The December holidays may be a distant memory, but cold and dreary weather persists. What better antidote to the winter blues than to spread a little love by treating your little one to a special Valentine’s Day? Here are a few simple ways to celebrate throughout the day.

The Most Important (Heart-shaped) Meal of the Day
Start Valentine’s Day off right with a breakfast your kids will “heart.” On the menu? Heart-shaped eggs and pancakes plus a pink smoothie. Just place a nonstick, heart-shaped pancake ring on a heated griddle or pan and pour the batter or crack the egg directly into it. For the smoothie, blend a cup of milk, a handful of frozen strawberries, and ice together to the desired consistently. This pink drink will taste like a milkshake for breakfast. What’s not to love?

An Easy, Colorful Valentine’s Craft
Even if you’re not a whiz with pinking shears and a glue gun, making colorful, heart-shaped crayons is an simple craft anyone can manage — your kids can even help. Bonus: It upcycles all those broken crayons you’ve accumulated. Just follow these three easy steps:
—Gather your broken crayons, remove any labels and place them into a heart-shaped silicone mold. Break them into small pieces if necessary. You can mix all colors together or keep similar colors together (like pinks and reds or yellows and greens).
—Bake for 15-20 minutes at 250 degrees or until the crayons are fully melted.
—Allow crayons to cool and harden completely before removing from the mold.

Once you pop them out, you can get started on this next classic Valentine’s Day activity.

Homemade Cards
No Valentine’s Day is complete without homemade cards. Now that your kids are armed with their colorful crayons, grab some construction paper and get to work. Cut shapes like hearts or flowers with safety scissors. Add embellishments. Make cards for each other (several, if you like) as well as for the special people in your child’s life: grandma, grandpa, parents, sitters, other family members, neighbors and friends.

A Place to Store Special Cards
Don’t put those decorating supplies away just yet. With all the cards you and your kids have made, you’ll need somewhere special to keep them. Wrap old shoeboxes with brown or white paper (like you would a gift) and cut an opening in the top of the box (a job for mom, dad or the sitter). Write your child’s name on the box — or help them write their own name. Then get to decorating with markers, glitter, paint, stickers, stamps — the sky’s the limit.

Baked with Love
By now, you and the kids have worked up an appetite, which means it’s the perfect time for a baking project. Children as young as two can get in on the fun measuring and combining ingredients. Use any classic sugar cookie cutout recipe (the one you used for Christmas will work just fine). Roll out the dough and cut shapes with Valentine’s Day-themed cookie cutters. Once baked and cooled, frost the cookies and decorate with pink, red and white sprinkles.

Spread Kindness and Joy
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spread love and kindness in your community. Once you’ve made your cards and baked your cookies, spend a few hours participating in a service project. Use this list of volunteer ideas to find an activity that is age-appropriate for your kids.

Low Key and Love-filled Dinner
Bring the whole family together for a special Valentine’s Day dinner — or let the sitter take the lead if mom and dad are headed out for their own Valentine’s date. Remember: Impressing kids doesn’t mean fancy food. Try easy, individual heart-shaped pizzas. Make or purchase your favorite dough, roll it out and use a large (approximately 5 or 6 inches) cookie cutter to shape your pizzas. Let the kids add sauce, cheese and toppings — don’t forget the veggies — then bake according to the pizza dough instructions. Finish off your meal with one of the cookies you made earlier in the day.

Goodnight Valentine’s Day
End your special day with a Valentine’s Day bedtime story and lots of cuddles. A few of our favorites: Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse, Fancy Nancy: Heart to Heart, Guess How Much I Love You, and Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool.

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