Make Your Own Valentine's Day Gifts
Whether you are expecting the birth of a baby or already enjoying the many hugs and kisses of a little one, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to celebrate. We've assembled some fun and easy Valentine's Day ideas to help you share your child's love with friends and family.
Little Puppet, Will You Be My Valentine?
Puppets are almost universally appealing to young children. They are approachable, interesting, and funny. There is a wide variety of beautiful commercial puppets available; however, homemade puppets work just as well and can have plenty of personality.
You can make this valentine puppet and it can come alive in a creative way. Cut out a 3-inch paper heart and a 1-inch paper heart from red (or pink) poster board. Make two finger holes in the top of the large heart. Draw a face on the smaller one. Overlap pointed ends of the hearts and glue these together. Accordion-fold strips of paper and glue these to the heart for arms. Place your fingers inside the holes and manipulate this heart puppet to entertain baby. Toddlers will enjoy working the puppet alone. Make up a story together about this Valentine’s Day puppet or sing a favorite song.
Me and My Mom (Dad)—Hand In Hand
This idea can be used to make a refrigerator drawing, a framed keepsake, a placemat, or any type gift suitable for Valentine’s Day. Who wouldn’t love to receive a homemade gift from your toddler? Using tempera paints, brush red paint onto your (adult’s) hand and press this onto white construction paper. Let this dry thoroughly. Next brush pink paint (or light blue, if you are doing a gender-based project) onto your child’s hand and proceed to place this handprint on top of the adult’s hand. Name and date this keepsake.
A Special Handprint
Conversation Hearts, those little heart-shaped candies with messages on them, were first made by NECCO in 1902. The messages on the candies may have changed over the years, but kids still love them. Make a “special handprint” project using these candy hearts. Type or have your preschooler print the poem (below) on a sheet of paper. On a heavy sheet of construction paper or poster board, either trace with a crayon or press your child’s hand with paint. Write your child’s name and date next to her handprint. Now, invite your child to glue on heart candies as fingernails. Proceed to attach the written poem to the cardboard print with glue (trim it to size if necessary). This makes a memorable gift to give to family and friends.
This isn’t just any handprint, as you can plainly see
For it is a special handprint, made with love by me.
Along with the handprint I send hugs and kisses your way,
And wish you a very “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Paper “Love Bugs”
You know those pesky “love bugs” that fly in the air? Here is a paper love bug that your kids will adore! Paint or cover an empty toilet tube with pink paper to make the body of the bug. Cut two hearts from construction paper. Attach these with tape or glue on either side of the body. Encourage your child to draw a face on the top of the tube. Pipe cleaners make great antennae. Write a cute message on the wings such as “Valentine, you make my heart flutter.”
Everybody Loves A T-Shirt!
How about one with meaning? You can use this technique on canvas bags, baseball caps, and hand towels too. Use your imagination and have fun! With a fabric-paint marker write, “Behind every hand is a heart that loves Dad” (or Grandma, or whomever the shirt is for). Gently paint the hands of your child with fabric paint and press them on any area of the shirt. Use a variety of colors and allow the shirt to dry. Make sure to wash your child’s hands thoroughly. For an added touch, date the shirt with a laundry marker or fabric paint marker.
Making Tie-Dyed Valentines
A tie-dyed print doesn’t have to be involved and messy. Here is a way to get this same effect using simple art materials. Flatten a white coffee filter and place it onto a sheet of cardboard or anything that will protect your table. Invite your child to draw valentine designs (or scribbles will do) onto the filter with washable color markers covering a vast surface. Fold the filter into quarters and dip it into cold water for just a second. Your child will be amazed as she sees the colors blend. Open the filter and lay it flat to dry. When completely dry, show your child how to cut hearts from this unique paper.
For School-Age Kids
I Have a “Cool” Valentine Just for You
Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day” with quite as much spirit as a homemade card. In a world of cell phones and email, there’s something reassuringly special about a greeting card you can actually hold in your hand—and display in your favorite place. Provide your kids with construction paper and loads of decorating materials. Here are a few ideas to make your cards different and “cool”:
- “You light up my life!” Use an outline of a light bulb.
- “You’re priceless!” Use a For Sale column from the newspaper.
- “For Mom, my need-le never ends.” Enclose a packet of sewing needles inside the card.
- “Dad’s an old smoothie—never rough on me.” Use sandpaper and satin.
- “I’d like a corn-er in your heart.” Glue a dried corn kernel in the corner of a heart card.
- “Where have you bean all my life?” Glue on a dried bean.
Together, discuss the word usage and meaning of each of these sayings. Have fun making up new ones, too!
Embellishing Paper Doilies
Glue a white paper doily onto construction paper. Using fabric and puffy paints (they have a sharp, narrow tip), embellish the flowers and heart designs that are already stamped into the doily. This type of paint takes awhile to dry, but the beauty is worth the wait! These paints are easily found in most craft stores.
Valentine Memory Books
Giving and receiving valentines from classmates and friends is the best part of Valentine’s Day for kids. Making a memory book is a great way to save remembrances of this special day. Place about ten sheets of paper between two sheets of construction paper and staple. Invite your child to decorate the cover with any art medium he or she chooses. A small piece of tape can hinge each valentine on these pages—a place to go back and reminisce.
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