How to Host a Family Valentines Party With Kids

Celebrate Your Family's Love With a Valentine's Day Dinner or Brunch

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Looking for sturdy, kid-friendly Valentines Day flowers? Consider carnations. Megan Cooley

Traditionally, a Valentine's party celebrates romantic love. Adults might exchange flowers, chocolates, jewelry—or whatever else marketers successfully convince us to buy for one another every February.

Young kids, though, can’t yet grasp the concept of romantic love (thank goodness!). My preschool-age daughter and her friends often make plans to marry their dads, moms, and siblings.

Why not embrace that sweet innocence with a family Valentine’s Day party on February 14? Here’s how you can...MORE create one.

  • 01 of 08

    Make Invitations

    Handmade invitations are a must. Give the kids some heart-shaped construction paper, white paper doilies and a bottle of glue and let the creativity flow. Or make these hugging heart Valentines, which will delight the little ones with their stretchy arms.

    Of course, you don't need to send invitations if you're just inviting your immediate family, but who doesn't like to receive mail--even if it's simply slipped under a bedroom door. Plus, grandparents and cousins might enjoy...MORE coming, too.

    On the invites, instruct everyone to bring with them a Valentine's Day poem to read aloud and a small gift to exchange. Gifts can be store bought, but consider setting aside time to make Valentine's gifts by hand instead.

  • 02 of 08

    Decorate Your Home

    valentines day flowers, carnations, kids, children, sturdy, long lasting, inexpensive, cheap, party,
    Looking for sturdy, kid-friendly Valentines Day flowers? Consider carnations. Megan Cooley

    Make a Valentine's Day garland by cutting heart shapes from construction paper, punching holes on both sides of them and then attaching the hearts together with string or red and white-striped baker's twine. Hang the garland above doorways, across a fireplace mantle or above the dining room table.

    You can also buy Valentine's Day garland (compare prices).

    Set out a bouquet of flowers or make tissue paper flowers with the kids.

    If you’re buying a bouquet of cut flowers, consider...MORE carnations. They’re inexpensive, long lasting and sturdy, even when a young child is arranging the flowers. Plus, despite their reputation for playing second fiddle to roses, they can be quite lovely when you skip the baby’s breath and bunch them tightly together.

  • 03 of 08

    Decorate the Table

    cupcake toppers, DIY, make your own, do it yourself, vintage, cake, Valentine's Day, birthdays, kids
    Use vintage Valentines to make cute cupcake toppers. Megan Cooley

    When setting the table, tall candlesticks are a must, as are red and pink accessories, such as heart-shaped plates (compare prices), napkins, tablecloths, and placemats. If you don't see products you like in the stores, you can always make your own tablecloth and napkins using Valentines themed fabric from a sewing store.

    Make napkin rings by scanning vintage Valentines on your computer or searching for images and then printing and cutting them into strips, wrapping the strips around the...MORE napkins and securing them in the back with tape.

    Vintage Valentines also make great ​cupcake toppers, too.

  • 04 of 08

    Prepare Dinner

    Play Dates, Kitchen Playdates, Lauren Bank Deen, play dates, book, cooking with kids, food, ideas
    Need ideas for unique play dates for your kids and their friends? Read Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Bank Deen. Image provided by Chronicle Books

    Involve the whole family in the meal prep, from setting the menu to washing the vegetables to baking the dessert—of course considering which steps are safe for your kids to handle based on their age and abilities.

    Choose healthy, kid-friendly, Valentine's Day-themed food.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Songs and Words of Love

    Once dinner is ready, dig in. Sometime during the meal, have everyone take a turn reading the poem they brought, whether it was written by them or a published poet. Of course, pre-readers will need someone to read their poem for them, but they could sit on the reader's lap while their poem is recited to feel some ownership in the moment.

    Playing love songs during dinner also adds a nice touch. You might choose romantic standards, like "At Last," by Etta James, or more kid-themed...MORE tunes. Children's music artist Elizabeth Mitchell's songs are sweet and soft enough that they won't interfere with dinner conversation.

  • 06 of 08

    After Dinner

    cupcake, birthday, party, kids, food, menu, cake
    Dig in! Cupcakes can be easier for young children to handle than slices of cake. Megan Cooley

    Exchange gifts after you eat, and then play more romantic music and take turns dancing with each other in your living room.

    For dessert, serve individual molten chocolate cakes, cupcakes with pink and red sprinkles or some other favorite Valentine's Day treat.

  • 07 of 08

    Alternative: Host a Brunch Instead

    Your family might prefer a Valentine’s Day brunch instead of dinner. If you do, serve heart-shaped waffles, heart-shaped eggs, heart-shaped pancakes, and strawberries, among other love-themed breakfast food.

  • 08 of 08

    One Final Step

    After the family Valentine’s party is over, send everyone off to bed or on with their day with—what else?—a hug and a kiss.