The origins of Valentine’s Day may be steeped in mystery, but by now, it has become one of the most commercial days of the year. In fact, after Christmas, there are more cards for Valentine’s Day than for any other. Like it or not, it’s unavoidable, and sooner or later your kids are going to wonder what it’s all about!
So what do you say to them? After all, depending on your point of view, it’s generally seen as a celebration of romance, commercialism, a day both celebrated and dreaded by teens and adults alike. Where do kids fit in to Valentine’s day?
Let’s look at it another way, and say that it’s a celebration of love. For kids, love is an innocent thing. They love their family, their friends, maybe even their teacher. So let’s use that as a starting point, and what symbolises love better than a heart. For kids, a heart is a perfect icon, especially as it’s so easy to draw. Now that we have a starting point, let’s involve them in their own special Valentine’s Day!
With a few heart-shaped cookie cutters, baking can be a great activity to do with your kids. The trick is to keep it as simple and foolproof as possible. Here is a nice quick cookie recipe that works great, even if you’re not too comfortable with cooking!
- Preheat the oven to 170°C / 338°F.
- In a mixing bowl, add ¾ cup / 150g / 6oz self-raising flour, ¼ cup / 50g / 2oz caster sugar and ¾ cup / 150g / 6oz of butter.
- Optionally, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Now get the kids’ aprons on and let them mix it all together with their hands. Explain to them that they should rub the butter between their fingers with the dry ingredients, to try and make ‘breadcrumbs’.
- Depending on how much mess your kids make, the mixture may be too dry or too moist. Just balance it out with more butter or flour to compensate.
- Squeeze all of it together in a big ball, and it should stay in one piece.
- Use a rolling pin to flatten it to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
- Let your kids use the cookie cutters to make lots of heart shapes and carefully place each onto a lightly greased baking tray. Leave lots of room between each heart because they’ll grow!
- If you want, you can let them press little candies into each heart. Alternatively, you can add some red or white frosting and sprinkles after they’ve cooked.
- Now pop them in the oven for around 20 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack for cooling.
I tried this with my kids last weekend, and even with my questionable baking skills, we got through it intact. Actually, these cookies were delicious! In all, we spent an enjoyable 45 minutes making them, and it was a great way of spending time with my kids.If you really don’t think you can handle baking, there are other ways of using your heart shaped cookie cutters. Simply make some toast, let the kids cut it into heart shapes and spread some strawberry jam or jelly on top. A perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast treat that the kids will love to help with!
Arts & Crafts
After seeing love hearts in every shop they visit, it’s easy to convince your children to make some themselves. Just get some colored paper, fold it in half, then cut out half a heart shape. Unfold it and you’ll have a perfectly symmetrical heart! Make sure that any scissors you use is appropriate for your child’s age, and then let them at it. Suggest alternative ideas, like cutting out lots of smaller hearts from a single sheet.
Once they’ve tired of cutting, use their hearts in a variety of creative ways. If you’ve used lots of different colors, even simply putting them all on the wall can look great. Try sticking photos of each child on their own heart, or getting them to writing their name. You can also buy blank greeting cards, so if you stick a heart on the front, it becomes a cute little homemade Valentine’s card.
What should they write on the inside? Use your imagination, and keep it personal. Perhaps ask them who they are sending it to, then get them to write (or dictate to you, if they can’t write yet) all the things they love about that person. It can be very moving to receive something like that!
And don’t overlook the leftovers! If you cut a heart out of a piece of paper, you may be tempted to keep the heart, and throw the rest away. However, try and think of other uses for it, like a photo frame!
There are lots of ways to get your kids involved in Valentine’s Day, limited only by your imagination. It’s also a great opportunity to do activities and spend some quality time with your kids. If you’re a bit jaded by any of the commercialism surrounding February 14th, get your kids involved, and you’ll start to see it in a whole new light!
Mick McMullin is the author of the website [http://www.toddletees.com] which he set up to discuss and review all sorts of kiddie-related stuff, as well as general parenting articles.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com