Valentine's Day is a special time to tell your loved ones how much you care for them, and what better way to do that than let your kids to get messy with new crafts! They can make heartwarming gifts for you and your partner, friends, family, teachers, nannies, etc.
With help from popular craft bloggers, here are some ideas for fun and easy Valentine's Day crafts your children can create with you, with your nanny or all by themselves.
For Parents: A Deck of Cards
Michelle Barneck, a mom from Utah who runs the blog A Little Tipsy, has posted directions for a number of holiday crafts. One of her top Valentine ideas is this deck of "52 Reasons Why I Love You" cards. The best part is it's so simple and easy to make. Purchase a deck of cards and cover the face side with colored construction paper (or if you don't have cards, simply cut pieces of card-sized construction paper). You can help your kids up to this point, and then they can decorate each card with a different reason they love you (I love when we play board games together, I love when you make me cookies, I love when you hug me, etc.) and present it as a full deck of cards.
For Grandparents: A Mini Photo Album
For something that makes a wonderful grandparent memento, have your little Valentine make an easy mini photo album. Craft blogger and designer Shaleah Soliven, who runs The Gold Jellybean, has a lot of great ideas, one being an album made of old book pages. Follow the step-by-step guide on her website, where she'll tell you how to paint over pages and form frames for special photos.
For a simpler version, take construction paper and glue your photos to different pieces. Decorate the paper with crayons, glitter and stickers. Punch holes on the sides and tie your album together with yarn or ribbon. Create a memorable cover as Soliven does, perhaps with a finger-painted heart or hands. Your kids will have a blast creating this one-of-a-kind gift.
For Teachers: A Rubik's Cube
You child's teacher has been challenging your child's mind for months. Now your little one can return the favor. One of the more unique ideas for Valentine's Day, a photo Rubik's Cube, is a perfect puzzle. Barneck writes that because Valentine's Day is often so commercialized, it's easy to get lost in un-exciting gift-giving. She explains this Rubik's Cube idea, "Is something that's more original and something with a little more meaning."
To make her Rubik's Cube, help your child select six photos that the teacher would like: class photos, pictures from school trips, shots of the classroom, images of the teacher's favorite things, etc. Print out the photos and draw easy-to-cut lines on them that follow the squares on the cube. Help your children cut and paste the photo squares onto their respective places and voila: a brand new Valentine's gift for special someone.
For Nannies: A Coupon Book
A nanny is a very special person in a child's life. Don't forget to create a Valentine's Day gift for her too. Two crafty moms who run the site Chica and Jo, have developed a number of crafts, recipes, decorating ideas and more. One idea they had for Valentine's Day is a coupon book, based off the ever-popular candy conversation hearts. They write, "Love coupons have always been a popular Valentine's Day gift because they can be so fun to customize."
This book can be made similar to the mini photo album by simply decorating and perforating small pieces of lightweight paper and tying it all together with some string or ribbon. Print out and paste or draw large hearts on each page, then have your kids write special coupons for their nanny to use (do the dishes, help with baking cookies or clean my room, etc.). Your nanny will love the idea and the time your kids spent creating this personalized gift.
For Siblings: A Mason Jar Memory Game
Every kid loves games. The memory game is one of the simplest most entertaining games to play, and crafty mom Maggie came up with a great way for young artists to create their own version of memory with a Valentine theme. One of the benefits of the game, as Maggie notes, is that "it still makes a fun and easy-to-make learning game for your kids!"
On her blog Smashed Peas and Carrots, you'll find many variations of the game -- matching, using different colors, words, numbers or pictures. Your child can pick the one that works best for their sibling. Maggie provides downloadable images for you to print from your computer and cut out. These heart images can be glued on to small mason jar lids (or whatever you have handy) and in two easy steps you have your own handmade Valentine's game!
For Friends and Classmates: A Candy Card
Of course, you can't have Valentine's Day without handing out Valentines. And a Valentine plus candy is sure to make these cards a hit in your child's classroom. Chica and Jo created a candy-filled card with nothing more than paper doilies and embroidery floss. To make their card, write a Valentine sentiment on a red, heart-shaped doily, place it on top of a second doily.Then thread the two together part of the way with the floss or very thin ribbon. Have your child add candy inside and then thread the card completely.
Why spent money on generic store-bought gifts when your child can make them at home. It's a great activity for a cold or snowy day and it will be a fun thing to do together. Creating something homemade -- whether it turns out exactly how you thought it would or not -- is truly from the heart and what Valentine's Day is all about. Happy crafting!
Jennifer Eberhart is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found here.