In light of the current economic crisis, and my recent desire to simplify my life as much as possible, I was inspired to create a blog post for families out there looking to make Valentine's Day a little more meaningful this year...and for little to no money. I decided that this year I want a Valentine's Day filled with love...real love that doesn't need all of the commercial "fluff" to be experienced. Thus began my search for some great, low-cost (or NO cost) Valentine's Day ideas that were still fun and festive. Lucky me, there were lots of ideas to choose from! I would like to share a few, okay several, of them with you so that you have some great activities to choose from as well. I hope you find something you can use!
One great website I stumbled upon was Family Fun. They currently have a whole section of their website devoted to Valentine's Day with tons and tons of ideas that you can look through. And the best part of all is that I found most all of them to be pretty budget and family friendly (hence the name I guess). They have everything covered from recipes to printables to games. There is something for everyone! I especially loved the Crayon Hearts idea as a fun valentine that can be reused and isn't junk food. I actually purchased crayon hearts for my daughter's daycare group before I found this and thought about how easy they might be to make. I might go ahead and make some with her just for fun! And don't stop at just hearts; you could also do x's and o's, cupids, etc. Whatever you can find a mold for! This is a great, easy idea for any holiday really, just change up the colors and mold. For all of you moms out there who want something edible but are tired of junk food, I thought the Healthy Hearts were a great idea. The only supplies you need are watermelon slices, orange slices, and bamboo skewers. Makes a cute, festive, healthy, edible treat! These were just two of my favorite ideas, but there are literally hundreds of others you can check out. They even have how-to videos for some of their Valentine's Day crafts and recipes. It's definitely worth your time to look through their website!
Some more great ideas I've acquired from friends, other websites, etc. are as follows:
- Sounds obvious, but I'll say it anyway. Instead of store bought valentines, make your own! All you need is some construction paper, markers/crayons, glue, accessories (googly eyes, sequins, glitter, stickers...), and some imagination. A super cute idea (from the Family Fun website...lol) is to take a clothespin and glue two paper hearts side by side on it to make "wings". Then add pipe cleaners for antennae and write your message on the wings.
- Put a different spin on the Christmas Advent calendar and make a countdown calendar for Valentine's Day. Choose a simple, special activity to do with your loved ones on each day of the countdown. If your child(ren) is old enough have him/her help decide which activities to do. They don't have to be elaborate, just something you do together (i.e. moms and daughters might want to paint each other's fingernails one day).
- On Valentine's Day morning, have a special breakfast together with special Valentine's Day food. You can easily "Valentine-ize" any foods by using a heart cookie cutter and/or red food coloring. Pancakes and toast are super easy to cut out. For snacks later in the day, you can make heart sandwiches or rice krispie treats. Also, pretty much anything red or pink looks festive...how about a Valentine Smoothie from strawberries and raspberries?
- Create a Valentine's Day treasure hunt that leads to a small gift or a fun activity. Place the clues on paper hearts. If you're really creative, handy with a GPS, and it's going to be nice outside, create your own Geocache that leads your family to a favorite place in town (i.e. a restaurant or park).
- Have all family members write "love letters" to each other and deliver them on Valentine's Day morning. Create and decorate bags or mailboxes for each family member in which to collect their "deliveries".
I hope you've found an idea or two that you can use and I'd love for you to comment with your own! It doesn't have to take a lot of money to create a memorable Valentine's Day filled with love. But, whatever you decide to do this Valentine's Day, be sure to include the best gift of all...your time. :)