Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday that limited to just couples. It’s a day to celebrate everyone you love! (And let’s face it, if you have little ones at home, it can be hard to get out for a date night anyway!) Here are some kid-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday of love:

Local Events

Tewksbury Library

31 Old Turnpike Road, Oldwick

From  Feb. 1 to Feb. 14ththe library is hosting Blind Date with a Book. Patrons (including kids) can select a wrapped book, identified only by the first sentences of the book. Take home the book and be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Tewksbury Inn. For kids ages 2-4, take part in the weekly story time on Feb. 14 at 10 a.m.

Kid’s Night Paint Workshop

Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Oink and Moo BBQ and Brew, 167 Perryville Road, Hampton

Let your kids paint while you enjoy a nice meal with a craft beer at this relatively new BBQ joint. Register here.

Family Date Night

Friday, Feb. 14 from 5 p.m to 7 p.m.

Chick-fil-A, 287 Routes 202/31, Flemington

No need to hire a babysitter for the night, come to Chick-fil-A for dinner. Spread the love over delicious food.

South County Maker’s Club.

Saturday, Feb. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m.

South County Library Branch, 1108 Old York Road, Ringoes

Creativity and love seem to go hand-in-hand.  Spend some quality time with your kids making seed bombs, virtual reality games, beading, weaving, 3D printing, Origami, Raspberry Pi computer games, crafting, robotics, you name it, you can make it at maker’s day.

A Valentine for the Future

Saturday, Feb. 15 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

ArtYard, 62A Trenton Ave., Frenchtown

If you have a burgeoning poet in your family, check out ArtYard’spoetry event, featuring humanoid robot BINA48, Bruce Duncan of the Terasem Movement Foundation, and poet Sasha Stiles, who as BINA48’s poetry mentor is engaged in developing the literary mindfile of one of the world’s most advanced social robots. They’ll  host a poetry reading and conversation about creativity and cognition, what machine learning can teach humans, and the origin story of BINA48, who Stiles proposes is a 21st-century love poem.

Valentine’s Dog Walk

Saturday, Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon

Spruce Run Recreation Area, 68 Van Syckels Road, Clinton

What goes better with kids than a dog? Sponsored by Keep it Real Dog Training, join this walk on Saturday morning and show your dog (and kids)some love. The 2.5-mile walk aims to teach dogs to be calm in the presence of other dogs and people. Wear proper footwear and have your dog on a 6-foot leash. Heavy rain will cancel this event.  Register at this link.

Celebrating at Home

If taking the kids out is daunting, celebrate at home! You don’t need to go do anything fancy to make it fun for your kids! Here are a few ideas to make the day feel special.

Make a Special Breakfast

This can vary depending on your morning routine. (Or you could always hold off and make a big to-do on Saturday morning if that’s when you have more time!) Some ideas include making heart-shaped pancakes, drinking pink strawberry milk instead of regular, or using a cookie cutter to make heart-shaped toast.

Have a Hot Chocolate Date

Hot chocolate is always a winter favorite. Make a point to sit down with your kids and sip a mug in honor of Valentine’s Day. For a festive touch, get pink marshmallows or add some sprinkles.
Plan a Movie Night

When you think of Valentine’s Day movies, you probably think of rom-coms that kids might not appreciate. But there are actually lots of cute movies that carry the theme of love but are still family-friendly. Consider Lady in the Tramp, Shrek, Beauty & the Beast, Gnomeo & Juliet, or Enchanted. Mix some Valentine’s-Day colored M&Ms in your bowl of popcorn for a sweet and salty snack that’s perfect for the occasion.

Bake a Special Treat Together

A lot of kids love to help in the kitchen! Instead of just giving your kids candy, make a special treat together. They’ll love knowing that they helped make the dessert the family will enjoy that night.

Valentine’s Day Mani-Pedis

Sure, you can take your little one out for a pro paint job, but it can be just as fun to do them at home! Let her pick out the color (the sparkly the better) and give her a little pampering.

Make Cards or Another Craft

This might be better to do BEFORE the holiday, but is there really any expiration date on when people like to receive cards?! While they might be handing out boxed Valentine cards to classmates, this is the time to really get creative because you’re only making a few! Help your kids make cards for grandparents, teachers, or anyone else special in their life.

Heart Pizza from Mangia Bella Pizza (Photo from Facebook.)

Eat a Special Dinner

There are plenty of options for this! Let the kids pick their favorite foods. Make dinner together, and have them think of foods that are red to go with the theme. Or, use heart-shaped cookie cutters whenever possible! Pick up (or make) pizza dough and shape it into a heart. Or, let the pros do it and see if your favorite local spot offers heart pizzas for Valentine’s Day. (2019 Happening List Finalists Cafe Maria and Mangia Bella Pizza have done it in the past.)

Have a Dance Party

Make a special playlist of silly songs about love and let loose!

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