitch.
Play a Disney-centric game like charades based on Disney movies, name that Disney tune, or set up a Zoom meeting with family/friends and play Disney Scavenger Hunt! You can use this online resource or make your own list of items based on the age of the children playing.
Finally, an inexpensive gift to give your children that they’ll go crazy for are these Mickey Mouse ears at Presley Couture. They’ve got every style you can possibly imagine, with a nod to your child’s favorite characters.
We mean it. OODLES of ears that are well-made and exceptionally priced. If you end up going to the Magic Kingdom, you can take them with you and already be all Mickey-ed out before you get into the park.
3. Ding-Dong Without Ditching
Have the children make each other cards, leave them on the porch for their siblings, ring the bell, and run away. A time-honored tradition. Even you can participate with a cute card and stickers or candy for your kids.
Then, box up some of those cookie masterpieces you made and choose a deserving neighbor. In the end, giving makes the best memories.
No matter what you choose to do, you can start new Valentine’s Day traditions with your children to help them practice showing their love to others.