I try to take advantage of anything that I can either turn into an adventure or a project. This week Valentines day is providing me another opportunity for this.
My daughter’s preschool class invited the children to bring in valentine’s. They should all be the same and just have their name signed on it (not the name of the child receiving the valentine) and the children will be decorating bags to bring them home in. I thought this was a great idea and totally reasonable. My first thought was of those boxes of small, cardboard cards with a cartoon of your choice on it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with those, but I had a hard time getting excited about it. I also couldn’t figure out how to involve my as yet not writing toddler into the process. So I thought this was a perfect opportunity to come up with a project she could do.
Note: This is not a time saving measure. Using pre-made cards would have been much faster. This was done as a way to involve her and to provide us with a project we could work on together over the course of a couple days.
This is what we came up with:
I put in about an hour of work preparing the project before we sat down to work on it together. I bought foam hearts and ribbon at a craft store and punched holes in the hearts so she could lace them together to create a little pocket for a Valentines Day treat. Other than coming up with the plan and getting organized, punching the holes and cutting the ribbon was the only thing I had to do in advance. The whole thing took about an hour – largely because I was still formulating the plan as I went. If I were to do this again I could probably do it in about 20 minutes.
Next we laced the hearts together to create our pocket. I was not sure she would be able to do this, we haven’t tried it before, but at almost 3 she did great. She infact did so well that I was able to get the next one started while she worked. She flew through them, I was shocked. Not to mention how excited she was the whole time to be making these for all her friends. The only thing I found that I had to do to help her was threading the needle with ribbon and then I used a tiny bit of tape and taped the ribbon to itself so it would not come out of the needle. It sounds worse than it was it actually went very quickly.
I was planning on this as the next step but found it wasn’t necessary. The plan was to take our laced heart pockets and decorate them with little stickers. This was part of the plan before I knew she could do the lacing on her own. As it turned out I used a glitter heart on one side of the pocket and it looked so good by itself it didn’t need any stickers. I did however still have some plain hearts left and she was having such a good time we made extra valentines for anyone we could think of; we decorated the plain hearts with stickers for a little something extra and to let her put her impression on them.
After lacing is complete we decorated one side of our heart pockets with small heart, flower, butterfly, etc. shaped stickers. I gave her only a few stickers at a time to pick from so she couldn’t go completely crazy.
Adding your child’s name to the back (this step can also be skipped). It can be done by the grown up, by the child, or with stickers as we did. We are going to attempt her writing her name on the teacher’s valentine but there was no way it was going to happen on 11 mini valentines. I was able to find some little foam stickers in pastel colors that reasonably matched with rest of the valentines.
After completing the rest of the heart pocket we used the small stickers to spell her name on the back. One heart at a time, I would give her each letter one at a time and she would place them in a row on the back of the heart. Some rows straighter than others, but that’s okay, it’s clear they are from her this way.
Fill with anything you like!!! We are filling ours with small heart shaped pads and a heart shaped crayon for the children (it’s a tight fit, but we’re making it work) and heart candy for the adults.
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I would love to hear what other homemade valentines you’ve done with your little ones! And if you try this one please let me know how it goes!
UPDATE – You can now buy a kit to make these with your little ones yourself!