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Valentine's Day

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Celebrate Valentine's Day with kids in tow

Romantic nights out on the town are how many couples celebrate Valentine's Day. Restaurants and resorts book quickly come Valentine's Day, while movie theaters tend to be packed as well. Even babysitters cash in come February 14, as parents look to enjoy a romantic night away from the kids.

Parents who do not secure a babysitter well in advance of the holiday will have to spend Valentine's Day with kids in tow. Many parents actually prefer to spend Valentine's Day with their children, and there are plenty of family-friendly Valentine's Day activities to keep everyone occupied.

Dessert spree

Valentine's Day is the one day of the year to fully engage your sweet tooth. And what child doesn't enjoy sampling plenty of sweet treats? Create a sundae station after dinner, complete with different flavors of ice cream and various toppings. Include mix-ins, like brownie bits or small chunks of pound cake. Everyone can create their own sundae, topped off with whipped cream and a cherry.

This is also a time to experiment with different dessert recipes. Encourage kids to come into the kitchen and dabble in pastry arts. Bake and decorate heart-shaped cakes and cookies. Whip up healthy, pink-tinged strawberry-banana smoothies. Create edible candy-and-chocolate bouquets to use as the centerpiece on a dining table. The opportunities for fun with sweets are endless.

Get crafty

Families also can use this Valentine's Day as a chance turn off their electronic devices and have fun with crafts and hobbies. While heart-shaped paper crafts are requisite for the day, that doesn't mean you need to be limited to all frilly creations. Boys can construct their own Cupid bows from twigs and some yarn. Everyone can whip up a batch of fizzing, scented bath salts. Homemade craft dough also makes for a fun project, and the dough can be turned into all different shapes, including hearts and bows.

Fancy dinner at home

Who says you have to venture out for fine dining? Plan an intimate dinner right in your own dining room. Have the entire family dress up in semi-formal clothing and enjoy a candle-lit meal on fine china. The meal need not be fancy, as long as everyone enjoys what they are eating. Plan forĀ  dessert afterward.

Movie night

Rather than facing the crowds at area theaters, you can visit your nearest movie quick-serve kiosk or purchase a movie through your cable service provider. Find family-friendly films with love and togetherness as the center theme. Then whip up a large bowl of popcorn, snuggle under the blankets and enjoy a movie marathon.

Memory box

Purchase or find a wooden, plastic or metal box that will last for several years. Have all members of the family gather their favorite items or things that are sentimental to them and place them in the box. These can be ticket stubs, photographs, jewelry, or other trinkets. Place them in the box and seal it. Agree not to open the box until next Valentine's Day to see how the family has grown and evolved.

Get planting

Valentine's Day is frequently accompanied by bouquets of roses and other flowers. Begin a new family tradition of planting flower seeds on February 14. Use small pots that can be kept indoors in a bright window for a few weeks until the arrival of spring. Then transplant outdoors and continue to enjoy full-grown flowering plants for months to come.

Plan a family excursion

Engage in an activity that everyone enjoys together. Spend a day sledding down a wintry slope or skating at a nearby ice rink. Hike through a town park and witness the landscape during a cold-weather season. Visit a zoo, museum or aquarium and take in all the sights and sounds.

Although Valentine's Day is billed as a day for couples, the entire family can still enjoy the day together.