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 Focus on the Family's 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:
Hearts on Door Handles
One February, my daughter and I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day by blessing complete strangers. We cut hearts out of leather scraps, punched holes in the top and threaded a string through the hole. Some hearts we left plain. On others we wrote notes, such as "You are loved."
We spent the week before Valentine's Day leaving these hearts on door handles, in public areas and at the grocery store. We also handed them to people with the mission to "share the love."
It's been inspiring for us to see people walking around town with our little hearts hanging on their backpacks and purses long after Valentine's Day.
My family makes homemade valentines for the widows and widowers in our church. We pray over the cards and for the people they are going to. On the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we hand them out. It’s a small way for my children to begin caring for those who may be sad or lonely on Valentine’s Day.
Beginning when my daughter was 2, we found a way to encourage others around Valentine's Day. We made craft hearts out of paper. I wrote, "Thank you for the love you show your community" on one side and "We appreciate you" on the other. We carried these hearts with us during February, and my daughter gave them to different workers we encountered — cashiers, librarians, custodians and others. It made her more aware of the people in our community.
My husband and I came up with a new Valentine's Day tradition: double-dating our children. He became our daughter's date, and I became our son's. Our hope was that our children would learn how to act on a date from our examples and would eventually look for spouses who treated them like we did on these dates.
The first Valentine's Day double date consisted of dinner and a movie. My husband held the door for our daughter, which taught our son to do the same for me. The evening continued in this way, as we gave our "dates" special attention. Everyone enjoyed this Valentine's Day event so much that we've continued the tradition over the last four years.
In February, I set a "love jar" on the kitchen counter. When my kids see an act of kindness or God's love demonstrated, they write it down and place it in the jar. At the end of the month, we go out for ice cream and take time to read from the pile of slips.
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. (You can make your own mailbox and notes for your children in this download.)
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!