Valentine’s Day is the next holiday, after Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, that will be affected by our new socially distant lifestyle. No sprinkle-laden, heart-shaped cookies in class. No gaudily decorated shoeboxes sent to school. No handing out of Valentine’s cards to classmates.
Can you believe that just one year ago, parents were trying to cajole their 6 year olds into writing their name on 30 tiny classroom Valentine’s Day cards? How much has changed!
But, that doesn’t mean we need to cancel the 14th or sit at home sadly eating chocolate Kisses. Instead, there are ways that tech, wonderful tech, can save the day and help our kids still have a heart-filled holiday. After all, tech has helped our kids (and us!) connect with friends in so many ways, including ways to play Zoom games, celebrate birthdays and graduations, have fun with faraway family, and—now— safely celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends, classmates, and family.
And, teachers? Take a look at this list too! You may find some ideas for your classroom to use so that you can get everyone involved in a safe, socially distant Valentine’s Day.
Send Valentine’s Day ecards
If classroom cards are nixed this year, your kids may consider sending out personalized virtual Valentine’s cards to their BFF’s using Paperless Post (check out the masks on this card!).
A long-standing favorite of ours for virtual Valentine’s Day cards and e-vites for parties (remember those?), Paperless Post also have a whole bunch of adorable Valentine’s ecards that can be personalized with a special message and your child’s name, all for only $10 for around 12 cards.
If they have one or two very special friends that they want to spoil for Valentine’s Day, check out the sweetness they can send without leaving the house. Sugarwish makes it so easy to send a Valentine’s ecard, but not just any ecard: One that includes redeemable treats! Their Valentine MVP can visit the Sugarwish website and order a small box of cookies, candy, or flavored popcorn (or a mix of all three) which is waaaaaay better than a set of wax lips that I once got in my Valentine shoebox in school.
If you have access to a 3D printer (which have gotten a lot more affordable and easy to use over the years), get the kids involved in making some heart-shaped treats to send to mailboxes as a little no-contact Valentine surprise. I love these easy-to-make 3D printed, heart-shaped bookmarks from 102 Creations at Cults that are not too complicated to make and will come in handy for years to come.
This 3D heart puzzle project from nlroyalry at Thingiverse is a bit more hands on, but the finished product makes an awesome little project for little hands to put together. And take apart. And put together.
If you have the 3Doodler pen that we’ve loved for so many years, check out this adorable heart-shaped cupcake topper your kids can make. Stand them up in a cupcake for a few select friends or just mail in a card as a keepsake. Instructions for the heart cupcake liner shown above are included as well.
Create a Valentine’s-Day themed Zoom background
Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year which means yay for snuggling on the couch, but maybe a little less hurrah for classroom parties. Nevertheless, we still think it’d be fun for kids to dress up their Zoom background for Friday’s classes and possibly weekend calls to family and friends. Use this Zoom tutorial for how to create a digital background using an uploaded image, like a drawing or a free-usage Unsplash image.
Or, let your kids get crafty the analog way and cut out red and pink construction paper hearts, hang streamers, and grab a heart-shaped balloon on your weekly supermarket run. Search images for “easy valentines day photo backdrop” for ideas like this heart-filled backdrop from C’mon Get Crafty. Then have them pick out their favorite red and pink clothes, and they’ll be all set for classes and call with their many sweethearts.
Host a Zoom Valentine’s Day party
Speaking of Zoom, it’s also a great platform for hosting your own Valentine’s Day party for your little Valentine and all their friends. Simply invite a group of kids to log on at the same time (we recommend using a password or screening anyone who enters the room for safety), and have fun playing a holiday-appropriate game like this family-friendly Valentine’s Day card game twist on Apples to Apples created by Play Party Plan.
Just email the download link a few days ahead of time so everyone can print out their own set of cards, set up some ground rules (what to do if two people pick the same card from their at-home deck), and let the kids have a live game night with their besties.
Watch a sappy movie, virtually, with friends
And while a fun movie night sleepover is still not in the cards, your kids and their friends can still watch a sappy movie together using Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party). Pick a Netflix movie, sign on together and Teleparty will sync the playback for your Hulu, Netflix, Disney+ (which has its own group watch party feature if your’d rather use that) or HBO movie, so that everyone is seeing the movie at the same time. They’ll get a private chatroom to talk in, but since we’re all used to scrolling phones while we watch a movie anyway, they’ll probably prefer to just text, FaceTime, or use Houseparty while they’re watching.
Check out Common Sense Media’s list of Best Romance Movies for kids, along with their age recommendations and ratings, if you need some help in figuring out a good pick for your kids.