Valentine’s Day is on Saturday and oops, you forgot to get your babysitter lined up. Or perhaps a babysitter isn’t really in the budget for you this year. Why not have a family Valentine’s party and save the real date for a time when you can use those two-for-one coupons you’ve been holding onto? We’ve come up with some fun ideas to make it a special night of “family fun.”

Picnic in the Living Room – Pack up your favorite picnic food and spread a huge blanket out on the living room floor. Invite your kids for a special family picnic INSIDE! If you happen to have a wood-burning fireplace, you can even roast hot dogs and marshmallows! Can someone say s’mores? This was a family favorite when my kids were little. But, even without the fireplace, there can still be plenty of fun. Be sure to pack a valentine treat such as heart-shaped cookies to make the evening extra special. (Feel free to purchase them if you’re not into baking. This is supposed to be fun.) While you’re sitting there have everyone tell what they love about being a family. Nancy Holte

Treasure Hunt – Treasure hunts require a little more forethought, but they can be loads of fun! Make some hearts out of construction paper. Put a “clue” on each heart telling how to locate the next clue such as, “You can find the next clue by going to the cold place where we store our ice cream.” You can up the difficulty based on the age of your kids. If your family is spread out age-wise you could write on the heart, “This clue is for Sam,” and gear it towards his/her competency level, but ultimately you’ll want all the children to work together. You can have as many heart-shaped clues as you like, depending on how much energy you want to put into the game and how long you want it to last. The final clue takes them to the “treasure.” It could be a special treat, a new game, a family movie to watch together or even the picnic basket for your “Living-Room Picnic.” Nancy Holte

Hide n’ Go Sweetheart – No real mystery here: it’s pretty much your standard hide n’ seek, with a twist. Take some paper cut out hearts or those dove chocolate hearts we all love so much, and make them part of your family game night. Use the hearts to decorate for dinner and after dinner start game night (and dessert at the same time!) by grabbing a heart and going to hide! So each time a person is found they give their heart to the seeker! If you are not found, then the heart is yours to keep! Who ever has the most hearts at the end of the game/night wins or just gets to share the love a little more! Ginger Bailey

Valentine Notes – This idea is for kids who are able to read. It probably won’t take the whole evening but would be just a quick, fun, family Valentine’s day activity. For this project you will need:

  • A bag or two of those little Valentine’s hearts with words on them. (You know the ones that come in multiple colors, are pure sugar, and the orange ones taste the best? Yeah, those.)
  • Heavy Paper (construction, tagboard, etc.)
  • White Glue

Pour out the candy Valentine hearts on a firm surface. Ask your kids to make sentences by stringing the hearts together. You could use these to send notes to other family members or just have fun with the project.

There is no doubt they will want to eat a few along the way, so have a bowl of “clean candy” ready for those purposes. Nancy Holte

All of these ides, of course, can be adapted for any day of the year. Kids love a party and don’t need an excuse like Valentine’s Day to have some fun. Why not make “Family Fun Night” a regular part of each month? You’ll have memories to cherish forever.