Dinner Conversation Hearts – Family Meal Activity

conversation hearts dinner time activity for familiesDinner isn’t always peaceful at our house. With a 2 year old who pops out of her chair and a negotiating 6 year old who’s food taste changes more often than his socks it sometimes feels like it’s kids vs. parents. That’s not how I want to spend my evening and I don’t like to view my kids as the opposing team either . To change the focus from getting  of  her chair and getting out of eating whatever is on his plate we often play games. This Valentine’s day themed dinner table conversation starter does double duty as decor as well!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam hearts in various colors ( dollar store!), a red marker, pen, ribbon and clothes pins.conversation hearts at dinner activity for families
  2. Start by writing the classic conversation hearts sayings all in uppercase letters on your hearts.dinner conversation hearts
  3. Next write out interesting and conversation provoking questions on the opposite side.  No yes or no questions!dinner conversation hearts questions
  4. Hang your ribbon close to your dinner table. You could make a garland, wreath or even pop them in a bowl too. Get your kids interested in this before dinner.dinner conversation hearts activity for families
  5. At dinner have a child choose a heart and read both sides. dinner conversation hearts activityWe went around in a circle giving our answers and letting others comment and ask questions about each answer.conversation hearts dinner talks
  6. My daughter wanted to read too – we aren’t sure what her’s really said but she asked us ” You like candy?” We all shared our favorite types of candy . We will keep this up until Valentine’s Day and hopefully have as enjoyable dinners ( most days) as we did tonight.conversation hearts dinner conversation starters

A preschool board meeting prevented me from posting this when I had planned and we have now had 3 dinner with these conversation hearts. All have been fun, informative and really great family time. My kids have been racing to the table to be the one chosen to pick the first heart. My daughter has chosen the same heart every night but asks us new questions that we can usually decipher.  Tonight I learned that my son loves a new book , my daughter loves her brother more than princesses, that my husband loves math more than sports and when it comes down to it I like reading about educational psychology more than art history, even if the pictures aren’t as pretty.

Here is the list of questions I included:

What is your favorite game to play?
What is your favorite subject to learn about?
What do you want to get better at?
What is your favorite book?
What is your favorite sport?
What character from a book/movie or TV show would you like to be?
What was your least favorite ride at at Disneyland?
What is your favorite food?
How old do you have to be to get married? ( My son said ” Well the law is 18 right? So I’ll stick with the law.” I almost choked on my dinner.)
What is your favorite room in the house to read in?
If you could visit any country in the world where would you go?
what do you want to be when you grow up?



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  1. Lillian says

    This is so perfect and timely. Dinner time has been awful lately. We battle with our 6 year old as well. The 4 and 1 year olds aren’t easy either. We used to play this game using strips of paper in a jar. I had forgotten all about it. Making this today! Thanks!

  2. says

    What a wonderful idea! I can not wait to try this with the lovely little ladies I nanny five days a week! And I find it so interesting that you allowed your daughter to “read” her heart instead of reading it for her…I have discovered the “reading” phase kids go through before actually learning how to read is such an important milestone! Thanks again!

    • admin says

      It is really important – another thing that I find really helps make kids into readers is to tell them they are reading when they do that. They are reading the way a 2 or 3 year old reads and as they continue to learn and develop ( remember reading is developmental) they will learn new ways to read until eventually they can read the words like you can. It really helps de-mystify reading and simply work on developing it.

  3. says

    This is a creative idea for using conversation starters. I plan to tweet this idea to my readers. My blog is all about family mealtimes and I try to make it an inspiration to parents to get their families together to eat on a regular basis. Every week day on my Facebook page I post a conversation starting question. I’m sorry to sound like I’m pushing my blog so much, but I think your readers who enjoyed this idea might like some more.


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