10 Ways to Celebrate Valentines Day with Kids
Before you have children, Valentine’s Day is usually all about romance with your significant other. Once babies come into the picture, though, things tend to change. You might not be able to celebrate with an evening out on the town but you can celebrate with your children and let them enjoy lots of fun ways to make Valentine’s Day special for the whole family.
1) Decorate Your House
You decorate your home for Halloween and Christmas, why not Valentine’s Day? Head to your local 100 yen shop for some inexpensive decorations like balloons and streamers, and then let your kids hang them up. You can decorate with items like flowers, ribbons, and tablecloths too.
It’s also fun to make your own decorations. Use pink, red, and white construction paper to make paper chains (like the red and green ones that are so popular at Christmas), and then hang them from the ceiling. Or let your children create some heart-themed artwork and hang it on your walls.
2) Play Games
Many games that are childhood favorites can be modified to include a Valentine’s Day theme. For example, it’s easy to find free printable templates for games like Valentine’s Bingo or Tic-Tac-Toe. Make the games even more fun by using those cute little candy hearts in place of chips.
It can also be fun to create your own Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt by writing clues on paper hearts that lead to a special gift or treat.
3) Head to the Kitchen
Valentine’s Day makes a great excuse to indulge in some delicious treats, and cooking and baking provide all kinds of valuable lessons in many aspects of math and reading. Even little children can pour and dump, and older kids can learn to read recipes and measure ingredients. Make some heart-shaped sugar cookies and decorate them with pink frosting and sprinkles. If you prefer chocolate, try making chocolate-covered strawberries or easy homemade truffles.
4) Host a Party
Once you’ve got the house decorated, the games planned, and the treats prepared, why not host a Valentine’s Day party? Invite a few friends or just the stuffed animals. Plan to play some games and then serve treats with heart-themed plates, cups, and napkins. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to make heart-shaped tea sandwiches, and don’t forget to mix up a sparkling pink punch
5) Start a Tradition
Family traditions provide children with a sense of security and belonging, and are fun and rewarding for the entire family. A tradition can be as simple as having breakfast together and serving heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine’s Day morning, or setting aside a special time during the day each year to share the things you love about each other.
6) Tell Your Children You Love
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? But sometimes it’s easy to assume that our children know that we love them and forget to say the actual words. Even if you tell them every day, tell them again. They’re three simple words, but children can never hear them enough. And cards and hearts and candy aside, isn’t love what Valentine’s Day is really all about?
7) Have a Photo Shoot
This is something the whole family can participate in because after all Valentines Day is all about “love”. Have the girls in your family wear something pink, decide on a special pose or memorable backdrop, maybe a bunch of flowers or a bed of chocolates, let your Valentines Day imagination run wild with creativity.
8) Snuggle in For a Family Movie Night
Disney movies are a great source for finding child appropriate movies that have “love” as their theme. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp are just three that come to mind but really the list is almost endless if we use the theme of “love”.
9) Do Good
Make a surprise gift and deliver it to a friend or neighbor who you know will be by themselves this Valentines. This could be a widow/widower or maybe just someone who’s loved one will not be with them on the 14th. The recipient will appreciate this gesture but more importantly this act will display wonderful lessons to your children about love and caring for others that they might not necessarily have thought of.
10) Make Your Child a Secret Helper
Children love secrets and having them help you choose/prepare or even just place a special gift for you under their Mommy or Daddy’s pillow will create excitement and life long memories of love that their parents share with each other.
Valentine’s Day has become an international phenomenon these days. Japan jumped on the bandwagon in earnest all the way back in the 1950s. As with many imported traditions, Japan decided to keep the basic concept of giving candy while cutting out anything meaningful about this traditionally romantic holiday. Here are a few ways Valentine’s Day got “Lost in Translation” after appearing in Japan.
In this case, the concept of Valentine’s Day being a day for both genders to gift loved ones literally got lost in translation.
In the 1950s, a chocolate company executive in Japan, accidentally translated an English line inappropriately, resulting in many of the Japanese population believing Valentine’s Day was a day for women to gift the men in their lives with chocolates.
In keeping with the Japanese custom of “giri” (obligation), which permeates all aspects of Japanese life, women are expected to give small gifts of candy to male co-workers and other men they deal with on a regular basis.
The term for this chocolate giving is called “giri-choco,” but there is another type called “cho-giri-choco,” or literally, “ultra-obligatory chocolate.” This is the type of chocolate women must give to the men in their lives that they don’t particularly like or care about, opening up all kinds of passive-aggressive chocolate-giving opportunities.
3) No one knows who St. Valentine is
Most Westerners who give chocolates on Valentine’s Day have at least a vague knowledge of the day being inspired by the martyred St. Valentine and his final gesture of love to his significant other. There were in fact up to three martyred St. Valentines that we know about; apparently collecting the heads of people named Valentine was a popular kingly pastime back in the day.
In Japan, the holiday is quite literally a corporate holiday, entirely manufactured by chocolate companies. There are no dinner dates, flowers or other romantic gestures required (although this is slowly changing with younger couples). It’s just the chocolates, and giving them is a gesture that says something along the lines of, “I feel something other than complete indifference towards you.”
4) They invented a related, entirely new holiday
White Day takes place on March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, and is the day men are supposed to return the Valentine’s Day favor with a gift of sweets exceeding two or three times the cost of the sweets they received from women a month prior.
January 26th, 2015
With a little under 3 weeks until Valentines Day (February 14th ) we thought we would take a look at some Valentines Day ideas along with interesting Valentines Day Japan facts over the next 3 Mondays for that special someone in your life.
This week we are going to look at 10 ideas that wont cost an arm and a leg but are sure to warm your Valentines’ Heart.
1) Write a letter to your Valentine: In this age of instant communications there is something very old fashioned and meaningful about putting pen to paper and expressing ones thoughts. Maybe a letter telling your Valentine what it is that still keeps you madly in love with them will re kindle that flame? Spend some time on composing your letter because chances are your Valentine will keep this forever.
2) Get a babysitter for the kids: If you can find someone to take care of the kids for the evening then pretty much anything you decide to do will be memorable
3) Stay up late: If for some reason you cannot get a sitter, put the kids in bed a little early and stay up late. Spend time together doing something special like watching a DVD or enjoying some romantic music over a delicious glass of wine.
4) Make something: It’s true, gifts from the heart mean more. Why not make your Valentine something sumptuous – Chocolate Covered Strawberries, or something romantic that the both of you can enjoy.
5) Bubble Bath: Why not jump in the bath, add some bubbles, light some candles maybe even drink a glass of bubbly. (Just remember to remove the kids bath toys first)
6) Give your Valentine a massage: Who doesn’t love a massage with all the oils? It’s a great way to spoil one another, and connect on a level that you’re probably not able to often.
7) Watch the Sunset: Tokyo has an abundance of great locations to watch the sunset, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree are just two that come to mind. This is also a great way to begin your Valentines Day Evening
8) Take a trip down memory lane: Look at old pictures and videos or do something the two of you used to do together before the kids came along
9) Take a picture: Yep, as simple as that. Not just any picture though, take a picture of the two of you and display it proudly somewhere in the house. Not only will this show your Valentine how much you care but it will also send a very positive and loving message to your children
10) Scavenger hunt: Send you Valentine on a fun scavenger hunt around the house posting messages and clues that eventually lead to a final destination and gift. We will leave that up to your imagination.