This February, give parents a night out that they’ll love by treating the kids to a special night in. As moms and dads clamor to secure a sitter for the evening, set yourself apart from the crowd by creating a special night of heart-shaped fun that kids will adore with some Valentine’s Day activities.

Set Up a Valentine’s Making Station

Valentine's craft suppliesRemember back in elementary school when the whole class would make paper bag mailboxes to collect cards from classmates? Remake that magic at home. Decorate mailboxes using paper lunch bags or paper plates. Then set out special pens, stickers, washi tape, and festively colored cardstock. For emerging readers, you may want to write out common phrases for them to copy. Then go to town creating cards for each other and stuffing those mailboxes full. This is great for a family with multiple kids or a sitter share.

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Make a Wall of Love

Heart-shaped paper cutouts on the wall with Valentine's messagesWant to go bolder with your declarations of love? Create a wall of love to display for the whole family. Cut out paper hearts and take turns writing (or drawing) what you love about each other. Tape the hearts on the wall (with paint-safe tape!) and spread the love. Leave some extra blank hearts behind for parents to add on.

Fall in Love with STEM

Explore science and math with a lovable twist. There are so many ways to engage kids of all ages, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Grab those little conversation heart candies that everyone loves to pass out (and no one loves to eat) and start experimenting! Predict what liquids will dissolve them faster. Build structures and towers with them or build a catapult to see how far they fly. With younger kiddos, sort them to make patterns and pictures. Know a kiddo who loves math? Learn about bar graphs and chart the colors or messages you find in a box.Candy hearts stacked in a tower
  • With just a few extra ingredients (and some items you probably already have on hand), you can make heart-shaped bath bombs. Kids will love the special bath and parents will love the subtle science lesson!
  • For younger kids, make homemade playdough or slime. Mix in pink or red dyes, add some glitter, or use heart-shaped cookie cutters for even more glitter slime

Cook Up Some Love

While Mom and Dad treat themselves to a special dinner, you can make dinner at home one that the kids will love. All you need is Pinterest and a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Here’s a few kid-friendly ideas:

Love Songs Playlist

Cap off the evening with a playlist of fun (kid-friendly) songs about love to dance off all that end-of-night energy before bedtime.

Remember to tailor potential Valentine’s Day activities to the ages and interests of the kids you’re caring for. Each of these ideas can be adjusted for children of different abilities. And as always, stay flexible. If the kids are loving one project and don’t want to move on, it’s ok to scrap other plans and keep the focus where it is. The best part of making Valentine’s Day special is the whole family will love it–establishing you as their go-to caregiver for future jobs!

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