Valentine’s Day—the fun, quirky holiday that often brings out the best in our relationships. Even if it can cause a flurry for the spouse searching for last minute flowers or the parent who forgot about the class card exchange, it also reminds us to celebrate love.
As a parent, caregiver or someone who works with kids, holidays, and even everyday activities, can take on many different meanings. So, whether you’re a regular Cupid or think that Valentine’s day is a bit of a mid-winter hassle, it’s a great opportunity to make memories and start unforgettable traditions.
When you look at Valentine’s Day through the eyes of a child, it’s easier to see how the day can be about fun. And with some pre-organized family activities, you can find authentic ways to connect, build strong relationships, and cope with any current stressors.
Family Valentine’s Projects
Making the day special can be as simple as writing little Valentine notes to your kids, hanging up heart-shaped decorations, or enjoying candy hearts and chocolate. When kids are school-aged, they might have some type of celebration at school where it quickly becomes a funny topic for kids to talk about, even if they don’t understand romantic love yet. It’s a great opportunity to teach them the beauty and importance of celebrating all types of love—romantic, familial, friendship or other special relationships.
Planning a fun family activity is a great way to make the holiday feel special and it gives you time to bond through a new family tradition. Activities can also be very therapeutic and stress relieving, especially for kids who could use an excuse to take a break from homework or other stressors.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, consider doing activities like baking, painting or crafting as a family. You could bake cupcakes or a cake with red and pink sprinkles, heart-shaped cookies, or something simple like chocolate-dipped strawberries. Depending on how old your kids are, they can help you in the baking process or you can let them decorate the treats.
Another classic Valentine’s activity is to help your child make valentines to exchange with classmates, siblings or friends. This offers a great opportunity to encourage kids to say nice things about others and teaches them that expressing feelings is a good thing.
Beyond baking or making valentines, there are all sorts of fun arts and crafts to choose from. Some simple options include:
- Painting, glitter gluing or drawing on heart-shaped ornaments to hang up
- Making a chain of paper hearts, a wreath of hearts or a banner to hang up
- Making necklaces or bracelets with heart-shaped beads
- Playing simple heart-themed games
A quick Google or Pinterest search will give you plenty of ideas for activities for kids of any age. Also, you don’t have to go overboard with preparation. There are many simple activities you can do that still make the day a little bit more special than the rest.
Valentine’s Day 2021: Tie-Dye Is Back
If you haven’t heard, tie-dye is making a comeback! If you’re looking for a craft that will be popular with your kids this year, tie-dyeing either paper valentines or t-shirts (with a heart-shaped design, of course!) is fun for all ages.
Paper valentines allow your kids to give cool, unique valentines to their friends. And if you tie-dye a t-shirt, hat or other clothing, you and your kids will come out of the day with a new item to wear and always remind you of the time you spent together.
Tie-dyeing paper valentines is a little simpler than tie-dyeing clothes, only requiring some Sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol with a few other optional supplies. Check out this link, outlining the materials and steps to make tie-dyed valentines.
Making tie-dyed shirts — or sheets or shoes — isn’t too difficult, though it does require a fabric tie-dye kit, fabric markers, and any materials you need to cover the table or workspace to keep it clean. This link provides a tutorial on how to tie-dye a t-shirt with a heart on it, perfect for a Valentine’s Day craft.
Crafting for Fun, but Also Healing
At KVC Hospitals, we offer many therapeutic treatments in many different forms so that we can find the approach that works best for each individual child. Our therapists help children open up about life experiences and talk about their feelings using a range of expressive therapies, such as dance, music, recreation, gardening and art therapy. Often used in conjunction with other services, art therapy offers kids a creative way to communicate their emotions, release stress and tension, and share about experiences that have impacted them. For kids going through treatment or working through trauma, we have had success with using art therapy in their course of treatment.
“We had a young female client who resided with us for 7 months to receive intensive clinical services and long-term treatment. This client was struggling with aggressive behaviors, suicidal ideation and self-harm. When she came to KVC, she was pretty restrictive when sharing about her past traumas and would deflect and shut down. Her KVC therapist began to incorporate art into her therapy experience because the client had mentioned that she found art to be helpful in coping.
Through art, this client began to really open up about the abuse and neglect she experienced before she was put into foster care. By incorporating art and KVC being fully committed to her success, she was able to learn to advocate for herself. She was able to communicate valid reasons as to why she would not feel safe moving back in with her biological mother, and she expressed her fears and triggers in a clear way. She was able to go weeks with no suicidal ideation, self-harm or aggression. She was able to express her thoughts and feelings in a way that showed her treatment team she was able to regulate her emotions and behaviors and had increased self-advocacy skills.”
Art therapy was a key component to helping this client achieve her treatment goals and improve her mental health. It’s so important to find the coping skills and therapeutic approach that work best with each individual child as they’re all unique in their life experiences, interests and needs.
Watch this video from Ms. Holly, Art Therapist at KVC Hospitals, to learn more about the benefits of art therapy and how to do an easy watercolor activity at home with your family.
A Chance to Connect and Heal
At KVC Hospitals, we emphasize that there are so many ways to help your children thrive. Because we know that creative expression is helpful for kids who struggle to open up and talk about feelings, we encourage families to take advantage of opportunities to get creative together. So, while crafting on Valentine’s Day might not seem like a significant way to help your child’s mental health or build a relationship with them, it actually is a really simple way to achieve both of those things.
However you choose to make Valentine’s Day special, it’s important to remember that any activity or craft you might choose to do with your kids is not about the holiday and about spending quality time and offering your kids a chance to create something with you.
Stories With Impact
Read more inspiring stories like this in KVC’s print magazine, Thriving, available online! This special anniversary issue commemorates KVC’s 50 years of heart-centered service to children and families. It includes emotional and impactful stories from the generations of people KVC has served, employed, and inspired over the past 50 years.
About KVC Hospitals
KVC Hospitals provides compassionate and innovative treatment for children struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, the impacts of trauma, and other behavioral or mental health needs. Our children’s hospitals and residential treatment centers accept new clients 24/7 and are always available to answer any questions you have. Call us at 913-890-7468 or click here to find a location near you.