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valentine's day

4 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day With the Whole Family

While it’s important for parents to take time for themselves—date nights are a must no matter how infrequently they can find the time—it’s fun to celebrate holidays with the whole family. Even the smaller ones, like Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day, offer families the chance to celebrate by doing something special together.

The best part? Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, so you can spend time with those you love all day long. Read on for four ways your whole family can get in the spirit.

1. Start With a Festive Breakfast

There are tons of creative ways to dress up a simple Sunday breakfast and make it Cupid-approved. If you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can make festive pancakes by placing the cookie cutter directly on your griddle and pouring batter into it (just be sure it’s a metal cookie cutter). Once the pancakes are done, top everyone’s plate with strawberries and whipped cream—smiley faces encouraged—and you’ll be sure to please even the pickiest palate at the table.

You can also get creative when it comes to serving fruit. Cut melon into Xs, Os and tiny hearts to show your family how much you care. And don’t forget to wash down the meal with a glass of strawberry milk or pink grapefruit juice for that added special touch.

2. Spread the Love

Since Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love, it provides a great opportunity to show your family the importance of giving back. Call a local homeless shelter or nursing home and ask what kinds of donations they accept. Once you know what’s allowed, your family can either make or purchase cookies, brownies or other Valentine’s goodies to deliver.

If your kids are animal lovers, you can also donate pet food and other treats to your local animal shelter. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you do as long you do it together.

3. Get Your Blood Pumping

Just because Valentine’s Day is in the middle of February doesn’t mean your family has to hole up in the house all day. Throw on a few layers and hit up a local ice rink, or toss the sleds in the trunk and head to your favorite hill.

If you live in a warmer climate, pack a picnic and take the family on a leisurely hike. At the end of the day, the kids aren’t going to remember how much chocolate you bought them, but they will remember the outings you went on together.

4. Have a Movie Marathon

If you’re not up for an afternoon of sledding, don’t feel guilty about staying in. Host a cozy movie marathon instead, and watch relevant classics that the whole family can enjoy.

Parenting has some great suggestions, including “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” and “The Princess Bride.” Don’t forget to throw on your favorite pair of patterned socks and make heart-shaped cookies at intermission.

Adding a few special touches to your holiday might take some planning, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of work. Find something you know the entire family will enjoy, and be sure to snap a photo or two of everyone in action so you can start an ongoing collage on St. Patrick’s Day—while baking Irish soda bread together, of course!

valentine's day cookies

child wearing giant pandas hat

Why Giant Pandas Need Your Help

Giant pandas, or panda bears, live in China. They have black spots around their eyes. They also have black ears and white chests with black legs.

Panda bears live in forests, but they do not stay in one place for very long. Bamboo shoots do not have a lot of energy so pandas have to find and eat up to 30 pounds of it a day. They can climb trees to reach their food.

Panda bears have big paws. Each paw has five fingers and a thumb. The thumb helps them hold on to bamboo while they eat it.

There are few panda bears left in the wild because farmers have taken over the forests. Hunters are also a danger, but there are groups that are trying to save the panda bear.

You can learn more about saving panda bears from the WWF.

Comprehension Questions

1) How many fingers and thumbs do panda bears have? What do they use them for?

2) Why do panda bears have to eat a lot of bamboo?

3) Why are wild panda bears in danger?

Bonus Video: Check out Tian Tian making a snow angel below!