Are you looking to make Valentine’s Day fun AND meaningful for your kids? Try this DIY Valentine’s Day countdown for all the fun AND Acts of Kindness to make memories and build character! Free printables included! Read on to check it out!
DIY Valentine’s Day Countdown + Acts of Kindness Free Printable
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Valentine’s Day Countdown for Kids: More than “Another Thing to Do”
I wasn’t really planning on doing a Countdown to Valentine’s Day. I mean, Christmas is over, January is supposed to be some kind of lull, right? Did I really want to plan another project or event for my kids for Valentine’s Day?
Until my son asked.
“How many more days until Valentine’s Day?”
My son has been enamored with this holiday as soon as Christmas ended, for whatever reason. He’s 4, and his add-on to just about everything is, ‘Because Valentine’s Day is about love!’ Now, sometimes that follows something he wants from me or his brother, so I do sense a little manipulation there, but I think he’s mostly genuine in his excitement.
We really had a good time doing an Advent Calendar this year – no chocolate- just a little Bible reading ornament we hung out our advent tree and moving the calendar on the countdown. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this was next on his agenda.
A Meaningful Holiday: More than Just Chocolate
In our world where everything is marketed and commercialized, it’s hard to find a way to celebrate holidays where it will teach them to go beyond just what they’re getting out of it – you know, more candy, more toys – all about them.
So, if I was going to do a countdown, I really felt like we needed to do something else with it – besides tick off days and eat chocolate. And that’s when I decided to do Acts of Kindness. Because love is really about others, right? About giving? Yes, I think so, too.
So, here’s what I came up with for me and my twin 4-year-old boys.
Countdown to Valentine’s Day, Part 1: The Set-Up
There are really 2 parts to this project. First, there’s the set-up of the countdown. Then there’s the Daily Acts of Kindness. Thankfully, it’s just 14 days, so it’s a little more succinct than Christmas.
To do the countdown, you can set it up any way you want to.A lot of these ideas for DIY Christmas Advent calendars cross over very nicely, and you can set them up with just a few tweaks to work for Valentine’s Day.
To set this up, you’ll need the outsides: 14 bags, sacks containers – whatever you want to use.
Then, you’ll need the insides: the Acts of Kindness papers (included in this post, and more on that later). If you want, you can include a Hershey’s Kiss, a piece of candy, whatever else.
Finally, you’ll need a place to display them.
For the outsides, I found these little burlap heart sacks at Dollar Tree – 3 for $1, and they are perfect. I’ll say, though, I went to about 5 different Dollar Trees, and only 1 still had them. So, they might be tough to locate.
You can get these same burlap treat sacks from Ebay for just a dollar more – $3.99 for 3, instead of $3, with free shipping!
You can also get some really adorable burlap treat bags from Amazon as well.
However, you can get something similar at Hobby Lobby or Walmart or Amazon. You can use any kind of sack, container, you want. Dollar Tree sells cellophane treat bags and those would work, too. There are lots of little Valentine’s Day containers out there.
For the display, I have a board with strung twine and clothespins that I got from Hobby Lobby that I use for a bulletin board. For now, I took off all my papers and hung the burlap sacks.
A clothesline idea is super simple with just twine or jute string and clothespins – and you can hang it anywhere: a mantel, across a doorway, over a window. That’s pretty low maintenance. You can look at these DIY Christmas Advent calendars for inspiration – many of these displays can easily cross over to Valentine’s Day!
Countdown to Valentine’s Day, Part 2: Daily Acts of Kindness
Free Printables, 20 to Choose From + Blanks
I’ve included a free printable with Acts of Kindness activities you can do. There are 2 versions – one with Day numbers you can fill in and one without. I didn’t number any of the days because I wanted you to have flexibility.
Some activities require a little prep, so you may want to rearrange the order to fit your schedule. Or, you may want to omit some activities. I included 20 activities to choose from; hopefully, you’ll find 14 that work for you and your family. The last thing I want to do is make life more stressful for moms!
I also included some blanks in there as well, so you can include some (or all) of your own activities. Sometimes, activities are good for one age group but not another, so you can cater it to your crew.
If you have a certain order you want to do them in, depending on your schedule, you can number the days. You can also choose to put numbers on the little sacks with a stamp or even just handwrite with a Sharpie. Or, you can just arrange them in order, and pull a paper out in consecutive order.
Once you decide on the order for your events, it might be helpful to write them down and make a list – just so you know what’s come and can have things prepared, if that’s needed.
If the order is of no relevance to you, you don’t even need to include numbers if you don’t want to. Just have your child pluck a different one each day until Valentine’s Day.
Here are the 20 Acts of Kindness you can choose from. Feel free to adapt to your child’s or children’s age!
1. Bake cookies for police or fire department.
2. Leave a note and cookies in mailbox for mailman.
3. Collect toys to donate to Goodwill or a shelter.
4. Write a thank-you note to your teacher.
5. Help a sibling with his or her chores.
6. Draw a picture for your grandparents or neighbor.
7. Send a card to a service member overseas (Here’s a place you can mail them!).
8. Tape change to a vending machine with a note.
9. Let someone else go ahead of you.
10. Say something nice to someone.
11. Hold the door open for someone.
12. Give a High-5 and say, ‘You’re awesome!’ to everyone
13. Paint colorful rocks and leave around town (This is a super-cute way to paint them for Valentine’s Day – perfect for littler ones!).
14. Give a thank-you note to your bus driver.
15. Make Valentine’s Day cards for a nursing home.
16. Bring old towels to an animal shelter.
17. Write encouraging chalk messages on the sidewalk.
18. Bring canned food to a local food pantry.
19. Smile at everyone you see.
20. Make care packages for children in foster care. (This is a great resource for ideas!)
To get the free printable as seen above – you’ll get all 20 ideas, with days or without days, plus blanks! J Just fill out the box below!
Overall Goals of Valentine’s Day Countdown
Holidays are such fun times with kids and definitely are special memory-makers. But I think it’s important to teach them about thinking of others, even with small actions that seem insignificant. As I said, the last thing I want to do is add more burdens for moms and create ‘another thing to do.’ Our lives are stressful enough. However…
To really teach our kids some character-building lessons, it takes some effort from us. These things won’t always be easy or convenient. But we’re creating an environment for them to learn about kindness to others and how to grow into respectable adults.
So while – I won’t lie – it IS more work for us, it’s work that’s worth it. And I know it will be something they’ll remember as adults.
They’ll remember how you took the time to make great memories for them while at the same time, teaching them to care about others – developing kindness, empathy, and generosity.
Those ARE the worthwhile goals of motherhood. And if you’re a Christian mom, you know how important it is to teach them Christ-like character. But hopefully, you both will make some memories while doing good in the process. It’s worth it, mama. You’re doing a great job!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to fill out the box below to get your free printables!
More Valentine’s Day Inspiration:
If you’re looking for more ideas, take a look below! Click the image to be directed to the post!
Thoughts, I’d love to hear them! Or, if you give this a try, I’d love to hear how it went! Either way, leave a comment below!