You’ve been planning it for two weeks, and you’ve already dropped hints about a big bouquet of roses, heart-shaped box of chocolate truffles, new bottle of perfume, and a romantic candlelit evening for two… when a small voice from across the room reminds you that your kids’ will be exchanging valentines with their classmates at school. No problem. You can buy or make them easily enough. The more difficult question to answer is what your kids will be doing on Valentine’s Day while you’re digging into your chocolate box. How will you keep your little ones occupied? Here are 5 ideas to try.
1) Translucent heart-shaped collage window decor: Gather tissue paper in shades of pink, red and white, a few coordinating chenille stems (pipe cleaners), a 12” length of ribbon, raffia or twine, and white glue from the craft store. Cut a 5”x5” square of white paper to use as the background. Cut out small hearts from the pink and red papers and overlay them to create a collage on the white paper. Cut two chenille stems in half. Glue them to the edges of the white paper as a frame. Set aside and let everything dry completely. Punch a hole at the top/center of the white paper and thread the ribbon, raffia or twine through it. Make a knot and use the string to hang the art in front of a sunny window.
2) Heart-shaped cookies: Get out your favorite cookie recipe, or buy ready-made dough at the grocery store. Roll it out, stamp it with heart-shaped cookie cutters and bake. When cooled, the options for decorating are endless: Sprinkle with white or powdered sugar or cinnamon; dip one side in melted chocolate; paint or pipe on pink and red icing; sandwich strawberry ice cream between two cookies to make a special dessert… and on and on. Let your little ones’ hearts lead the way.
3) Hand-stitched heart pillow or sachet: Cut two identical hearts out of red paper or felt. Punch holes or draw dots ¼ to ½-inch apart from each other along the outer edge, the whole way around. Thread complementary yarn through a large plastic embroidery needle (for little kids) or a standard metal needle (older kids with previous experience — but you should always supervise them anyway). Using the holes or dots as a guide, use a simple straight or blanket stitch to attach the two hearts together. When you are a couple of inches away from where you started, insert polyester stuffing and/or some lavender or other potpourri. Finish your stitches and secure with a knot at the end of the yarn. If you leave a long enough string, try tying it into a pretty bow.
4) Colorful “Love Bug”: Two 1-inch diameter pom-poms, two small googly eyes, one chenille stem, a small scrap of felt and standard white glue are all you need. Glue one pom-pom to the other to form the body. On one pom-pom, glue the googly eyes to create a “face”. Cut the chenille stem into two equal-length pieces. Cut one of them into six short, equal-sized lengths. Create the bug’s antenna, plus two legs and two arms and poke them into place on the bug’s body (antenna on the head, arms and legs on the abdomen). Glue into place. Use the remaining long length of your chenille stem to create a set of wings. Glue to the center of the bug’s back. Cut a small heart out of the felt and glue it to the bug’s back, either above or below the wings (your preference). Let the glue dry completely.
5) Yarn-wrapped heart: Cut a heart out of poster board or card board. Using red, pink, or multi-colored yarn, being to wrap the heart all the way around, crisscrossing strings as you go. If necessary, you can glue or tape down the loose end of the yarn at the beginning, before you begin to wrap. When the heart is full of yarn (meaning: you cannot see the poster board or cardboard anymore), cut the end of the yarn and glue or tape it to the board, hiding it completely under the yarn you just wrapped. Use a length of ribbon to create a hanger for a doorknob.
Working on these activities with your kids will create lasting memories that you can keep for the years to come. So share the day with them and spread the love. There will still be plenty of time for chocolate later!
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