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Originally published on Today’s Parent

We came up with some great Valentine’s Day-themed activities for our pals at Today’s Parent

For kids, Valentine’s Day usually means decorating a mailbox and handing out cards to classmates. If they’re lucky, there’s some sort of party involved. And, since heart-shaped candies and pun-laden valentines can only amuse them for so long, any decent Valentine’s Day get-together needs a couple solid games and activities. We suggest a Valentine-y spin on a classic classroom/party game and one of our favourite things: sneaky, public art.

First up: Cupid’s Arrow
Ages: 5 and up
Materials: Nothing. Just kids. This is a great group game, so it works best with at least six participants but can be played with as many as 30. (If you happen to be planning something for more than 30 kids — bless you! — you can just double up on the Cupids).

How to play: Basically, this game is Murder Wink. Choose one kid to act as a detective and have them leave the room. If “detective” isn’t sufficiently festive, you can name the detective Mars or Venus (Cupid’s parents). Once your detective/parent is out of earshot, choose a Cupid. Since shooting arrows would be obvious, not to mention dangerous, stick to winking or blinking. Cupid is to wink/blink at the other kids, causing them to faint with love. Bring the detective/Venus/Mars back into the room and have Cupid do his/her thing. The game is over when the detective discovers who Cupid is. Then, pick a new detective and play another round! Play until all the kids have either had a chance to play Cupid, detective, or fainted dramatically.

Next: Secret Heart
Ages: 4 and up
Materials: Rocks, paint, paintbrushes.

How to play: Like we said in the intro, there are few things we enjoy more than sneaky art that just might brighten someone’s day. Unlike Cupid’s Arrow, Secret Heart can be done with one kid or many. You’re going to need to gather some rocks; either have kids collect rocks from a park or garden as part of the activity, or present the kids with rocks as you’re explaining the activity.

Once each kid has a rock or two, let them loose with the paints! Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we suggest first covering the rock in some awesome colour and then painting on some hearts. Or, if you’re dealing with young artists, just tell them to paint something sweet and festive, like the love bugs pictured. Once the paint has dried, have kids place their rock somewhere sneaky where friends and family would just happen upon it: in the garden, in the park, in the grocery store, on a porch. The idea behind this activity is for the kids to create a little something that will bring a smile to all who see it.

Photo by Avia Venefica via Flickr

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