Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and that means—school Valentines time!
If you are looking for a hands-on project, the one that will occupy your child’s attention, allow him or her to use their imagination and also practice alphabet and patience, this project is for you!
I always encouraged my kids to make their valentines themselves. As they grew older, we did ended up buying candy or a small toy, but we still keep the tradition of crafting our valentines and handwriting all the notes. Right now, my kids being 10 and 7, we are in discussion and finding inspiration mode…And, as it often happens, we will end up making our valentines just a day or two before the exchange at school with their classmates, scrambling as always. But we work well under pressure and time constraints, so I am not worried. I wonder what crazy ideas the kids will come up with??!!
But for now, I’ll be sharing a project my daughter and I did from a few years ago for her preschool Valentines.
When your kids are toddlers and just starting to learn to hold the pencil and dribble their letters on a piece of paper, it’s too much to expect them to make handwritten notes. But if you make it “faux writing” by using stamps instead, it becomes a fun craft for them, the one in which they can be confident! An added bonus: it provides an awesome opportunity to practice those letters and spelling familiar words, like their own names or “mama”, for instance 🙂
-Valentines themed cardstock paper (or any paper, really…red, pink, even white)
-ink pads (we used 2 colors, black and red)
-assorted stamps (we used Valentines and alphabet)
-Valentines stickers (but any kind would do)
-a lollipop (we used the flat kind from Trader Joe’s which worked wonderful with this craft). Another brand is Earth’s Organics found in most grocery stores.
-a heart template from Minieco
Print your templates on either solid cardstock or Valentine’s Day themed one.
Cut out your shapes. Each template page gives you TWO heart shapes! Win!
Cut the shapes around the edges.
Your shapes should look something like this. (I tried to fold this one right away, so that’s why it’s not flat.)
Flip your shapes on the white side (if you are using a patterned paper), and you are ready for Step 2.
Set up your ink pad and stamps. I grouped our stamps by categories, so that we had some sort of order on the table (a necessary part of craft time with toddlers!)
Explain or show your kid how to stamp. And…have fun! 🙂
We started with stamping names first by using black ink and alphabet stamps. With my daughter being only 3,5 years old at the time, I helped her by spelling the names of her friends, and she looked for the correct letter stamp. She didn’t find them all the time, of course, and I helped her most of the time, but when she did find them on her own, what exciting moments those were! Practice makes perfect…we had fun, and that what mattered more!
After all the children’s names were done, we switched the ink to red, and I let my daughter go to town with Valentine’s Day themed stamps making whatever designs she wanted.
Note: my daughter was 3,5 years old at the time, and it turned out to be quite a long activity for her (finding correct letters, dipping, stamping, and spelling). We ended up splitting the project into 2 days, about an hour each day. This helped us to not get overly tired and frustrated and kept our project time fun and positive.
Step 3. (optional)
My daughter wanted to make the same valentines for her preschool teachers as well. So, to make them more personal, we added some “love messages” on the teachers’ paper hearts. I had asked my daughter to come up with 3 things that she either loved about each teacher or the fun times that she had with them.
Her notes were very sweet, and I hope they made her pre-school teachers feel loved 🙂
Folding. It’s actually not that complicated at all to do–you just have to follow the lines. I don’t think I even scored the paper before I folded the hearts. Just make sure that you have an unfolded “heart” on each, the back and on the front, without the folds.
After you are done, you should have a cute little paper heart in your hand! Nifty, isn’t it?
Now, to avoid making my mistake, take a pen or a marker and write the name of the valentine’s recipient on one side of the heart and “from ….<your child’s name>” on the other! I realized I forgot this step as I started putting the lollipops through, and I am so glad I noticed it when I did! That would have been a disaster to have to undo all the stickers to see which Valentine belongs to whom!
Take a pencil (for a thinner paper) or another sharp tool (for card stock) and make a small hole in the middle of the heart. Push the lollipop stick through the opening, so that it comes out on the outside, and the lollipop itself is “stuck” on the inside.
Use your stickers to seal the opening on top of your paper heart. My daughter was a big help choosing very particular stickers for each of her friends. 🙂
And that’s it! Your handmade paper valentines are ready!
I hope that this tutorial was helpful and that the Valentines you create with your children will bring joy not only to the ones who will receive them, but to you and your kids as well!