Valentine's Day Gift Activity Ideas for Kids

Great Valentine Day’s Gift and Activity Ideas for Young Kids

Feb 8, 2024

If you have young kids, you already know this: The time between Christmas and Spring can be long, dark, and cold. The one bright stop smack in the middle is Valentine’s Day. While my husband and I do try to get a sitter for a date night during the week (we recommend BambinoSitters for a safe, easy resource!), on the actual Valentine’s Day, we like to celebrate with our kids. Between festive breakfasts, class parties, and themed dinners, it can be so much fun - and like all holidays, have the potential to be overwhelming. Pick a couple activities you love, and stick to those. Read on for some ideas!

I used to painstakingly make custom Valentine’s cards when my oldest was first in school, but now with 4 kids all in classes that exchange cards, I try to keep their class gifts as simple as I can. Unless they want to craft their own (like my oldest does - I wonder where he got that from!).

But what about bringing the tradition home? Have your kids write a card for their siblings and parents. Valentine’s isn’t just about “romantic love” - focus on universal love and friendship, the love of family and friends and showing appreciation for each other.

The temptation is to make the 14th “the Halloween of February” and break out the candy. Well, you don’t have to look too far to get documentation of why that’s a bad idea. (This article also has good ideas for healthy alternatives that I like. Thankfully Target is filled with festive snack packs.) So let’s give some gifts and break the winter doldrums!

I like each kid to wake up to a special Valentine’s surprise and a card with a few reasons why I love them. It just gets their day off to a great start and gives us a few fun things to experience together.

I look for activities we can do as a family and less expensive individual gifts just because I don’t want to make too big a deal about it, so I look for toys under $30. 

Toys that Inspire Creative Play

Of course, I’m going to start with Playper! There’s our extremely popular Curious Kingdom: Gnome Catapult Playset. It is a complete working catapult with cute accessories and four hilarious characters, including the two gnomes, Fish Stick and Snack Cake.

It’s fun to have target shooting contests with them, and also make up stories with the imaginative characters (I usually end up being Cornelius the grumpy unicorn). There is also the Dragon Trainer Playset featuring Binky the baby dragon who is learning to fly.

There are cute accessories with this one, too, including hurdles and a target for the baby fire-breathing to practice with. Both of these playsets are buildable, and popping out the pieces and putting them together might be the most fun of all. 

The Playper best-selling Story Starters might be the best Valentine’s Day gift for young kids yet. It is a creative card set that inspires game-like story telling. The cards have a set of the wacky Kingdom characters; a location; and an object.

You draw one of each and make up a story. The tough part is figuring out which of my four kids gets the blank one to draw their own character, location, or object.

It’s really a fun activity for the whole family. Have older kids? Don’t be surprised if they want to play, too!

We also love PlanToys. The smaller, less expensive toys I like include their Whale Whistle, their Submarine, and their Dancing Alligator. Kids really love their Mushroom Kaleidoscope, too. Tender Leaf Toys has wonderful little block toys.

The Emergency Vehicles set is popular as is their Bug Hotel. And what better way to prepare your little one for one of the most important things we do as adults than with their toy Cheese Chopping Board? (They don’t sell toy wine bottles to go with that which is probably a good call ;).

All three of these company create STEM/STEAM toys that are sustainable and completely eco-friendly, something that I know is increasingly important to parents.

Kid Valentine’s Day Activities

Last year, Playper cofounder Susy Christiansen came up with a great idea for how to celebrate the day with your family. The Great Valentine’s Day Clue Hunt is the best!

And here are some other ideas: 

  • Decorate the House … with hearts! Using coffee filters or construction paper, cut heart shapes and color them – or better yet, break out the glue and the glitter! Have them tape them up around the house, especially the windows.
  • Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards. Make out of construction paper or thicker stock paper and give them to family members and neighbors (grandparents especially love receiving these!). They can draw on them or better yet dig up some magazines and newspapers and cut pictures out of those making fun collages. 
  • Read up on Valentine’s Day. There are a bunch of Valentine’s Day-themed books for kids at your library. I found this list of 25 Valentine’s Day Books for Kids – but there are others. And this is another great reason to visit the local library as a family.
  • Make it a Movie Night. There are so many great kids’ movies that are about universal love, starting with all the Toy Story movies. Paddington, especially the sequel, is hugely popular here. Finding Nemo is especially appropriate as its about parent love.
  • Valentine’s Day Bingo. You can purchase paper bingo cards at many party suppliers, or make your own bingo cards with Valentine’s Day-related objects (flowers, candy, smiley faces, etc.) Create the corresponding slips of paper representing those squares and get to playing! This is best done a bit ahead of time, but also once they are made, you can keep playing – ideally with others and friend and family gatherings.

That Special Kid-Friendly Valentine’s Day Meal

Kids love Breakfast for Dinner – so celebrate the day by making heart-shaped pancakes (Check out our kids making hearts with Happy Grub!) I like to shape bacon into hearts before popping into the oven, and strawberries make the cutest heart-shaped fruit. 

No matter what traditions you choose – always squeeze your kids tightly and let them know you love them this day and every day of the year. 

Happy Valentine's Day from Playper

By Deanna Knudsen

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