By Cathleen Karlsson
When you’re a kid, Valentine’s Day usually means: “class party” — an opportunity to deck the classroom walls and desks with an abundance of pink and red heart-shaped cut-outs and frills, amid an assortment of holiday cookies and candies and cupcakes. But when you’re a Military Kid, it can also mean spending time away from someone you love while they’re on deployment.
So how do you share the love with a parent, grandparent, or other family member across the miles? Well, for kids… it’s easier than you may think to pull together a loving sentiment and send it off. All you have to do is look at them, and you’ll know exactly what their loved one would want most from them —a connection.
Here’s a little inspiration to get you started — 7 ways to help your Military Kids show their love from afar — and all of them are totally personal and meaningful.
- Mail a Hug
There’s nothing quite like your child’s warm, loving hug. But how can they give one to someone who is too far away to receive it in person? Try this idea: Trace your kids’ hands on felt, cut out the shape and attach to ribbon or string that matches the length of their arms. Then mail it off. Ta-da! Instant hug from afar. Need the full how-to or to get inspired on what can accompany this cute craft? Get instructions here.
- Write a Love Letter
Kids really do say some of the most meaningful things. They speak from their hearts without censorship. Why not capture their sentiments in a letter to a parent or family member who is far away? It doesn’t matter if your child is too young to write, have them color in the stationery page. Then, let them dictate their message to you as you write it out for them. Or, let them show off their own penmanship and spelling skills by writing it themselves. Need some cute Valentine’s Day letterhead? Get templates here.
- Sing a Song
One way kindergarten kids tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with a school choral program where their parents come listen to cute, love-filled songs in honor of the holiday. But when a parent isn’t there, they miss out on hearing this kind of sentiment. Never fear! You can help your kids learn the songs at home and sing them into a recording device that can be sent to someone who is far away — whether it’s a parent or grandparent or anyone else who matters to them. For a start, check out this classic kids’ showtune: Skinnamarink.
- Spread Love from Head to Toe
Kids grow up so fast! Handprints and footprints are a great way to document the different stages of their lives. And, to someone who is far away, it’s also way to help track your kids’ progress and reset expectations for how big they’ll be next time they get to see them. And, for Valentine’s Day, two feet put together just happen to mimic a heart shape that you can use to decorate a card or other lovable project. Get ideas for this DIY here.
- Create a Keepsake Keychain
All kids are artists, right? Well… some of the drawings your kids come up with can be spectacularly… interesting. Now you can capture them as a permanent keepsake by having them translated from paper to metal. Imagine a picture of your house drawn by your child, transferred into a lasting gift that be carried wherever you go? Ormaybe a loving saying, or image of a favorite pet? The options are almost endless. See what Formia Design’s shop can do to help your child share the love.
- Blow Kisses
When you can’t be there to snuggle up with the one you love, the next best thing just may be to blow a kiss in their direction. This cute creation is another opportunity to trace your child’s hand and let them write out a special message to the parent they are missing. Take a photo of them wearing a holiday-worthy outfit, cut it out and paste it to a card, then apply a cut-out hand to send a loving message that will bridge the miles. Get the complete how-to.
- Pick a Lasting Bouquet
Love the beauty of flowers, but wish they lasted longer than a few days? These will! And your kids will love making up a bunch of little pompoms in all sorts of sweet candy colors. Glue them to a stem, wrap the bundle in ribbon, and you’ll have a perfect posy that can be sent off for safe keeping with someone who’s off in faraway places. Get the instructions here, then get crafty!
Cathleen Karlsson is the daughter of a retired Navy Captain. Growing up, she lived with her family in a handful of Midwestern and East Coast states before earning her B.A. in fiction at the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked as a copywriter in several advertising and online media roles, including her current role as the Managing Editor for SpouseLink, created by AAFMAA. Outside the office, Cathleen volunteers with a homeless animal shelter and serves as the marketing manager and a board member for a local ballet company. She enjoys being creative and spending time with her daughter through dance, sewing and crafts, and home decor activities.