Valentine’s Day for the kids


Special to Civitas Media



Although Valentine’s Day may be geared toward adults, children are quite drawn to the celebration as well. Perhaps it’s the promise of candy or chocolate that gets their attention, but Valentine’s Day annually appeals to the younger set.

Some couples opt to leave children in the capable hands of a babysitter come Valentine’s Day and enjoy the evening solo. But for those who want to include youngsters in their fun, they can explore the many enjoyable and clever crafts and other activities available.

LEARNING GAMES

Valentine’s Day can be turned into a learning opportunity for children. One idea is to create an “Attracting Love” game that illustrates the power of magnets and the laws of attraction. Fill an empty glass jar with various items made into heart shapes. These can include small pieces of pipe cleaner, paper clips, paper, and even aluminum foil hearts. Put the top on the jar and shake up the contents. Let children guess which items will be attracted to a magnet, then have them test their theory with a strong magnet rubbed on the outside of the jar. See which hearts are attracted to the magnet.

Other learning games can include matching or finding the differences between pictures, counting paper hearts or making recipes of scented modeling dough.

DESSERT FUN

Invite youngsters into the kitchen to try their hands at different recipes, making sure that they have a chance to sample their handiwork afterward.

Faux chocolate truffles made with chocolate sandwich cookies can be a tasty treat for little hands. Start by mashing up some Oreo® cookies, then add them to a bowl with one 8-ounce package of cream cheese. Mix until everything is incorporated into a sticky batter. Truffles can be made into balls or heart shapes. For children celebrating Valentine’s Day and winter fun, turn the truffles into edible snowmen. Dip the truffles into melted chocolate or colored candy melts to coat. Place on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet and refrigerate for an hour, or until the truffles are firm.

CRAFTS

Children can have fun cutting out cupids, making coloring pages or doing just about any other Valentine-inspired craft, like making their own cards.

Another craft idea is to write secret love notes with invisible ink. Lemon juice can be used as invisible ink. Have children write a message by dipping a cotton swab or their finger in lemon juice and then writing words on a white piece of paper. Once the papers have dried, an adult can reveal the message by placing the paper in front of a heat source, such as an iron or a light bulb. The message will magically appear and reveal those secret sentiments.

Children can get crafty by making gifts for the special people in their lives. Combine the concept of valentines with the ambiance of a candle. For an even safer alternative, opt for an LED-flame candle instead of traditional candles.

Kids can glue foam conversation hearts, sold at many craft stores, to the outside of the candle. Wrap the middle of the candle with ribbon, and they’ve just created an easy, heartfelt gift.

KIDS’ DINNER

Encourage the next generation of chefs to create culinary masterpieces, which they can then serve to family members or friends. Children can even prepare dinner as a token of appreciation to their parents.

Plan recipes with kids in advance, but look for age-appropriate menu ideas, particularly those that will not require much use of the stovetop or other dangerous kitchen appliances. Kids can always do the prep work and then ask an adult to put the food into the oven for cooking.

One easy idea is to create heart-shaped hamburger sliders and Valentine-colored mashed potatoes. Use red potatoes with the skin on to create the potato mash. The sliders can be shaped by hand or using a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the holiday presents many opportunities for children to share in the fun and festivities.

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Special to Civitas Media

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