Valentine’s Day has long been celebrated as a date night, but it’s also a holiday about expressing our love for our kids. So go find a great sitter (we recommend BambinoSitters for a safe, easy resource!) and pick a romantic spot, but before you leave for your night out on the town, have some Valentine’s fun with the kiddos! After all, it’s important to take the time to let them know how much you love them, too.
Here’s our suggestion for the perfect Valentine’s Day to spend with kids, then time for you and your special someone. It’s called…
The Great Valentine’s Day Clue Hunt
This is a staple in my house, started when my kids were old enough to follow instructions, and… well, now in high school, they still ask for it every year. Here’s the summary: place written clues in different spots in your house, each one leading to the next. The clues should be customized to your child’s abilities, and a little grown-up help is perfectly fine. At the end of the clue hunt, they’ll find a Valentine’s Day gift basket as their reward. It’s a great way to have them practice instruction following, and you can even throw in a few learning-related clues while you’re at it. Your kids will get VERY excited when playing this, so get ready for some delighted squeals and lots of running around!
Sample Clue Hunt
Here’s an example hunt for younger kids. For preschoolers, some grown-up help is probably in order. You can be their guide, or if you’ve got a babysitter coming over later, this is the perfect activity for them to do together – the sitter will have a great time, too!
1. Write out the word DOG on a piece of paper. Help the child identify and sound out each letter, then show them how it spells DOG. Where can you find a dog? Let’s try the dog bed!
2. After hunting around the dog bed, your sleuth finds the second clue hidden underneath. This time there is a photo of their favorite book. Let’s find it!
3. Tucked inside the book is a picture that has been cut into four squares. Once they figure out the correct assembly, the finished picture reveals a bottle of shampoo. Hm – where do you find shampoo? Let’s look in the shower!
4. In the shower, there’s a fun printed activity like this connect-the-dots. Find a pencil! Once they complete it, tell them the next clue: “I come out of an animal that says MOO. What am I?” Maybe with some help, they figure out the answer: Milk! To the fridge!
5. They open the fridge, and taped to the milk is a yellow flower. Where have they seen this flower before? The vase in the living room!
6. Tucked inside the vase is an envelope with a photo of their prize: a big gift basket sitting on their own bed!
The prize gift basket might contain candy, books, or toys. A great anchor toy for the basket would be Playper’s Curious Kingdom – a plastic-free playset featuring lots of characters and accessories to keep any preschooler happy for hours.
A few pro tips:
• Be sure to create an answer sheet to help track where all the clues are hidden.
• Set up the clue hunt, hand the answer sheet to the babysitter, then enjoy your night out while the sitter has some constructive fun with the kids!
• You can create as many or few clues as you like, but I’d suggest 6-8 as a sweet spot.
• A quick search online will yield some great clue hunt ideas for kids of all ages.
So go out and enjoy a night out on the town, knowing your kids are having a blast with the sitter; I promise you’ll hear all about it when you get home! The most important thing is that you took the time to make their day special, and to let them know how much you love them – because that's what Valentine’s Day is all about!
Susy Christiansen, Chief Product Officer