The world seems to keep moving faster and faster, but Valentine's Day is one long-time tradition that will probably never go away. It's a great opportunity for kids to learn about love, and for grown-ups to show appreciation and give affection to friends and family. To help you celebrate, we've rounded up a dozen family friendly apps in categories ranging from card making and cooking to games, wallpapers, stories and more.
1. Tom's Love Letters
Kids and adults alike will enjoy watching and hearing the love antics of Tom and his girlfriend, Angela, as these cute but sophisticated little cool cats kiss and hug.
You and your kids can also use the app to make 19 adorable cards that are appropriate for sending to friends and family members. To help get your kids in the mood, you can listen to the four catchy tunes included in the app.
Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle, the app is free, but you'll run into optional in-app purchases.
2. Red Stamp Cards
There are tons of card making apps around, but Red Stamp Cards combines versatility and high quality. You and the children can easily customize Red Stamp's classy, expertly designed cards with different color schemes and your own messages and photos. You can take the photos either in-app or from your phone's camera camera roll.
You can email the cards, post them to Facebook or Instagram, or get them printed by Red Stamp with your choice of card stocks and envelopes. Red Stamp will send them either to members of your mailing list or directly to your home. With the printed cards in hand, your family can add even more personalization by signing the cards and including handwritten notes.
Red Stamp is more than just a Valentine's Day one-trick pony. You can return to the app throughout the year. Downloadable for both iOS and Android, Red Stamp is a free app with optional in-app purchases.
3. Heart Live Wallpaper Lite
Most of us use our phones a lot, so there's nothing quite like wallpaper to set the stage for a holiday or some other special event. Browsing through the app stores, you''ll find lots of wallpapers that can do the job for Valentine's Day. However, Heart Live Wallpaper Lite has to be one of the coolest, with its swirling hearts and particles of lights.
You can customize this Android app by inserting your own messages and photos into the hearts. Further control the look of the wallpaper by changing the background colors and the timing of the scenes. An optional holiday countdown feature is part of the app, too. Available for Android only, it's another free app offering optional in-app purchases.
Of course, Valentine's Day is about more than greeting cards and hearts. It's also about flowers and candy, right? 1-800-FLOWERS will deliver both to grandparents and other loved ones who live out of town, in any of more than 195 countries, no less.
The company is full of suggestions for special floral arrangements for Valentine's Day and other occasions. You can also order gifts that include Harry & David Chocolates, Cheryl's Cookes, fruit baskets and more.
When using this app, why not order some beautiful flowers and sweet treats for delivery to your own home? The app is free for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
5. 500 Valentine's Day Recipes
Or, perhaps you and the kids can make some of your own sweet treats. Chocolate Pots de Creme? Amorous Duo? Baked Coconut Custards? Those are just a few of the recipes provided in an iOS app that includes 500 of them.
It's a fun resource for finding fresh answers to the perpetual question of what to make for dinner.
You'll also see recipes for every other course in a meal, starting with soups and appetizers. Nutritional info is included for each recipe. Your older kids will enjoy browsing the recipes, too, and maybe they can help you out in the kitchen. Available for iOS only, the app is priced at $2.99.
6. Elmo Loves You
Your pre-schoolers can also get in on the Valentine's Day action with this highly engaging storybook app, starring Elmo, the Cookie Monster, Abby, and other Sesame Street friends.
The app is designed to give kids a 3D type of experience, much the same as in the pop-up book by the same name. You can set it to either "Read with Elmo" or "Read It Myself" mode.
You'll also find 12 puzzles with four levels of play, plus 15 interactive scenes. Kids can attach stickers of Sesame Street characters to the scenes and press "play" to bring their creations to life.
In the original story line, Elmo has produced a special card for someone he loves, but then loses the card when a gust of wind carries it away. As the story unfolds, children find out who that someone is. Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle, this is a another free app that offers optional in-app purchases.
7. Valentine's Day Word Search
This Valentine's Day edition of a popular word search app for iOS is all done up in pink, with five special word categories, including "Sweet Treats."
The app contains an endless number of unique puzzles, along with three difficulty levels that should meet the skills of elementary schoolers through adults.
Psst... Don't tell the kids, but word search games are terrific for building spelling and vocabulary skills. The app is free.
8. Hidden Objects Love
In this Valentine's Day-themed app for Android, the goal is to find objects, not words. Detect a rose or a piece of Valentine's Day cake in a picture, for instance.
The HD graphics are really nice. A magnifying glass is available for honing in. This is a great game for either individual or group use, and it's suitable to just about all ages. A text mode helps to teach new words to beginning readers. Available for Android only, the app is free.
9. Love Frames for Free
Does your teen love to take selfies? With the hundreds of amazing frames included in this iOS app, she can look more gorgeous than ever.
You might want to use this app with family photos, too. You can put multiple pictures within the same frame. The app also comes with lots of fine Instagram-like effects.. You can select a photo from your camera roll, take a pic in-app, or import one from social media. After the image gets beautified, it can be added to the photo library, emailed, or posted to Facebook or Twitter.
10. Couple - Relationship App for Two
Valentine's Day is also the perfect time for rekindling the romance with your significant other As indicated by millions of downloads, the Couple app might help the two of you to enhance your relationship.
A built-in feature called TouchKiss is designed to make you both feel like you're physically together when you're apart. The app also lets you privately disclose your location to your partner; chat and talk within the app; mutually create to do lists and reminders; suggest places to go on date nights, and even sketch together in real time.
Available for iOS and Android, the app is free but offers optional in-app purchases.
Why include a dating app like OkCupid in a roundup of family Valentine's Day apps? Well, lots of moms and dads these days are single.
If you're a single parent interested in starting a new relationship, or just in going out on a fun date, an app like OkCupid can make that simpler.
Who knows? You might even end up with a new partner and a blended family, the way many people do.
The app is offered free of charge for both Android and iOS, with optional in-app purchases available. Under Apple's policies, though, lots of iOS apps are officially off limits for download to kids under 17. These apps include both OkCupid and Couple. Parents should take note.
12. Valentine's Day Special
If you want even more V-Day suggestions, this is a comprehensive little multi-purpose Android app for the older kids and parents in the family. For those who prefer texting over emailing and social media, the app includes romantic SMS messages that can be cut and pasted.
You'll also discover a love tester, horoscopes, recipes, wallpapers, ringtones, love music, romantic verses, and suggestions for movies to watch and costumes to wear on Valentine's Day. The app is free.