Best Of Chicago

Best Family Valentine’s Day Activities

February 9, 2011 1:58 PM

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Valentine's Day For Kids

(credit: Getty Images/ Davie Florida)

This Valentine’s Day, step outside of the box in your celebrations of love by including the kids! After all, romantic love isn’t the only kind of love that should be treasured and celebrated. Before heading out for an evening together while grandma and grandpa party with the kids take a piece of Valentine’s Day weekend to celebrate love with your favorite younger people. Or skip the romantic dinner for two altogether and treat the whole family to an evening of love-inspired activities and fun. Here’s a list of the best Chicago family-friendly Valentine’s Day activities by age.

Valentine's Day For Kids

(credit: Getty Images/ Davie Florida)

1) Toddlers and Preschoolers

Valentine’s Day Crafts at your local library

Simply making a Valentine’s Day card and spending some one-on-one time together communicates big love to the littlest people in your life. Most area libraries, like the Chicago Public Library, offer some sort of card-making project to help small hands craft cards that say {or illustrate} “I love you.” Worthy of noting, the mess from glitter and crafting won’t be in your kitchen.

Lambs Farm Valentine’s Day Brunch

14245 West Rockland Rd.
Libertyville, 60048

(847) 362-4636
www.lambsfarm.org/events

Parents who want a day off from cooking at home but still would like the company of their youngest Valentine’s will find the brunch at Lambs Farm just off of the tri-state tollway in Libertyville welcoming and family friendly. The buffet consists of foods even smaller bellies love, and the dessert table featuring home-made items is swoon-worthy.

At-Home Tea Party

If staying in to celebrate with your tiny family members is more your cup of tea {or coffee}, plan a simple date for the whole family. Preschoolers will love decorating the windows with Valentine’s Day themed decals and passing out heart-shaped plates for a little treat. Our family likes to dine on finger foods during snack time, so we keep it simple by making treats like heart-shaped sugar cookies and decorating with sprinkles. Serve tea or hot cocoa with your treat of choice and give everyone a chance to pass out candy hearts that feature love messages on them. Take turns reading the hearts and sharing what you love about each other. {My boys could care less about donning fancy outfits, but this might be a great time to let your little ones pick a fancy “date” outfit to wear, if that’s their thing.}

2) Grade School Kids

Sweet Saturdays at the Garfield Conservatory

300 North Central Park Ave.
Chicago, 60624
(312) 746-5100
www.garfield-conservatory.org

Don’t just give your favorite Valentines chocolates; show them where it comes from during an afternoon at the Garfield Conservatory’s Sweet Saturdays. This plant-based candy event showcases sweets like cinnamon bark, vanilla beans, bananas and chocolate trees. Aside from sampling the sweet flavors, families can visit hands-on activity stations where they can make leaf-rubbed Valentine’s Day cards and design scratch and sniff necklaces.

Valentine’s Day Dances at the Chicago Park District

Various Chicago parks
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Different parks feature different date-night activities, some specifically designed for daddy-daughter and mother-son duos while others are open to any parent-kid combination. Whether you take your little beloveds ice skating or boogie down together at the disco bash at the Indian Boundary Park and Cultural Center, you and your date will have a chance to build some lasting memories of Valentine’s Day love.
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Lifeline Theatre

6912 North Glenwood Avenue
Chicago, 60626

(773) 761-4477
www.lifelinetheatre.com/performances

A musical by the adaptor and composer of The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch serves as a welcoming introduction to theatre for the children in your life, as it’s intended for those as young as five. Rest assured that though the production is aimed at the grade-school audience with messages of friendship and acceptance, it’s also easily enjoyed by the adult crowd, too. 

3) Junior High and High School

As You Like It at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

800 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, 60611

(312) 595-5600
www.chicagoshakes.com

For families who enjoy theater and the classics, As You Like It at the Shakespeare Theatre is a wonderful choice for a Valentine’s Day weekend show. As You Like It, a giggle-inducing, quirky love story, laid the groundwork for romantic comedies. If your teens wrinkle their nose at the mention of Shakespeare though they like theater, encourage them by sharing that in-person productions of Shakespeare plays are entertaining and more easily understood than reading the text.

Valentine’s Day Brunch Cruise from Navy Pier

600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, 60611

(312) 595-PIER 

(800) 595-PIER
www.navypier.com

This Sunday morning cruise on Lake Michigan serves brunch while showcasing the Chicago skyline. Families with teens will enjoy the scenery and the fresh meal cooked aboard the ship during the voyage. The two and a half hour cruise affords plenty of talk time, and it departs from Navy Pier, so after the trip concludes the entire family can enjoy time together walking the pier.

Millenium Ice Skate

(credit: explorechicago.org)

Ice Skating and Hot Cocoa at Millennium Park

Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, 60602

(312) 742-1168
explorechicago.org/city

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

53 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, 60601
(312) 920-9332

A family skate date in the middle of the city sets the stage for a great Valentine’s Day weekend escapade if your crew is active and adventurous. And it’s reasonable, too, as skating is free, and skate rental is $10 per person. Once the outside fun is finished and everyone needs to warm up, head just few blocks over to Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea and order a mocha or hot cocoa made of Ghanaian cocoa. Enjoy your hot drink with whipped cream and with good conversation with your favorite people.

Hyacynth Worth writes about raising boys, healthy parenting, faith and everything else included in arena of motherhood at Undercover Mother.

Check out more: Valentine’s Day In Chicago

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