By Melissa Chapman
About the Writer:
Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban, concrete jungle of NYC – that’s two kids and her dog. Oh and she’s got a husband too.
Now that my kids are old enough to understand the meaning of this holiday (albeit more so contrived to boost the quarterly reports of card and flower companies, than a reminder to fete your love ones with kisses) Valentine’s Day has completely changed from an egocentric experience, to one where my sole focus has become a day my kids know I’m allowed unsolicited and *gasp* gratuitous public displays of affection with them as my targets.
In fact my six year old is still at that stage where his professions of love are aimed directly at me. I can’t imagine what this day will be like when my daughter is fretting over whether or not her boyfriend sent her a dozen roses and my son is nervously picking out a box of chocolates for the object of his affection.
Until that day arrives, I am more than happy to use this holiday (contrived by corporations or not) to remind my kids that expressing love for another human being, is one of the most powerful gifts they can bestow upon another. And in that vein this Valentine's Day my husband and I will be spending this holiday of love with two people we adore- our kids. So if you're looking for some find Parent/child Valentine's Day dates, feel free to borrow a few of mine!
1. Sit around the table and have each child write three things they love about everyone in the room. Then have everyone read their list out loud. This is a surefire way to kickstart your Valentine's Day family date.
2. Have a Fondue party! Fondue is a fun and easy activity ¬ just dip your favorite accompaniments and enjoy! Set up a cheese fondue station for the adults and let the kids use chocolate fondue. Emmi of Switzerland offers a product called Emmi Original Fondue has everything you need right in the box - simply heat in a fondue pot until the cheese begins to bubble. Serve with cubed bread, veggies, cooked meat, and even fruit. While Emmi Chocolate Fondue makes a sweet way to spend quality time together. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or fondue pot and dip into dessert. Arrange an array of fruit, cookies, cakes, marshmallows, or pretzels for the kids and let them get to dipping!
3. Get crafty! Try your hand at these Valentine's Day cards as a "stay" night (instead of 'date' night) activity. Kids will love them because they're creating meaningful cards for family and friends, and parents will love them because their kiddos are learning as they create these masterpieces. And for some original last minute valentines, you can download and print original illustrations like these quirky Victorian Zombie Valentines. Parents can print them out on colorful paper and they've got extra room to easily cut out, fold over, and personalize. For similar Valentine's Day cards search "digital download valentine" on Etsy.
4. Visit any indoor botanical garden. As a family, it's a wonderful annual tradition. Rather than spending lots of money on cut flowers that must be imported from afar (and grown with pesticides) families can head to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, or Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, or to Tower Hill Botanical in Mass, or to see the Glass Flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
5. Bake some Valentine's day cookies. Gail Dosik of One Tough Cookie encourages families to stay in and spend time together decorating cookies and offers these kid-friendly tips that will make Valentine's Day cookie decorating a piece of cake. Use squeeze bottles for icing; they're much easier to work with than pastry bags. They're available at cake decorating and craft stores everywhere, as well as online and they're easy to refill, too. Ms. Dosik also advises baking the cookies ahead of time so that they are cool and ready to be decorated and using lollipop sticks to make lollipop cookies. Kids and adults will go crazy for them.
So what are some ways you and your kids will spend valentine's day together?