Let's see: last year for Valentine's Day my husband and I took a long weekend away that started with a romantic dinner and later included champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries in a room overlooking the ocean.
I kid, I kid.
My husband and I haven't had a date night in ages, let alone doing anything just as a couple for Valentine's Day. I see most of you parents nodding your head because you totally get it. Once you have kids, most holidays (like Valentine's Day) become a family function. It's just the way it is. And, to be honest, Valentine's Day can still be a lot of fun with these family-friendly activities!
Check it out:
Cooking is a great way to open lines of communication and reconnect as a family. Turn off the TV, turn on some tunes and bake away. One of our favorites resources is Covered in Chocolate by Lizzie Lou. This is a fun children's cookbook that focuses all on chocolate and includes recipes like Myrtle Turtle Cupcakes, Colossal Cake Cookies, Chocoalamondo Shake and so much more! (Perfect for this holiday, right?)
The author "Lizzie Lou" is an elementary education teacher who also studied chocolate making in Switzerland. (So you know it's good, right?) She's gone to great lengths to include fun illustrations as well as educational tips and talking points -- all fantastic for a fun family night!
2. Have a game night.
Turn off the technology and get back in touch with each other during a Valentine game night. (We're board game people in our family, so we use any gathering as an excuse to get the games out!)
A couple of our newer favorites include Tenzi and Bounce-Off. Tenzi is a fast-paced dice game where all players roll at the same time. The first person to get 10 of the same number wins. It's a friendly, competitive, squealing time every time we play.
Bounce-Off is a kind of like tic-tac-toe with ping pong balls. You draw a card and your team tries to get the shape on the card (by bouncing the balls onto the board) before the other team.
What we love about both of these games is that they are appropriate for all age ranges. So, even the younger, non-readers (who often get left out of games) can still play!
3. Have a V-Day movie marathon.
Want a quieter Valentine's Day? Settle down for a low-key night of family movie fun. If you're like us, busy schedules rarely allow time for family movie night. So, use Valentine's Day as a time to enjoy some movies -- you can't go wrong with the old-school Princess Bride or Lady and the Tramp movies. Be sure to pop up some popcorn or make a special snack. We love these Valentine"s Day Marshmallow Brownies (chocolate and gooey goodness!).
4. Get outside.
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all about indoor activities. Get the family out for a nature hike at a local park or, if it's snowy, make it a family sledding day. You'll get some exercise and then have an excuse to make some mugs of homemade hot chocolate like this Spicy Dark Hot Chocolate to get everyone warmed up. (And, then, you can end the evening with the game or movie night!)
5. Deliver Valentines to a nursing home or shelter.
Do you have some crafters in your family? Get out the craft paper, some markers, stickers and whatever else your crafty heart fancies and get busy on making some unique Valentine cards. Then gather them all up and take them to a shelter or a nursing home and hand them out to the residents! (Pair them with some treats from #1 and you'll really make everyone's day!)
6. Go on a family Valentine date!
Valentine's Day dates don't have to be just about romance. Use it as a time for the entire family to get dressed up and then pick a fun restaurant that's different from your normal eats. Try a new neighborhood place or do something special like a fondue restaurant where you can end the meal with a melted pot of chocolate for dipping strawberries and cake!
How does your family spend Valentine's Day?
A version of this post originally appeared on PrimeParentsClub.com where Jacqueline is a writer and editor.