When it's cold and miserable outside, we all need a little inspiration and motivation to get up and get moving. Valentine's Day isn't just for adults, it's a fantastic excuse to enjoy some games together and expend some energy.
Spread the love in your family with these Valentine's inspired games for inside and outdoors (weather-permitting).
1. Heart Hopscotch Use pink chalk to mark out hearts on the patio, or cut heart shapes from paper or fabric to scatter across the lawn. The hearts need to be approximately six inches across, and scattered like stepping stones. Just like hopscotch, throw a small stone to block out a heart, then hop, skip and jump across the remaining hearts to the end of the course, and back again, retrieving the stone as you go. This game is great for gross motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and bilateral co-ordination.
2. Get Their Hearts Pounding Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to talk about the role our heart plays in our body. Get everyone moving with a running race or some skipping for just a few minutes, then ask them all to place a hand over their heart and notice how hard and fast their heart is pumping. Explain how hard that muscle is working to pump blood, and therefore oxygen, around their body. Then ask the children to sit for a minute and notice how their heart slows down again.
3. Cupid's Arrow Make an arrow by adding a pointy cone to an empty kitchen paper tube, and attaching some tissue paper streamers to the back. Then make a large heart target, with a smaller heart cut out of the centre, and attach it to the climbing frame or swing frame. The aim of the game is to launch the arrow through the heart.
4. You Won My Heart This game works their mind and muscles all at the same time. You'll need a small beanbag, ball or even teddy, ideally something that looks like a heart. Group all the players into a circle. The first person throws the beanbag to someone and tells them why they've won their heart. For example: "You won my heart when you fed the cat yesterday" or "you won my heart when you were kind to your brother earlier". There's no defined end to this game, just try to make sure everyone gets a turn and hears something to make them feel good about themselves.
5. Heart Stamping Not a game, but a fun love-inspired craft activity. If you take an empty toilet roll, or kitchen paper tube, and pinch it so that the bottom of the circle pushes out, and the top of the circle bends in, you will create a heart-shape to use as a stamp. For outdoor play, mix up some washable sidewalk chalk and stamp hearts all over the fence, patio or brickwork.
6. Love Struck For this game you will need some chalk, and at least one foam-dart firing gun. Use the chalk to mark out on a wall or fence, a large heart, with smaller hearts inside. Mark each heart with a points value, then take turns to shoot at them.
By now you should have enough inspiration to make up your own games, which can be called Valentine's themed so long as they involve a heart in some shape or form.