15 Valentine’s Day Activities for the Whole Family


I can’t remember what I did last Valentine’s Day. I think we must have done something (maybe) but it certainly wasn’t memorable enough to stick with me. I have mixed feelings on this holiday and tend to waffle each year on what to do. It can feel a little commercial and contrived, but I’m also a sucker for tradition and making ordinary days memorable.

This year, I’ve been kind of hankering to do something new, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money or plan a lot in advance. I don’t have any desire to compete with crowds for an overpriced dinner, and I want something that includes my kids. I started asking around – what do people do each year that doesn’t necessarily involve flowers or chocolates? I relied on friends, strangers, the internet, and my own kids to cultivate a list of ideas we just might incorporate this year. I think we’ve found a few keepers and I hope you find an idea to inspire you as well! 

Valentines Day Houses
Buy the leftover gingerbread houses (at a discount!) or grab the graham crackers and make Valentine’s Day themed houses. And you might as well use the leftover candy and décor to make Valentines themed cookies while we’re at it.

Use this day to spread kindness and love to others via volunteering as a family or spreading random acts of kindness. 

Recreate the show Chopped
Decide on some unique ingredients and challenge each other to create an original meal.

Classic Valentines Day Cards
Pull out the art supplies from our own childhood (minus the glitter) and create handmade Valentine cards for loved ones.

Reading Party 
This is a Christmas Eve tradition in our family, and our kids asked if we could duplicate it on other holidays. Everyone in the family is gifted a new (or new to them) book and a chocolate, and a cozy reading party follows immediately! 

Game Night 
It’s simple and classic, but I wish I did it more often – grab some snacks and pull out Uno and Go Fish for a good old fashioned game night. 

As a nod to the good old mixed tape, this is a chance to create playlists for each other using significant music from the past year, special moments in your lives, or songs that remind you of a particular family member. Add a dance party for an added bonus!

Put it in Writing
What a perfect day, month, or week to leave love notes, love letters, or poetry for your loved ones. Write to your partner, your kids, or help your kids to write love letters of their own.  

Learn Something New
Choose something you can all learn together with the help of free videos on YouTube. Think drawing lessons, cooking classes, cake decorating, a new dance routine, paint night, etc. The possibilities are endless! 

Scavenger hunts
My kids are obsessed with these and my 8 year old lives to read them as well as create clues and treasure maps for us. Use them to lead to a small gift, some chocolate, or an activity you’ll be doing together.

Get Fancy Schmancy
Follow in Joanna Gaines’ footsteps and create a fancy evening where the entire family participates. The table is set, classy music is playing, and everyone dons their nicest clothes for a fancy home cooked meal. 

Reflect and Plan
As this is a day meant to celebrate love, it’s a great opportunity for reflection and intention. Make a “love list” of things you love doing together as a family and want to do more of. Get the whole family to add to the list and keep it somewhere visible as a reminder throughout the year.

Nailed-It” Competition
This is another Christmas tradition that might start making an appearance on other holidays because it is seriously so much fun. We all start with a cupcake or a plain cookie and then attempt a ridiculously over-the-top decoration we’ve found on Pinterest, and we have so much fun trying to recreate it and laughing at our failed attempts.

The Newlywed Game for Families
How well do you know mom? Your brother? How well do your kids know you? Create your own version of the personalized trivia game or use models like this for inspiration.

Blind Taste Test
I think using candy would be the most fun, but you could do it with anything! This is vaguely reminiscent of the awful diaper game played at baby showers, but how much fun would kids have with a blindfold and different candies to identify? I know I’d have fun for sure!

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Emily Corak has spent the last three decades in the Pacific Northwest and prefers to live in Vancouver because parking in Portland terrifies her. A mom to two kids, ages 3 and 7, Emily has been an educator for the past decade and she currently works with middle school English language learners. She wasn't planning on becoming a mother, but she's glad she was so careless because it turns out she really likes being a mom. Most days. Emily is now going back to school for her MFA in creative writing after deciding she had more to offer the world than breast milk and unsolicited grammar advice. When the world allows, she spends any spare cash on plane tickets, and she lives for books, tea, and all things Top Chef. She occasionally writes about anything and everything that comes to mind, and you can find her work here: https://offbrandmusings.blogspot.com/