This year, your kids can show God’s love to their friends with free Adventures in Odyssey Valentine's Day Cards. (Each card gives access to a free Adventures in Odyssey episode!) Or download free Average Boy Valentine's Day Cards provided by Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse magazine or free Out Back Friends Valentine's Day Cards provided by Clubhouse Jr. magazine. It’s easier than ever to let your family and friends know how much you care. Sign in to download all three themes!
Here are other ways that families have chosen to celebrate Valentine’s Day:
When my children were little, I'd have them make Valentine's Day cards out of paper and craft supplies. Then we'd mail them to those who might be overlooked — widows and widowers who were facing their first Valentine's Day without their spouse, or friends who had recently endured a rough divorce. Then all year, whenever my children complained that they were bored, I'd have them make similar cards that we'd send as encouragement to missionaries.
Love in Action
During February, my family looks for "love acts." When I see my 4-year-old do something well, I say, "Wesley, you obeyed the first time I asked. When we obey God the first time, that shows Him we love Him. Way to go!" This helps Wesley hear the connection between loving God and obeying Him.
These love acts can also be done toward each other. For example, I explain to my kids that doing chores demonstrates love for the rest of the family. When we describe love in actions, we help our children begin to understand how real love is shown through more than just our words.
My husband and I purchased a small mailbox for Valentine's Day. Each morning in February, we placed a note and a small treat in it for our son. Grammie and Grandpa were even able to get in on it and contributed a note, as well. Our son loved it! He jumped out of bed to see what was in his mailbox each day. Our notes, which often included Bible verses, told him how much we loved him, but also how much God loved him and how special God made him.
Show Love to Others
To help our children, ages 7 and 4, understand that all people are valuable, especially in God's eyes, I planned a simple event for our family. We began with “Love Bingo” — using homemade bingo cards with a characteristic of love (as described in 1 Corinthians 13) written into each block. I called out the characteristics and my husband helped the girls mark their cards. I took time to explain how God loves us and expects us to love others and treat them with dignity.
After our game, we prayed that God would make us aware of a need so we could show His love to someone. We noticed a homeless gentleman on our way to buy pizza. After we ordered what we needed, we purchased a pizza and drink for him. My oldest daughter wrote "God loves you" on the box before my husband handed over the food.
Though our gesture didn't significantly alter this man's plight, it did help our young daughters understand that God desires for us to share what we have with others.
Print out Love Bingo cards and calling cards to use with your kids.
A New Focus for Valentine’s Day
Valentine's Day is all about romantic love and celebrating with your "special someone." But as our daughter gets older, we want to help her focus less on the boy in the third row at school and more on the long-lasting relationships in her life that show her she is accepted and special.
So we've made it a Valentine's Day tradition to create and deliver gift boxes filled with chocolate-covered strawberries.
As we hand-dip the strawberries, we talk about the important friendships in our lives and the joy we get from giving love to others. Later, we personally deliver the treats to close family friends. This fun tradition gives our daughter a sense of belonging among a community whose love lasts long past the February holiday.
Creative Valentine Cards for Kids
For Valentine's Day, I helped my kids use candy hearts to create personalized messages for classmates, friends and loved ones. We cut red and pink paper hearts, glued on candy conversation hearts, then added words to make more meaningful and age-appropriate messages. Here are a few:
I LOVE YOUr heart for God!
I have JUST ONE thing to say: Jesus loves you!
It's SO COOL that God gave me you as a friend!
I DARE YA to sit by me at lunch! I'll make a spot for you.
I'M SURE glad you are my little sister!