by Meghan Fitzgerald
Whether or not we are among the 62% of Americans who celebrate Valentine’s Day, or whether the commercial expression of Valentines Day, or its rather interesting history, mesh with what we value, there is something very sweet and valuable about this midwinter chance to stop and celebrate love with our kids.
Each year, we make a habit of doing just a little something sweet with and for one another—it’s our chance to stop and think about what might delight one another and to take time to show that we care about each other. Whether on Valentine’s Day, or on any day you pick, such traditions help kids develop a sense of connection and empathy.
With love to all of our community, we share a few of our favorite ways to celebrate love with little ones:
Throw an Outdoor Tea Party: No matter the weather in February, an outdoor tea party is a marvelous way to celebrate together. Pack tea and some edible treats for a feast, but most of the fun will be making pretend treats in your outdoor kitchen. Bring along heart-shaped cookie cutters or muffin tins to make thematic nature cookies and cupcakes. Read a beautiful book like The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi to add even more imagination to your celebration. Or, read The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, then make your own wishes for one another to show your love.
Make a Love Potion. We love making petal potions in spring, but we often forget that winter potions are just as marvelous. Just grab a jar and a little water, maybe tie a little red ribbon for the holiday, and head outdoors to find your potion ingredients. For our friends in warm places, make extra sweet use of the flowers and fresh green you have. Friends in chillier spots, bring dried leaves, grasses and, if you’ve got it, ice and snow! Add in some wintery spices like cloves or cinnamon sticks to kick up the sensory experience (Psst...Cinnamon is even known to boost our moods, making it a perfect love potion ingredient!. Have a baby on hand? A cinnamon stick also makes a fabulous teether too!)
Love the birds: Did you know that, in the 1300s, Valentines Day landed on February 14th, as it was thought to be the start of bird mating season in Britain? We love that birds might have helped inspire these traditions, and we know that winter is a wonderful time to care for our feathered friends. Gather bird seed and a few other handy ingredients, and make your own bird feeder to show your love for the birds near your home.
Share more! Share your favorite ways to celebrate love in midwinter in the comments below!