So, have you started planning your Valentine’s evening out? You know, the one with a romantic dinner, dancing, and a finale that might include red lingerie? Ha! Who are we kidding? Those celebrations are so two-kids ago! The red hot way to celebrate now is planning a Valentine’s extravaganza right at home with the ones you love the most–your kiddos. Here are some low-key, low-cost ways to “get in the mood” and create your own in-home love shack that lasts all day.

Good morning, Valentine: Wake up the kiddos with a Valentine’s surprise. Fill their room with balloons and deck their door with streamers to walk through.

Heart-y breakfast: Use red food coloring to tint pancake batter pink and pour it into a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Serve with whipped cream (tinted pink, of course) and strawberries. Wash it all down with cranberry juice or pink-tinted milk.

Sealed with a kiss: Hide love notes where they will find them all day! Try their coat pocket, pencil case, daycare or school bag, lunch bag and even inside each of their snack containers. Cut out funky letters from magazines and newspapers to make one of the messages. Tape on candy hearts or Hershey’s Kisses for fun.

Eat your heart out: Keep it heart-healthy after school with a trail mix of dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips, nuts and cereal.

Be cheesy: Prepare a fabulous fondue dinner. Start with a gooey Gazpacho dip for some sneaky vegetable fun. Use bread, apples and carrots for the dippers. Then, boil some oil, and dip steak, pork or chicken strips. Use stir fry strips for easy prep! Finally, every Valentine’s Day has to end with chocolate! Fun dippers include pound cake, pretzels, strawberries and bananas. Keep track of your own stick by taping a different colored candy heart to each.

Baked with love: Make the day even sweeter. Whip up a decadent, heart-shaped red velvet cake the day before and it’ll be cooled and ready to eat by Valentine’s Day. Leave the frosting to the kids and decorate with Valentine’s themed candies.

Sharing is caring: The week before Valentine’s Day, give each family member two paper hearts for each other family member. They then write something they love about them — from sweet to silly. Parents can help the younger ones write theirs. Make this a tradition and pull out the ones from years past!

Meet me on the dance floor: Have a dance party with a kid-friendly, love-themed playlist. Take the party up a notch with red light bulbs or a mini disco ball.

  1. Forever Young (Rod Stewart)
  2. Friday I’m in Love (The Cure)
  3. I Want to Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
  4. I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)
  5. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John and Kiki Dee)
  6. Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain and Tennille)
  7. Love Shack (B-52s)

Good night darlin’: The little ones are sure to be delirious by the end of such a fun-packed day. Tuck them in with an extra snuggle, pop open a bottle of wine, and spend some “quality time” with your sweetie!

We’d love more suggestions for other kid-friendly songs in the comments!

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Written by: Cathie Ericson

photo credit: Cathie Ericson, Makeslessnoise via Flickr, Kirinqueen via Flickr