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6 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your little ones

If you are the creative type and want to have some fun celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little ones, the possibilities are endless. And the good news: it doesn’t (all) have to involve chocolate, sugar, and sweets—though some is certainly fine! 

1.  Create a Valentine’s Day-themed sensory bin. This is where your local dollar store will see you through! Buy a large bin or tub and fill it up with all sorts of heart-themed items. You can include cotton balls, plastic hearts, and heart table throws (almost all these items can be found in the seasonal or party aisles). If you really want to personalize this, dye some pasta or rice red and pink and use these, too. Include some cups, tweezers, or measuring cups to encourage fine motor skills. Depending on how old your kids are, you can adjust this to their level and safety needs and be as creative as you want!

2. Make some heart lacing cards. Lacing is a great way to practice fine motor skills and concentration in toddlers and preschoolers. Cut hearts out of construction paper, laminate, and then use a hole puncher to punch holes along the perimeter of the heart. Include a shoelace or yarn (loose yarn ends can be taped with scotch tape—this makes it easier for small hands to fit the yarn through the holes), and let your kid lace away!

3. Bake, bake, bake! Every holiday is a great excuse for baking, and kids love the chance to really help out in the kitchen. Whether it’s using a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make delicious cookies or baking cupcakes with pink frosting, make whatever you like. Let your children help measure, scoop, pour, stir, and be in charge of decorating. Don’t focus so much on the end result as the process.

4. Help your kids make homemade Valentines. This can include setting out a little card crafting station (complete with cardboard box mailbox that you can easily decorate with wrapping paper) or putting together a few items in a tray (pasta, beads, yarn) to let them make their own Valentine’s Day necklaces. Family members will love the thought that went into these gifts.

5. Hide some hearts. The night before Valentine’s Day, cut out a bunch of construction paper hearts and hide them everywhere: all over your house, in their school lunch, in the car, etc. If your kids can read, you can write little messages telling them what you love about them. Kids love to hunt them down and especially getting a little surprise at school, too!

6. Ignore all of the above, and do what’s right for you. If these ideas leave you in a cold sweat of “when am I going to have time to do these?!” then feel free to skip them. By all means, a good old-fashioned store-bought card and a box of conversation hearts are just as awesome to kids. Holidays like Valentine’s Day should be fun and definitely not stressful!

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About Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, Bundoo OB/GYN

Dr. Jennifer Lincoln is a board-certified generalist obstetrician/gynecologist and attending physician in Portland, Oregon. She primarily works on labor and delivery has recently been certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

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