Holidays are a great time to make memories with your toddler.  Here are ten easy, cheap ways for moms to make a big impression on this Valentine’s Day:

Fill their shoes with a sweet treat.  When it’s time to put their shoes on, they will be thrilled to find a little Hershey’s chocolate kiss with an “I love you from head to toe” note or a small toy like a Hot Wheels car.

Decorate your toddler’s room with hearts.  While your child is sleeping, go in his or her room and decorate the walls with construction paper hearts.  When he or she wakes up, there will be a room full of love waiting.

Make a Valentine collage.  Cut out different shaped hearts on different colors of construction paper.  Glue on a piece of cardstock and you have a collage to decorate your kid’s room or a card for grandma and grandpa.

Bake heart shaped cookies.  While you’re measuring and mixing, tell your toddler the things you love and appreciate about him or her.  Be specific and shower your child with encouragement.  “I love how you are such a good builder.  You’re great at making creative things with blocks” or “I appreciate how you give mommy hugs every day.”

Make a book of things your toddler loves.  Have your toddler look through magazines and cut out the things he or she likes (cars, animals, favorite foods, etc).  Glue these into a “Things I Love” book.  Your toddler will delight in sharing his or her favorite things with friends and family.

Enjoy a Valentine’s dinner of red foods.  Serve pasta in red sauce or pizza for dinner.  Drink cranberry juice and have strawberries and red jello for dessert.

Create a love treasure hunt throughout the house with a prize at the end.  Use simple rhymes like “Rose are red, violets are blue, go into the kitchen, where there’s something for you.”

Make shapes out of candy hearts.  Don’t want your toddler to eat all those tiny sugary candy hearts?  Glue them on pieces of paper to form hearts, circles, squares, whatever shape you want.

Give your toddler a coupon book.  Include coupons like, “Watch your favorite video,” “Have a friend over for a popcorn party,” “Go out for ice cream,” or “Trip to the zoo.”

Make a trail of hearts to a treat.  Put hearts on the floor leading from their bedroom to a surprise like a small toy or a Rice Krispy treat.

You’ll have as much fun as your toddler when you take time to make Valentine’s Day something special!

And you’ll notice that many of these ideas will work for older kids too.  I know my 1st and 3rd graders love a scavenger hunt!

Arlene Pellicane

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