20 Valentine's Day Traditions to Start With the Kids

Stacy Lenz | Feb 1, 2019 Big Kid
20 Valentine's Day Traditions to Start With the Kids


Valentine’s Day is filled with great traditions: picking through a box of chocolates, honoring Forrest Gump by guessing which tiny brown rectangle is hiding caramel and not the dreaded coconut, rooting through conversation hearts trying to remember which colors don’t taste like chalk, and, of course, justifying eating baked goods literally all day because they are heart-shaped and it’s a holiday. Did we say traditions? Sorry, we may have just meant sugar, delicious, delicious sugar, but traditions aren’t a bad idea either. 

Starting annual Valentine traditions that won’t require an emergency trip to the dentist or incite the kiddos to bounce off the walls in a sugar-induced frenzy is a lovely way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Even if we spent our youth rolling our eyes at all the heart-shaped doilies reminding everyone we were too cool to celebrate Valentine's because "it’s a holiday manufactured by a greeting card company," it’s hard not to swoon over a fun, new family tradition that makes the whole family giggle. (Please note: angsty teens and tweens alike may try that corporate holiday nonsense, give them the previously mentioned heart-shaped baked goods until their mouths are too full to complain.)

Valentine's traditions that everyone will love don’t need to revolve around sugary treats, despite what we said earlier. There are many fun family traditions to start this year that will have the kiddos reminiscing about as treasured childhood memories when they are grown with their own children one day, wowed by how their parents were able to do it all, conveniently forgetting all the frazzled and yell-y parts. 

Valentine's Day traditions don't need to be super labor-intensive, either. It doesn’t have to be a complicated three-hour scavenger hunt complete with a 3D papier mache Cupid, but it also could be for all those intrepid crafters out there. Starting a Valentine's Day tradition can be as simple as watching A Charlie Brown Valentine every year while eating heart-shaped pretzels and voila one of the littles favorite childhood memories has just been born. (Don’t worry, we meant the type of heart-shaped pretzels from the store, no one is advocating baking pretzels from scratch, no offense to those the 3D papier mache Cupid over achiever-type people). These Valentine's Day traditions run the gamut from sharing storybooks to festive jammies, so every family can find a new Valentine's tradition they love as much as they love each other. Awwwwww.

  • Countdown to V-Day


    Have a heart attack! In the days leading up to Valentine's Day, leave a love note on your kids' bedroom doors every day. By the 14th, they'll have a door full of reasons why they are loved.

  • Valentine's Breakfast


    Start Valentine's Day off with a breakfast to look forward to year after year! If heart-shaped pancakes feel like too much effort, and the idea of dyeing any food pink sounds unpleasant (as it should), we have the perfect solution: these heart-eyes emoji pancakes. Two heart sprinkles and a dab of icing for a mouth transform any regular pancake, even the microwavable ones, into a Valentine's treat.

  • DIY Decor


    This may be a no-brainer, but annual decorating for Valentine's is a great family tradition. Every year the fam can make a new craft items to add to the festive arsenal of decorations. Some great crafts that serve as decorations include banners and heart-shaped fans.

  • Valentine Tree


    Don't let Christmas have all the fun -- have a Valentine's tree! Perfect for people who drag their feet about taking down their tree, simply once the Christmas decorations come down, replace them with paper valentines and hearts of all sizes. Another idea is to get a small pink or other brightly colored tabletop tree just for this special occasion. 

  • DIY Valentine Treat Bags


    Make Valentine treat bags with painted hearts to use year after year and fill up with goodies. They can also be used for class Valentine's parties. Additionally, some people even hang these goody bags on their Valentine's trees.

  • Gummy Tic Tac Toe


    A special game for a special time of year! Tic tac toe can be played any time of year, but gummy Xs and Os are only available around Valentine's Day, making this version of the game a seasonal treat. The Valentine's rules are winner gets to eat the game pieces.

  • Themed Lunch


    We aspire to be the type of parent who packs adorable bento box lunches year-round, but reality gets in the way. Making a special Valentine's bento box lunch is a great way to get in on the cuteness without committing to waking up extra early all school year. Small touches, like sandwiches cut into hearts using a cookie cutter, and some pink and red sprinkles added to yogurt make this Valentine's lunch special.

  • Heart-Shaped Pizzas


    Celebrate Valentine's Day with the one you love -- pizza. Heart-shaped pizzas are easy to make, especially if using pre-made pizza crusts which can be cut into the heart shape. Also, on Valentine's Day, many pizza places get into the spirit offering heart-shaped pies, which is also an option!

  • Valentine Pajamas


    Valentine's pajamas are another way to feel festive. Whether the whole family matches or just the littlest members, it's a great way to get into the spirit. This idea can also extend to Valentine-inspired matching shirts or outfits to wear on the day itself.

  • Family Mailboxes


    Everyone has heard of making mailboxes for school classrooms, but the idea can extend to the home. Whether made from the finest of shoe boxes and construction paper or purchased and personalized, they are adorable Valentine's decor. They also present the wonderful chance to leave love notes for the whole family!

  • Valentine's Calendar 


    Make a Valentine's treat calendar! This calendar has 14 doors, each hiding a treat to open in the lead-up to V-Day, but some Valentine's "Advent" calendars simply have a paper valentine each day. To make this specific calendar, follow the instructions from Pazzles Craft Room.

  • Heart-Shaped Hair


    Get festive from head to toe starting with a special Valentine's hairdo. There's numerous hairstyles and braids that form a heart shape and will impress everyone at the bus stop. For the less coordinated among us, a red scrunchie will also do.

  • Photo Shoot


    A Valentine's photo shoot is a cute way to commemorate Valentine's each year. Decked out in their finest festive apparel, it's another opportunity for formal pictures of the kids. Printing and framing these images also doubles as future Valentine's decor.

  • What I Love About You Books


    A "what I love about you" book is basically a love scrapbook. Every year, the family can write down what they love most about their loved ones. As the tradition goes on, the fam can reminisce about their past writings, reminding their surly tween how much he used to love cuddles.

  • Great Valentine Bakeoff


    Of course one of our traditions would involve sugar! Baking Valentine's cookies or other treats is a classic way to bond with your brood. If you want to make it extra special, you can host a decorating contest a la Nailed it.

  • Scavenger Hunt


    A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to make memories your kids will cherish forever! Leave several clues throughout the house on heart-shaped paper with a surprise at the end of the hunt. We hope our kids won't be mad that the grand prize of our scavenger hunt is a hug.

  • DIY Valentines


    Sitting down as a family and making valentines is another way to bond. Separate from the pressure of cranking them out for the classroom party, this can actually be fun. Heck, since it is a special occasion, bring out the glitter!

  • Valentine Book


    Give the gift of a book every Valentine's Day! As much as we love Valentine's candies, books last much longer. Reading the newly gifted book as a family is another wonderful tradition to start, too.

  • Let Your Love Grow


    With spring just around the corner (hopefully), Valentine's is the perfect time to start planting. Picking out seeds and planting them in a possibly heart-shaped pot, is a fun family activity that will continue as you water and watch the plant begin to sprout. As the years of the tradition go on, quite the happy indoor garden will grow!

  • Red Dinner


    This is nothing like the Red Wedding, don't worry. For a Valentine's dinner treat, serve only pink and red foods. The menu doesn't only have to only include pasta sauce to raspberries, don't feel limited, there's always food dye. (But remember not to panic when your kid poops a scary color, it's the food dye!)

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