Children adore the ‘high days and holidays’ that brighten up the calendar, such as Christmas, Easter, Eid, Diwali, Mother’s Day and – when February comes around – Valentine’s Day! Celebrate these special occasions and build up the excitement by involving everyone in themed activities – this is a marvelous way to give your children a ‘bank’ of memories they will always treasure.

Here are five fun activities to enjoy together in February – they’re easy and don’t take much time, so set aside a few afternoons during the Month of Love to spend quality time together as a family.

1. WATERMELON LOLLIPOP HEARTS

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What could be more refreshing on a hot February day than sweet, ice-cold watermelon? Here’s how to make watermelon lollies:

  • Place a whole small watermelon in the fridge and chill it overnight.
  • Using a big knife, cut the watermelon crossways, right through the peel, into large circular slices each about 2 cm thick.
  • Let the kids stamp out the shapes using heart-shaped cookie cutters.
  • Push a wooden popsicle stick or skewer into the pointy end of the hearts, and serve on a bed of ice.
  • TIPS: Save the left-over pieces of watermelon for a fruit salad. If you can’t find popsicle sticks, serve the watermelon shapes on a big platter with sprigs of fresh mint.


2. HOME-MADE YOGHURT POPSICLES

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Pale-pink frozen yoghurt popsicles with biscuit crumbs are easy to make at home, and the kids will enjoy whizzing up the fruit and yoghurt, then filling the moulds.

  • Place a few handfuls of chilled strawberries or raspberries (or both) in a blender. If the berries aren’t very sweet, you can add a teaspoon or two of honey.
  • Add an equal quantity of NutriDay Double Cream Yoghurt. Now press the ‘pulse’ button a few times to blend the mixture to a fairly smooth consistency. If you like, you can stir in another handful of coarsely chopped berries after you’ve blended the mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into lolly moulds. If you don’t have these, use small paper cups, or rinsed-out NutriDay containers from a six pack.
  • Place in the freezer and leave them for about an hour, or until they are just beginning to firm up. Now push a wooden popsicle stick (or the bowl end of a teaspoon) into the middle of each lolly.
  • Press a layer of crushed biscuit crumbs on top of each lolly – shortbread biscuits are ideal!
  • Freeze until solid, then serve.
  • TIP: To de-mould the lollies, take them out of the freezer 10 minutes ahead of serving time, then ease them out of their moulds by gently pulling on the sticks.
  • For more great ideas about making yoghurt lollies, read our article Lovely Lollies.


3. HANDPRINT HEART POSTER

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Everyone in the family can contribute to making this colourful poster – simply by lending a hand! When the paint has dried, stick the poster on a wall where everyone can appreciate it, or have it professionally framed for a long-lasting memento. Here’s how:

  • You’ll need: acrylic or poster paints in bright colours, a big sheet of good-quality white paper or cardboard, a pencil, a paintbrush and plenty of newspaper.
  • Using the pencil, lightly draw a large heart shape on your sheet of white paper. Set aside.
  • Now cover a table or your kitchen counter with at least six layers of newspaper. Squeeze out big blobs of different coloured paints, spaced well apart, on the newspaper. Add a few drops of water to each blob, then use your paintbrush to mix each one to a hand-sized ‘puddle’ of fairly thick paint.
  • Ask each person in the family to rub a hand over a colour, in a circular motion, and then to make a firm handprint on your white paper, keeping within the lines of the heart shape you drew. You might need to guide the children so they make their prints in the right place!
  • Ask the kids to wash and dry their hands before they make a handprint in a new colour.
  • If you have a dog or cat in the house, you can add their paw prints to the poster!
  • Set the poster in the sun until completely dry.
  • TIP: Buy several sheets of white poster paper – this way, you’ll have ‘spares’ if the first print-job isn’t perfect.


4. PAPER HEARTS GARLAND

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Make a pretty Valentine’s garland using string, pegs and paper hearts. You can hang this above your dinner table (see below), or use it to decorate a wall in the kitchen, or in your child’s room.

  • You’ll need: string, clothes pegs, a pencil, scissors, a small piece of cardboard, and red paper.
  • Draw a heart shape on a piece of cardboard, to make a template. You can download and print a heart-shaped template here.
  • Cut out your template. Place it on several layers of red paper, drawn around it with a pencil, then cut out the heart shapes with the kids.
  • When you’ve cut out all the shapes, peg them to a length of string, as shown in the picture.
  • TIP: Ask the kids to write a Valentine’s Day greeting to their friends or family members on each heart, using a gold or silver felt-tipped pen.


5. DESIGN A VALENTINE’S DAY TABLE

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Get together and design a beautiful table setting for your feast! It’s easy to create a themed Valentine’s Day look using a red (or pink) colour scheme plus pretty flowers, ribbons, streamers, candles, sweeties and paper hearts. Ask everyone in the family to contribute ideas!

  • If you’re planning a brunch or an elegant dinner, click here to read our ideas for decorating the table, plus menu suggestions.
  • For more information about creating a simple yet stunning table setting for a festive occasion, click here.

If you and your family try any of these activities, please take a snap and share it with us on Facebook! Or leave a comment below.