It’s been quite a year for arts-and-crafts projects, with kids stuck at home, so we imagine now that it’s Valentine’s Day, the craftiest of holidays, you may be in need of some fresh ideas. We’ve shared some great ideas for handmade Valentine’s Day cards, but here are some more crafts that kids won’t have to give away — unless they want to!
For some of the crafts below, we spoke to artist Kelly Lynn Jones, owner of the San Francisco art shop Little Paper Planes (which has since closed), to get her tips for kid-friendly Valentine’s Day DIYs. (Other crafts here came to us by the secret magic of the internet.)
So check out these quick, cheap and easy ideas and then start working on some sweet projects with your littles. And bonus: When you’re done crafting, voilà — instant Valentine’s Day decor.
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Subscription toy company KiwiCo shared this idea, which is just messy enough for kids to get really into it, and personal enough that it will make an excellent gift for grandparents. All you need is a washable ink pad, scissors, glue, and two sheets of paper — card stock if you want to make this feel like a lasting treasure.
Read the full instructions on KiwiCo, (and while you’re at it, check out all their subscription options for everyday arts and STEM activities). And if you need to stock up on supplies, here are some links to help out.
Valentine’s Day sun catchers
If you hoard holiday gift wrap, this project from Makobi Scribe may be for you. Odds are you have everything — or almost everything — you need already in your home. But the best part? These Valentine’s Day sun catchers are cute, classy and perfect for your littlest kids and your biggest.
Image: Reality Daydream.
Beginner string art
Blog Reality Daydream has a simple tutorial for this elegant heart-shaped project. “This piece is really sweet and good for older children, so they can learn hammering nails,” Jones told SheKnows. Just make sure to supervise them.
Start with a piece of wood — 4 inches-by-4 inches is perfect. Then draw a heart on paper, place it over the wood and hammer nails in to form the outline. (A mini hammer is perfect for this if you have one.) Then remove the paper, and kids can start wrapping any color of string they like around the nails, creating a heart. Perfect.
Use an outline of your child’s hand to make a tree using this tutorial from the craft blog Krokotak. “I love this so much… for the younger kiddos,” says Jones. “Using their hands is always a great way to create a project, and this is a clever craft. Who doesn’t love a heart tree?” Once they have the cardboard tree trunk shape, kids can fill out the tree with construction paper hearts and leaves and even “carve” (write) a message on the trunk.
Image: Crafty Morning.
Construction paper critters
This Valentine’s-themed critter craft “is also a great moment [for kids] to learn about a variety of animals,” Jones explains. Let kids choose their own creatures; check out instructions from blog Crafty Morning for specific shapes and parts to cut from construction paper. Glue them together, add some googly eyes and voila: adorable valentine.
Image: The Resourceful Mama.
Speaking of adorable valentine critters, this fun little bee craft from The Resourceful Mama is not only cute; it’s eco-friendly too. Kiddos can turn a used toilet paper tube into this creative creature. “Perfect for all ages,” says Jones.
Gather some paint, construction paper, pipe cleaners and a toilet paper roll. Paint the roll yellow, and while you’re waiting for it to dry, cut out various bee parts from the paper. Then glue or tape it all together to craft your colorful bee. Don’t forget to write, “Bee mine” — that’s the whole point, right?
Image: The Resourceful Mama for Crafty Morning.
This inventive Valentine’s craft is presented by The Resourceful Mama for Crafty Morning. Jones likes this project because there are so many ways to personalize it. “This heart purse… can be made in so many ways,” she says. “The child can paint the paper, add glitter, put their name on it, add more hearts in a variety of colors, braid the yarn — to name a few.”
Start with paper plates (cut the tops off straight across) and have your child punch holes along the plates’ edges. Then have them thread yarn through the holes. Create a strap with a piece of yarn (Jones suggests braided sections). Then start decorating. Use stickers, cutouts or anything else your little one desires. In the end, kids will have the perfect place to stash their classroom valentines.
A version of this article was originally published in January 2018.
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