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Today's Family Magazine

Creative ways to spread Valentine’s Day cheer

By Sarah Lyons

Kids enjoy exchanging cards and candy on Valentine’s Day but the holiday can be an opportunity to spread love and cheer to our neighbors, friends, and those in need.  Here are some creative ways you and your kids can show others the holiday spirit.

Random act of kindness - Get the kids involved and show someone a random act of kindness.  Pay for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop, take cookies to your neighbors, volunteer at a homeless shelter, visit with seniors at a nursing home, or collect coats and hats for those in need.  Pick a cause that is near and dear to your family’s hearts and do something that would benefit that charity.

Show some heart - Consider contacting a local children's hospital and making goody bags for kids and families who are admitted.  Most hospitals will have a list of things they need but they could include books, art supplies, blankets, or stuffed animals for kids, and Chapstick, magazines, playing cards, and travel size toiletries for parents.  Get the kids involved in gathering the items and delivering them to the hospital.

Furry friends - If your child loves animals, consider volunteering at a local pet shelter. If you are unable to work there, ask what items can be donated and do a neighborhood drive to collect items to take to the pet shelter.  Check Pinterest for homemade dog or cat toys you can make as a family and deliver.

A surprise delivery - Do some baking with your kids and do a surprise delivery to your spouse, a grandparent, or a neighbor.  You could also consider taking treats to teachers, or the fire or police station.  Ask your kids to make a homemade card to go along with the treats. 

Host a party - Invite your kids’ friends over for a Valentine’s Day party.  Offer a holiday themed snack, craft, and card making station.  Ask them to make thank you cards that you can send to nurses, first responders, or people overseas in the armed forces. 

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be about cards and candy, it can be about showing those around you that they are loved and appreciated.  Get the kids involved and ask them who they would like to serve and show kindness to this year.  Have them help you brainstorm creative ways that they can show love to others.