Valentine’s Day isn’t just about eating chocolate candy and red hots (although that may be what your child thinks).  It’s a great day to show your child what it means to show love to others.  Toddlers probably won’t get much out of a heart to heart talk about the virtues of love, but they will learn from these simple and fun activities that work for kids of all ages:

Spin the bottle, family style.  Sit in a circle with your family and put a bottle in the middle of the circle (a baby’s bottle may be appropriate in some families!).  When the bottle stops, say something you love about the person it’s pointing to.

Make heart magnets.  Buy flat magnet paper at the craft store.  Cut out the faces of your family and even friends from photographs.  Glue them on the magnet paper in a collage and then cut out heart shapes.  Stick them on the refrigerator as a reminder of all the people who love your child or give them away as gifts.

Create a love book.  Instead of making magnets, take the pictures of your friends and family and paste them into a little book.  Write down names under the pictures.  Your child can read and re-read this love book filled with all the people who care for him or her.

Make homemade Valentine cards for friends.  Help your child (if necessary) make big hearts out of construction paper.  Then let them look through magazines or ads for favorite toys like cars or dolls.  Paste those pictures on the hearts to make the heart card more interesting for kids to look at.

Have a kiss jar.  On Valentine’s Day, tell your child to give away kisses on the cheek to family members.  Every kiss earns a ticket.  At the end of the day, let your child exchange the tickets for a prize.

Cut a sandwich in the shape of a heart.  Either eat your special heart shaped sandwich at lunch together or pack the special sandwich in your child’s lunch along with a note of five things you love about your child.  If you’re having lunch together, tell them in person.

Shower love on your child this Valentine’s Day.  After all, values are more caught than taught!

Arlene Pellicane

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