Scrap the play dates this month and show your child how special they are with a date on the calendar just for them, circled in a big, red heart. It can be an outdoors romp, playing a silly game, making valentines or a traditional date where you dance the night away.
Kids Make and Take Valentine Bash
Hammer & Thread
6610 Lake Michigan Dr., Allendale
Feb. 8, 1-3 p.m.
$5 per child
If the thought of whipping up some valentines with your child has you on cloud nine, you'll dig the Hammer & Thread drop-in event allowing children to bring their class list and make up to 25 unique valentines with five different designs to choose from. "I plan to have a lot of different hands-on activities for them," said Kim Blum, owner of Hammer & Thread. Expect more crafty valentines and making things with candy, wood and a few stations where you can make airplanes out of Smarties candy, gum and Lifesavers. This is a fun, creative event that gets you out of the house for some quick afternoon play. Toast to some one-on-one time at the cookies-and-milk bar and go home with some handmade goodness.
Winter Family Day
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
Feb. 15, 1-4 p.m.
Adults, $12; children 5-13, $6; children 3-4, $4; children 2 & younger, free
meijergardens.org, (616) 957-1580
Stay warm with hot chocolate and stay busy with activities at The Lena Meijer Children's Garden where frosty fun brings families together. From a live ice sculpting demonstrations to creating a clever seed mosaic snow sculpture, there are tons of things to do. You may even paint a winter scene on snow with colored water or participate in winter-themed stories and seasonal songs. "There's a lot we can share with our younger guests, that appreciation for the outdoor environment, even observing the way winter looks with the trees or animal tracks," said LaStar Alicea, Lena Meijer Children's garden coordinator. Even the West Michigan Woodworkers Guild is on hand to help you explore the art of old-fashioned toy making in the old log cabin. If you need something to do, somewhere fun to go, every child enjoys a getaway to the Gardens where the cold becomes cool again.
Daddy Daughter Valentine Semi-Formal Gala
East Rockford Middle School Cafeteria and Rockford High School Cafeteria, Rockford
Feb. 7, 6:30-8 p.m.
$10 per person
rpssignmeup.com, (616) 863-6322
Take quality time out of the home and turn it into a special occasion. Get fancy and do something big. The Daddy Daughter dance in Rockford is perfect because "you're getting dressed up and celebrating being with each other," said Pattie Harmelink, community services coordinator with Rockford Community Services. The Valentine Semi-Formal Gala is geared for preschool ages through 8th grade and lets daughters and their dads (or special guest) head out for a night exclusively for them. Young girls will love little date night touches like favors, refreshments, a DJ and Douglas Photography on hand to capture the memories. "The girls should love the fact that they are hanging with their dad and girlfriends dancing and feeling special." Draw out the evening by heading to dinner and presenting her with flowers beforehand but however you celebrate the occasion, make sure the night is all about her.
Candied Land: You Become the Game Piece!
Kent District Library's Kentwood Branch
4950 Breton SE, Kentwood
Feb. 22, 2 p.m.
kdl.org, (616) 784-2007
If playtime has become a little routine, shake things up a bit. Make a date to play a giant version of your favorite childhood board game at the KDL's Kentwood Branch. The life-sized Candied Land game has kids following colored squares to walk across a gumdrop bridge and voyage through the candy cane forest while trying not to get stuck on a licorice spot. "It gives the kids the opportunity to play one of their favorite games in a way they haven't before. It's a familiar experience but a totally new adventure," said Monica Walen, youth librarian at the Wyoming Branch. Parents will love the new take on an old pastime and feel good introducing kids to all that their local library has to offer. Top the evening off with a candy store run or sip on some malts, but however you look at it, you've made some sweet special memories. The program is also offered on Feb. 1 at the Byron Township Branch and on Feb. 8 at the Caledonia Township Branch.