While some people dislike Valentine’s Day as an over-commercialised excuse for retailers and restaurants to cash in, for others it’s a day to feel loved and appreciated. That doesn’t just mean a candle-lit dinner with your significant other – if you have children, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the love you have for your family and even for friends, while exploring some ideas about their feelings and how we can do nice things for people that we care about. And it’s a good excuse for some crafts!
I do like a nice themed craft activity – and I know my daughter, age two, has been making some Valentine’s cards and pictures at nursery. Here I’ve gathered together a few easy crafts you can do with very young children and toddlers – my two year old enjoyed all of these though of course I had to help with some parts. They also don’t need a lot of special equipment though of course there are plenty of fun Valentine’s themed bits and bobs you can buy!
First of all, if you haven’t come across Baker Ross before, I urge you to check them out now. Their craft supplies are a little more expensive than The Works, but probably on a par with Hobbycraft, with one of the main differences being that Baker Ross tends to sell in bulk. So you can get a craft kit for £4.95 to make five of the same item (like painting a money box) for example- which is good value per item but not much good if you only want one. But they also sell big packs of craft materials which are really good as you can stash them away to use the rest at a later date. Or they are really good if you are having a crafting party or are buying for a childcare setting.
A lot of their products seem a bit too old for a two year old, as I’m not keen on using small beads and other crafts would be too difficult for her at this age, but there’s still plenty to appeal and every time I go to their site I find myself buying more than intended! For Valentine’s day I got this pack of 10 cardboard hearts, which can be used to make wreaths plus some heart foam stickers and some pastel-coloured glitter heart foam stickers.
We decorated the hearts with stickers which my daughter really enjoyed – the stickers are large and easy for even a two-year-old to peel the backing off and I could tell she was pleased that she could do this herself. The hearts come with a string for hanging up when you are finished.
We hung these as decorations on our white twig tree which I bought from Hobbycraft last week – I’ve wanted one of these for ages and they aren’t very expensive at all. I got a 76cm tree for £15 and it’s already been reduced to £10 (which is a bit annoying!). I’m planning to use this as an Easter centrepiece but also used it for my Valentine’s day decorations.
You can also find other uses for these heart wreaths – for example I used the inner heart shape as a template to draw around and cut out some hearts from pink carboard for another project.
Vase of flowers
This comes from a tutorial by Baker Ross. I painted a toilet roll tube and glued it to a square of cardboard for the base in advance so it would be dry for my daughter to decorate and to make the flowers. We used green pipe cleaners, and a selection of heart stickers from Baker Ross. I’m quite pleased with how this looks (even though I did have to help a lot) – it would make a nice gift!
Hole-punch heart hangers
I have three sizes of heart hole punches that I think I bought for making our wedding stationery a few years back. The largest one was actually quite expensive – I think about £15 – but the smaller sizes are much cheaper and you can find them in a lot of shops. I don’t think my daughter had ever used a hole punch before (i.e. at nursery) as she was fascinated by how it worked and really loved doing it. She wasn’t strong enough for the largest punch – as it really is quite heavy-duty – but decided that the little hole punch was hers and merrily punched away in the pink paper I gave her. We used some of the hearts to stick onto ribbon to make this decoration to hang from our twig tree.
Tree with heart-shaped leaves
We also used the punched out heart shapes to make this picture. I quickly drew a tree trunk and branches with brown crayon and Sophie glued on the hearts. An older child could draw the tree trunk themselves, and you could even write the names of loved ones on the hearts.
Wool woven hearts
There are some much more intricate, beautiful things you can do with a piece of wool (yarn) and a cardboard heart shape but this is a really simple one that young children can do. Simply wind the wool around the heart from different directions – you can cut small notches using scissors in the edge of the heart to guide the wool and help it stay in place. I then tied the wool off at the end and tied into a loop to hang onto our twig tree.
Spiral heart twirlers
This is based on an idea from Red Ted Art, though we didn’t make the bugs, and instead decorated the spirals with heart stickers. My daughter painted the paper plate red, and when it was dry I cut the spiral shape then she decorated it. Finally I made a small hole in the top and used a piece of red wool to make a loop.
Another use for the hole punched hearts – the largest size this time. I cut each heart into two, using a different cut each time – such as a wiggly line, a zig zag and so on – and then gave the pieces to my daughter to match up. It kept her entertained for a few minutes!
Here are all of our decorations hanging on our twig tree!