Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with children, whether it's my own or the preschoolers I teach. Its message is universal, there are no songs blasting over and over on the radio (if I never hear "Sleigh Ride" again, I'll be happy), and oh, yeah... there's chocolate. Not to mention that there are so many easy Valentine's Day crafts that kids can do, you can get them going a week or two (or even just a couple of days) in advance and have some pretty impressive mementos to show for it.
Children love the thrill of accomplishment that comes with creating something with their own two hands. But the key to success is keeping things simple; too many steps to follow, too intricate a design, or too difficult for tiny hands to manipulate, and a child will give up in frustration (or call, "Mom, can you do this for me?"). That's where mom bloggers come in. They know from experience what children of all ages are capable of doing, and they keep this in mind when they design their crafts. They're also aware of the time and money constraints many moms have, so they use materials that are inexpensive and/or easily available (construction paper, glue, household sponges, washable craft paint).
These are some of the crafts that I personally love for their style as well as their simplicity. Why not set aside an afternoon for a V-Day craft session and make some for all the special people in your kids' lives?
1. Sponge-Painted Hearts
From The Resourceful Mama comes this pretty stencil artwork that uses dry sponges and paint to create a stippled effect. Blogger Kim used red and pink paint for hers, but added that red and purple would be just as effective. Kids will be wowed by the effect once the stencil is taken off.
2. V-Day Necklaces
Retail craft and dollar stores (such as Michael's and the Dollar Tree) should have everything you need to make these bright, cheery necklaces, and your kids will want to wear long past February 14. The Sunshine and Hurricanes blog notes that cutting the straws helps strengthen kids' fine motor skills. They add that this would make a fun classroom craft project for teachers, too.
3. Valentine Man
If your kids can fold paper, they'll find it a snap to put together this whimsical heart man, another fun craft from The Resourceful Mama. Blogger Kim notes that she used a craft punch to make the smaller hearts, but that heart stickers would work just as well.
4. Cork Tree Painting
For a change from the heart theme, have your kids make a Valentine's Day tree painting that you can display long after the holiday. Sunshine Whispers suggested using V-Day colors as the "leaves" of the tree, with corks as the tools to dip into the paint. (Cork wedges can be bought at a craft store, if you don't happen to keep any stoppers from your bottles of vino.)
5. Party Hats
If your children can handle a stapler, they'll enjoy helping you put together these Valentine's party hats, suitable for a school party or for the family to wear at dinner. Best of all, note bloggers Michelle and Kim: almost no mess to clean up after!
6. Heart Tree
Who says trees have to be limited to Christmas? Craft blogger Rachel of I Heart Crafty Things certainly doesn't think so. She was inspired to make these colorful decorations right after New Year's, when she found she had extra party hats left. Find out how she made the trees here.
7. Love Bugs
Flat wooden sticks can be used for a lot more than just examining a sore throat. With some imagination, glue and craft supplies, they can be used as the foundation for these too-adorable Valentine's critters, courtesy of Sunshine Whispers. Blogger Sara suggested going a step further and attaching a magnetic strip to the back for an instant fridge decoration.
8. Love You To Pieces
For once, you can tell your child that it's okay to tear up paper. In fact, that's the whole point of this craft from the Spit Up and Sit Ups site, which calls for lots of shredded tissue paper to fill up a heart outline.
9. Love Monster Box
This not-too-scary Valentine monster box will keep your child's cards and treats safe from intruders. The Giggles Galore site shows you how.
10. Heart Hands
The child-handprint picture is almost a cliché by now, but the reason it endures is because parents know those little hands won't be little forever. This variation by The Frugal Girls uses your child's hands to form the actual heart. (Just have some baby wipes or a bowl of soapy water nearby for the cleanup.)
11. Bee Valentine Holder
Empty oatmeal boxes almost beg to be used for something. Instead of tossing yours in the recycling bin, use it to make this awesome "bee mine" Valentine box, courtesy of I Heart Crafty Things.
12. Fingerprint Message
Kids love finger painting, so they'll really be psyched at the idea of making this pretty dotted picture. Artsy-Fartsy Mama shows you how to make the keepsake.
13. Homemade Book
From the Easy Peasy and Fun blog comes this precious little heart notebook, which unfolds to reveal a series of your child's drawings. You could make ones for your kids as well, with messages of love on every page.
14. Sewing Hearts
Sewing the inside of these paper-plate yarn hearts (again, courtesy of I Heart Crafty Things) helps strengthen fine motor skills in little hands. When your child sees the finished product, they might want to make more, so keep those supplies handy.
15. Rocking Heart
If your kids are into "heart rock" (get it?), they'll enjoy making this project. Easy Peasy and Fun blogger Andreja notes that the pebbles can either be left natural or colored with white acrylic spray. The design shown here is easy for younger children; older kids can try more intricate designs of their choice.
16. Love, Reinforced
Remember sticking those little reinforcement circles onto your torn notebook paper? From the blog I Can Teach My Child comes this reinforcement-filled heart, which is a lot more fun than patching up your English homework.
17. Cute As A Button
A perfect gift for grandparents or other relatives (especially if you insert a photo of your child or one of their drawings), this button picture frame from Craft Create Cook requires a little extra help from you because a hot-glue gun is involved, but the result is well worth it.
18. Friendship Jewelry
Another adorable necklace craft, this one from the Make and Takes blog. Your child can make one for themselves and another for their BFF; blogger Marie adds that they can also be used as key chains or bracelets.