Here are seven super-simple ways to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with your kids, plus some other resources with great ideas for the holiday.
1. Be sure to emphasize the “saint” part of St. Valentine’s Day
Explain who the saint was, and what he did. St. Valentine was someone who risked his life (and was ultimately martyred) for the sake of marriage. (Those red hearts don’t just stand for love…they are also a symbol of martyrdom.) That’s amazing stuff! Get the full story at American Catholic’s The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day. You might also be interested in this more embellished version of the St. Valentine legend.
2. Write love letters to other members of your family
Set aside some time in the coming week for everyone (including moms and dads) to write love letters to other members of the family. These love letters can be simple, to or three line affairs, or more involved. You can provide stickers and craft materials for decorating them. The important thing is to help your kids practice saying “I love you”–and recognizing what they love about the people closest to them. Help them along by brainstorming with them some positive traits about other people in the family. Save the love letters to be exchanged on Valentine’s Day.
3. Decorate the house with quotes about love
Decorate the house with quotes about love from the Scriptures and from the saints, putting them on cut-out hearts or colored construction paper. Better yet, have your older kids and teens find quotes and make the decorations.
4. Make Valentine’s Day cards for the grocery store
Have your younger children make homemade Valentine’s Day cards, then bring them to the grocery store at a busy time of day and distribute them to other shoppers, especially “grandmas and grandpas.” It’s a super-easy way to spread love and smiles!
Make it a day for hugs! Encourage hugs all around by making up hug tickets (cut-out hearts work well). Pass them out at the beginning of the day, and let kids redeem them throughout the day (or week). Check out the Free Hugs Campaign for fun stuff about the power of a hug.
6. Tell the story of how you met
Over a meal, tell your kids the story of how you met your spouse. Or, if you’re not married, tell a funny or interesting love story from your own life. Bonus: If you considered another vocation, such as the religious life, tell about that, too.
7. Start the day with an Act of Love
The Act of Love is a traditional prayer that goes like this:
O Lord God, I love you above all things
and I love my neighbor for your sake
because you are the highest, infinite and perfect good,
worthy of all my love.
In this love I intend to live and die.
If this feels too formal, make your own Act of Love . . . you can even post it on your refrigerator for the week. Either way, it’s a reminder that all love has its origins and destiny in God.
Heartprints for Your Family is a cool activity idea for younger children over at Heidi Indahl’s Work and Play, Day by Day blog.