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Valentine’s Day Activities for Fathers and Daughters

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African father and daughter eating pasta
Blend Images - JGI/Jamie Grill/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
A simple red rose in a vase. A special breakfast. A silly little homemade card. Little girls love Valentine's Day and are always appreciative when their father remembers just how special Valentine's Day can be for them.

Lots of fathers have a romantic heart, and love making Valentine's Day special for their wives or significant others. But the rewards, while different, are just as great when a dad focuses on his daughter on Valentine's Day. I guess it is part "Daddy's Little Girl" and part "Guys Are Supposed to Spoil Us on Valentine's Day," but whatever it is, little girls love some Valentine's Day attention from their dad.

Over the years, my daughters have loved just the simple things I have done to remind them that they are special on Valentine's Day. So, based on my own experience and that of other dads, here are my top ten ideas for things dads can do to make Valentine's Day special for their daughters.

Homemade Cards Communicate Care. I have not always made the Valentine's Day cards for my daughters and granddaughters, but when I take the time, I always get raved reviews. At least my girls seem to like best the old-fashioned Valentines with lacy hearts, red construction paper and maybe a picture of us inside. Some great Valentine's Day card patterns and ideas are available online.

Give Her a Heart Attack. One of my favorite Valentine's Day activities is called a heart attack. To create this heart attack, you will cut out lots of red construction paper hearts and glue them onto wooden skewers. Then, in the dark of night, stick them in the front yard where your daughter will seen them in the morning. You can even put her name on the hearts or write little things you love about her on them.

Do Some Fun Crafts Together. Even if you don't consider yourself a crafty dad, you can still sit down with your little girl and make something fun together. These craft ideas don't cost a lot and they are relatively easy to do.

Decorate Her Locker. If your daughter is at a school where she has a hall locker, drop in during the school day and decorate the outside of her locker. You can wrap it in Valentine's Day gift wrap, you can tape hearts all over it, or you can buy some helium Valentine's Day balloons and tie them to the locker handle. She will be excited to see the bright colors and all her friends will know she has an awesome dad!

A Box of Memories. One fun gift I gave my daughter one Valentine's Day was a little heart shaped tin with about 35 different notes in it about memories we had together. Vacations, going to a ball game, trick or treating, a daddy-daughter date, and more. I just wrote down on note cards the event and my recollection of the fun we had. It will remind her of fun times and will let her know that you remember them too.

Take Her On a Date. Make a little date invitation and then dress up and go out together on or near Valentine's Day. Take her out to dinner and then to a movie or a play. Or be more casual and head off for pizza and a bowling alley. The activity is not as important as the time you spend together.

Make a Treat Together. If you enjoy cooking (or even if you don't), one great idea is to make something together in the kitchen. It can be a main dish for the family to enjoy, a favorite treat or heart-shaped pancakes. Here are some of my favorite Valentine's Day recipes that dads and daughters can make together with minimal time, mess and cost.

Hide Some Hearts. One favorite tradition of a dad I know is to cut out some red, white and pink construction paper hearts and write on them things he loves about his daughter. Then he hides them around the house the evening before Valentine's Day in places where she will likely find them. For example, he has been known to hide them in the bathroom cabinet, on the shower wall, in her shoes, in her school backpack, in the cupboard where breakfast cereal is, and on the bathroom mirror. When she finds each one, she is excited and then usually checks around the house after school to see if she missed any. This has given my friend and his daughter many happy Valentine's Day memories.

Host a Party. Girls usually really love to socialize with their girlfriends, so hosting a Valentine's Day party for them is a lot of fun. Have some good treats and maybe a chick flick of some kind. They can also do some crafts, or "heart attack" a friend who couldn't come to the party. A few activities your daughter enjoys over a couple of hours will be a great Valentine's Day gift.

Be Her Secret Valentine. In advance of Valentine's Day, do some little gifts of service for your daughter like making her bed, cleaning up her room, hanging up her laundry, or doing some other chore for her. Then leave a little card with hearts on it on her pillow telling her that her Secret Valentine did the thing for her and that she is loved.

Whatever you do, take the opportunity for Valentine's Day to let your daughter know that you think she is extra special and that you love her. The memories of Valentine's Days spent in this way will live with her all of her life.

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