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This February Bucket List is filled with possibilities to shower your friends and family with love.
Pick a few ideas to try; see what kind of activities bring the kind of joy and connection that make them worthy of becoming February family traditions.
February is also Black History Month and features fun events like Groundhog Day and the Superbowl.
Read on for ideas to make this heartwarming month an enjoyable one for your family.
February Bucket List – Celebrate the Month of Love
The lead-up to Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to think about all things love. Use this month to craft your family’s traditions around love and connection.
Design your family’s signature kiss.
Perhaps you gently cradle your child’s face, one hand on each cheek, and plant a kiss on their forehead. Maybe you give little pecks on the cheek, always in a set of three.
Find a style of affection all your own to show your love all year round (Credit: Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman)
Create a silent means of family communication.
“Thumbs up, hands out to the sides, quiet clapping, the peace sign, or a gentle tug on an earlobe – invent a silent symbol of your family’s camaraderie.” (From Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman)
Your family’s own secret symbol of affection is a great way to convey love to your child as they’re standing up on the stage at the school concert, across the court at a basketball game, or in any other public setting.
Start an “I love you” hand-squeeze tradition.
Similar to the silent means of family communication, squeezing your child’s hand three times to symbolize the words “I love you” can provide a powerful means of connection in any setting.
A touching story about this appears in The Book of New Family Traditions, Meg Cox writes,
“I once interviewed a woman whose family had a simple ritual form here childhood of squeezing one another’s hands three times, to signal the three words I love you.
On the day she got married and her father walked her down the aisle in church, he squeezed her hand three times.
Only she knew that this was happening, a tiny personal ritual lodged invisibly within one of the grandest and most public, and she says it was one of the most moving moments of her life.”
Take a selfie with an “I love you” sign, print it, and slip it somewhere for your child to find.
You could also fill in the sign with the name of your child (e.g. “I love Ava”) and take a new picture each year.
You could even add a reason why (e.g. “I love Ava’s generosity”), building your child a collection of photos and affirmations to treasure.
Leave surprise notes for your child to find.
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day jokes, affirmations, or fun little Valentine’s messages like “Be mine,” delight your kiddo with surprise notes.
Some of the best places to hide them include dresser drawers, backpacks, and under pillows. (Credit: Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman)
Put affirmation hearts on your child’s bedroom door every day leading up to Valentine’s Day.
This is an easy way to express your love to your kiddo.
Cut out 14 paper hearts. On each one, write a love message to your child – a way you love spending time together, a personality trait of theirs you admire, a favorite memory together.
Each day or evening of February leading up to Valentine’s Day, put up one of the hearts when they’re at school or asleep.
Your kiddo will love finding the new heart each day!
This blogger’s post on the idea includes a free printable heart template.
Take requests for the time you spend together.
Designate a basket where your kiddo can formally make requests.
Note we’re not talking material items here, but instead specific ways of spending time together – kicking around a soccer ball, giving you a tour of their world in Minecraft, learning a new song, etc.
Then, when you want to spend a little bit of one-on-one with your child, you can take pleasure in doing something you know is meaningful to them. (Credit: Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman)
Make a Valentine’s seasons tree.
First, go on a walk! Find a small branch, one that can be propped in the corner of a room or placed in a large vase.
Then make some ornaments. You could use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make a batch of salt dough or baking soda ornaments (I’ve made the salt dough recipe and it works great, but note it makes a huge batch of ornaments; you might want to consider making a half or even quarter recipe).
Or simply use pink, purple, and red construction paper to cut out hearts. Punch a hole in the top of each one and use some twine to hang them on your tree.
If your branch is sturdy enough, you might also consider looping a string of white fairy lights around it, an especially cheery touch since February days are short on daylight.
(Credit: The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox)
Watch a family-friendly love story.
Grab the popcorn and enjoy a loved-themed movie night. Here’s a list of suggested titles from Common Sense Media. You might also consider Disney classics like Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid.
Enjoy a family craft night.
Gather around the table and create homemade Valentine’s cards for family, friends, or your child’s classmates. Dollar stores are often a good place to pick up inexpensive craft supplies.
Hang up a Valentine’s garland.
One of the most fun ways to mark different times of year is with simple decorations. For the month of February, make your own heart garland (here’s one that requires only thick paper, ribbon, a scissors, and a stapler) or buy one you can reuse each year.
Make paper snowflakes with a heart design.
Paper snowflakes are fun during this chilly month, and you can make them loved-themed by cutting patterns of various size hearts.
Tape them up in your windows for a lovely, easy decoration.
Add conversation cards to the dinner table.
Any parent knows that the question “How was school today?” rarely gives much insight into your kid’s life. Liven up your dinner conversations and spark connection with a set of conversation starter cards.
You might also consider another set to deepen your connection with your partner.
Read themed picture books.
Make a heart in nature with twigs, pinecones, rocks, etc.
Go outside and use twigs, pinecones, rocks, or other foraged nature bits to make a giant heart. Consider bringing along a bag of cranberries to add color that will become great winter nourishment for animals.
Take photos of your kiddo with your creation, then leave it for passersby to also enjoy. (Credit: The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox)
Create a Valentine’s countdown using a daily medicine container.
I’ve written before about how much fun you can have repurposing a pill container to make an anytime Advent calendar.
Consider a simple one for the 7 days leading up to Valentine’s Day: fill it with jokes, things you love about your child, or hand-picked conversation hearts.
Play games with conversation hearts.
Lots of laughs guaranteed with these Valentine’s Day-themed Minute-to-Win-It games.
February Bucket List – Create Valentine’s Day Magic
Valentine’s Day is often associated with romantic love, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the love within families.
And you don’t have to be part of the commercialism! Here are ways to celebrate that don’t involve buying your child another toy they probably don’t need (especially since Valentine’s Day falls so soon after Christmas!).
Leave a trail of chocolate hugs and kisses.
Make the trail lead from their bedroom to the breakfast table and a Valentine’s Day card from you. (Credit: Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman)
Serve heart-shaped food.
Whether it’s pancakes, a cake, sandwiches, or cookies, heart-shaped food creates a little edible magic.
If you’re pressed for time or energy, here’s a great idea for breakfast that couldn’t get much simpler:
- Make a piece of toast.
- Spread strawberry jelly on it. (I picked strawberry jelly because it’s red, but obviously any flavor works.)
- Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the middle.
- Serve both the heart and the “frame” on a white plate.
That’s it! Simple, kid-friendly, fun.
Use a tablecloth and serve dinner by candlelight.
Even if you’re just having a normal meal of spaghetti or tacos, you can still create Valentine’s Day vibes by using a red or pink tablecloth and adding some candles to the table.
Give your child a valentine from their favorite toy.
If your kiddo has a stuffie that’s treated with as much love as any member of the family, have that special toy give your child a valentine.
I can’t wait to see the look on my toddler’s face when he gets a little valentine from his beloved stuffed kitty. (Credit: The Joy of Family Traditions by Jennifer Trainer Thompson)
February Bucket List – Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Whether it’s taking advantage of the sunny days to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or a winter or romping in some fresh snow, there are many fun and easy ways to enjoy the winter months.
➡️ Check out The Ultimate Winter Bucket List for lots more outdoor fun ideas.
February Bucket List – Celebrate Black History Month
Learn how Black History Month came to be.
Look for local events to attend with your kids.
Learn about the contributions of Black Americans.
Pick up a copy of this book about Black Americans who shaped history and read a profile aloud each day — perhaps a breakfast or dinner time ritual?
Another list of prominent Black Americans can be found here.
Read picture books that celebrate Black joy.
In the words of author and professor Katheryn Russell-Brown, “There should be twice as many books featuring Black children having routine childhood experiences as there are children’s books about slavery, segregation, and overcoming discrimination.”
Read are some suggested titles from The Brown Bookshelf.
Commit to raising antiracist children.
How to Raise an Antiracist and Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America are two great resources.
February Bucket List – Celebrate Other February Happenings
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
From playing with shadows to taking your kids for a night walk, this Tinkergarten article provides some great ideas of traditions you might start.
In the evening, snuggle up with your partner to watch Bill Murray at his finest in the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
Feb 4 – National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
Get out the art supplies and have everyone in the family contribute to a thank you card for your mail carrier. Accompany it with some treats or a small coffee gift card (mail carriers aren’t allowed to accept gifts valued at more than $20).
Feb 11 – Super Bowl Sunday
Make a party of it even if your team’s not playing!
Start with a spread of delicious snacks.
Then add some friendly competition! Divide your viewing space in half and assign each viewer a team to root for. Wear apparel in your assigned team’s colors and decorate with matching crepe paper or balloons. Root for your assigned team with the fervor of a true fan.
Feb 19 – Presidents Day
Presidents Day is the third Monday of the month and celebrates George Washington’s birthday (although it is often seen as celebrating all presidents).
If you have school-aged kids, this book of presidential trivia is part of a fun series my kids love.
Feb 21 – Mardi Gras
Use canned cinnamon rolls to make an easy king cake. Grab cheap bead necklaces from the dollar store and wear them at dinner. A compilation of Mardi Gras celebration ideas can be found on Kids Activities Blog.
I’d love to hear if your family has any special traditions for February — share them in the comments below!