Christian Valentine Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers
We’ve been having fun preparing for Valentine’s Day at our house, and I wanted to share some of the simple activities we’ve been doing plus some ideas I have for the next few days. I have a 3.5 year old and 1 year old – both girls.
I haven’t had to get special supplies or do much prep work for these activities, so I hope you might still be able to use some of these if you have toddlers or preschoolers, even though Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching!
The Purpose: “We love because He first loved us.”
I personally love Valentine’s Day – in fact, I shocked my husband recently by sharing that it might even be my favorite holiday. As much as I love Easter and Christmas, I’m always filled with so much angst over the way our culture celebrates (bunnies and candy and over-the-top gift giving) versus the focus of these holidays as Christians (Christ and His birth, death, and victory through resurrection!)
I don’t feel that same angst over Valentine’s Day – after all, I think we all agree that loving one another is a good thing to do, whether our spouse, family members, or friends!
With that said, I think as Christians, we can particularly make sure our focus at Valentine’s Day is on God’s love for us as the REASON that we love one another. As believers, we don’t just love because it’s nice or makes us happy or wins us friends.
We love because Jesus already loved us (see 1 John 4). This is what sets us apart from the rest of the world!
So, as I’m talking with my kids about love and Valentine’s Day this week, I’m trying to focus WAY more on the love of God than on teaching my kids to love others.
Sometimes I see Valentine’s Day turned into a moral lesson about how children should act, with lots of discussion of their kindness and service to others.
While it’s fine to use this time to teach how to love one another, we want to be sure that the emphasis is that God loved us first.That’s it. He did it. Therefore, we can now love one another. But that’s only after we remember His love for us first.
Bible Verses to Use
Here are a few Bible verses we’ve been reading and discussing in our home (see the games section below for some ideas for how to do this). Though I typically like the NIrV version when working with children, so many of these verses are familiar to me in the NIV translation that I’ve been using that one.
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
1 John 3:1 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
1 John 3:16a – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.”
1 John 4:7 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:8 – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:9 – “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”
1 John 4:10 – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:11 – “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ”
1 John 4:12 – “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4:16 – “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”
Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We’ve been singing…
“Skidamarinka dink” – which is not at all “Christ-centered” but a nice way to remind my kids I love them. Here’s a cute little video if you’re not familiar with the song.
“Be Ye Kind to One Another” (the words of Ephesians 4:32)
Be ye kind to one another
Tenderhearted, forgiving one another
Even as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you
Do-do-dootle-ee-do, Ephesians Four: Thirty-Two
This is a song I learned from a college professor, but I can’t find the exact tune. Here’s a very similar one on YouTube.
“Jesus Loves Me”
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.
“How He Loves Us” by David Crowder Band <– click that link to listen
He loves us, Oh, how He loves us…
I like to have our kids send Valentines to our friends and loved ones, as an expression of “love one another.” We made these hearts using this “shake up hearts” idea that I found on Pinterest.
This was a fun activity using just some basic ingredients – paint, paper, and a plastic jar (thankfully I remembered we were running out of peanut butter so I used that one.) You can check out the directions at the link above.
The only warning I’ll give is that we used too much paint and it got pretty clumpy, especially after a few papers. So, if you’re planning to assembly-line 100 cards or something like that, you will want to wash out the paint periodically.
After my daughters made the papers, I let the papers dry and later cut them into hearts. Then I wrote some messages and Bible verses on each one.
We’ll distribute some at a Valentine’s party we’re going to on Saturday, plus include some in our (much-delayed) Christmas thank you cards that I’m determined to send this week! 🙂
Valentine Crafts for Kids
These Silly Heart Puppets (also a Pinterest find) were a big hit, and required just a few simple supplies – paint, popsicle sticks, plus a thin cardboard box out of our pantry.
We decorated two into actual puppets, using googly eyes and pom-poms, but we also liked just the plain painted hearts.
You could write some of the Bible verses above on these hearts! (In all honesty, we didn’t really do this, because by the time I had that idea, my daughter had already distributed them as gifts to all her princess dolls – I just made this one as an example).
We made handprint hearts and feet.
We made a Valentine’s Day sign using ripped paper. My daughter cut/ripped some pink paper, then together we glued it into a heart. (I actually intended for us to cut out paper hearts before realizing her cutting skills aren’t nearly that developed! So ripping the paper into pieces worked much better.)
Valentine’s Day Games
After making some crafts, I could tell we were all getting stir-crazy, so I came up with two very simple, no-prep-needed games.
First, I cut out some hearts and quickly wrote a few Bible verses on them. (You’ll see from the photos I actually abbreviated some of the verses into 3-year-old language.) Alternatively, here are some printable hearts with verses that you could use.
Bible Verse Hide-and-Seek
Then, I sent my daughter into her room while I hid the hearts around the living room, taped onto the wall in various places. As she found each one, she brought it back to me and we read it together before she set out to find another.
Bible Verse Relay Race
For a more active version, I hung them all up on the door in our bedroom using tape (the only uncluttered part of the house at this point, so she wouldn’t trip). We had a starting line in the living room, and she ran to the door, picked up one heart, then brought it back to me, then ran to get another until she had collected all five. (We didn’t bother reading them aloud, though you could.) My one year old even enjoyed getting in on this one!
Activities and Other Ideas
Family Date Dinner
We plan to prepare a festive dinner, decorate our table with some paper hearts and little decorations, and light some candles. We’ll all get dressed up and turn on some fancy music to listen to. I hope we’ll read and talk about some of our “love” Bible verses and have some special family time together.
(For what it’s worth, I’m not trying to neglect my husband on Valentine’s Day! He and I have an at-home date night every Tuesday so we are having some special dates this week and next week to celebrate).
Valentine’s Tea Party
For several years – even when our kids were just babies! – my sister and I have had a Valentine’s tea party with heart-shaped treats and activities. Whether you do this with cousins, friends, a Sunday school class, or just within your immediate family, it’s a fun way to celebrate with loved ones.
Serve Outside Your Family
Something we may do this year is put together some Valentine’s Day goody baskets for someone who could use some encouragement – maybe a “thanks” gift for people who help us, like our apartment complex managers; or sending a package to a friend across the country; or dropping one off at the local hospital or a nursing home.
If we do, we’ll probably just fill a basket with some items from Target, like some sweets and stickers, and then include a couple of our homemade craft items from this week.
Do you have any other ideas for ways to serve at Valentine’s Day? I’d love to do more of this.