Valentine’s Day used to be a day when children could express their creativity. They used to hand out home made cards, notes, letters and pictures to their friends, families and loved ones. You could find home made hearts and notes taped to windows, refrigerators and setting proudly on display tables. But in these modern days of commercialism things have changed. Yes, children still participate in the ritual of Valentines Day, but their parents buy the valentines in stores. They aren’t home made. They are factory made plastered with the popular cartoon characters of the day.
Some schools are still lucky enough to be able to afford art teachers, who teach the children how to make adorable home made valentines. But some schools are not that lucky.
As we all know, Valentine’s Day falls in the center of February during some of the coldest days of the year for most people. So why don’t you parents, who have the time, devote a weekend for Valentine’s activities?
You won’t need much in the way of supplies. Just some red and pink construction paper, some crayons, markers and if you want to be extra fancy you could pick up some paper dollies. Plus, many people are getting into the stamping hobby. Children would love this. Buy different size heart and cupid stamps and don’t forget the ink. You may also want to pick up the ingredients for cookies. What Valentine wouldn’t love a home baked chocolate cookie?
You can spend one day making valentine’s the old fashion way. Show your children how you used to cut out hearts and adorn them with some pretty markers. As you are making the valentines you and your children can discuss who they want to give them to, maybe a cherish grandmother, a devoted aunt, a good school teacher or an ever patient babysitter, who ever they think will enjoy their handiwork.
Then as you are cutting and pasting the hearts, you could tell your children one of the stories about the original Valentine. A favorite is about St. Valentine who was a priest that lived in Rome during the 3rd century. You should explain that the 3rd century is a really a long time ago.
The story goes like this. At this time, Rome was ruled by Claudius, a man who dreamed of having a huge army. But the men did not want to leave their wives and children to join this army. Claudius then made a law, saying that marriage was forbidden. The young people were upset.
Valentine loved marrying people. This was his favorite part of his job. So, he continued to wed young couples in secret. One day, he was caught. He was sent to prison and Claudius sentenced him to death.
When word got out that Valentine was going to die, people started throwing notes and flowers up to his window. One of the guards who was in charge of watching Valentine had a daughter. She believed in Valentine and in love. She talked her father into allowing her to visit Valentine. She would sit with him for hours. Then the day of his death came.
The story goes on to say that Valentine left a note for his friend and he signed it Love from your Valentine. The day was February 14.
After you finish this story, you could then explain to your children that this is how the tradition of Valentine’s day started and that people used to make all their Valentines. They didn’t buy them in stores.
You should then accompany your children as they hand delivery their cards, letters and cookies. They can see the smile on the face of their recipient and they can feel that wonderful feeling of pride, knowing that did something nice. You can also share this feeling with them.
Hopefully, your children will then never forget just how special it is to do something from your heart and with your hands for someone they love.