Homemade Valentines with kids

Last year, right around this time of year, David sat down at the table with construction paper, scissors, and glue, and independently handcrafted a valentine for his best friend. I was really, really impressed. I hadn’t given much thought to the valentines he was going to give out to his class, but right then and there I decided we were going to make our own.

I suggested he  make another and he did — with enthusiasm and creativity. After the third one he moved on to Legos or Play-doh or something else. But I was satisfied and decided that if he made three a day until Valentine’s Day, we’d be fine.

We managed a classroom full of valentines, but just under the deadline. By the time we were done David was SO OVER it, and he was doing the bare minimum for each card. But we did it. After the experience I decided two things:

  1. I need to be more realistic about my kids’ attention spans when it comes to crafts
  2. As long as my kids give out valentines, they will be homemade

It’s not even February and we’re already neck-deep in Valentine construction. This year I want to give the kids plenty of time to make them, and I don’t want to have to force them to craft. They say you can taste love in food, maybe it’s the same for crafts, eh? This year we all sat down and took some time to plan valentines that they were all excited to make and give out, and I love the final products.

David’s sticky hand valentines

Supplies: 
Cardstock
Assorted sticky hands

Easy DIY Valentines for kids Sticky hand valentines

I didn’t mention this little detail about Valentine’s Day last year — David came home and was furious that he was the only kid who gave out homemade Valentines. I tried to encourage him that homemade is COOL! And he rolled his eyes…as if he needed more proof that mom is the most lame E.V.E.R.

This year he’s making valentines that he thinks are cool. Or, as he said when he got off the bus the other day, “sick.”

I ordered this giant pack of sticky-stuff from Amazon, then helped him use my computer to make a card. He typed the phrase, then I showed him how to choose a font (he loved that part. SO COOL, MOM!!!) and I formatted and printed them out.

Easy DIY Valentines for kids Sticky hand valentines

David cut out the squares, wrote his classmates names, and painstakingly selected a sticky toy for each person, which he stapled onto the card.

Easy DIY Valentines for kids Sticky hand valentines

He worked diligently and it probably only took him about 15 minutes.

Part/all of the incentive was that I told him he could play with the leftover sticky hands once he’d given one to everyone in his class.

I think they turned out great, and he’s really excited to hand them out.

 

Mary’s bracelet valentines

Supplies:
Cardstock
Alphabet beads
Beading thread

Easy DIY Valentines for kids bracelet and bead valentines

Mary’s valentines were the most involved, which makes sense if you know Mary. Preparations are her love language.

Initially we planned on making knotted friendship bracelets, but then I realized that it would be great letter recognition and fine motor practice for her to make beaded name bracelets.

Because I knew it would be a lot of work, we started with plenty of time (and as I publish this, we still aren’t completely done).

We used three strands of beading thread for each bracelet, and Mary put a lot of thought into which colors to give each person. I prepared each bracelet for her by cutting, knotting, and wrapped a bit of tape around the three strands of thread to make it easier for her to do the beading.

We wrote the names of each of her classmates together so she could find the letters and thread the beads independently.

Easy DIY Valentines for kids bracelet and bead valentines

I helped her make the cards on the computer, then I drew lines as a guide and she cut out individual cards and wrote her name.

To assemble, we punched holes in each card, then threaded the bracelet through. I tied a loose knot, and then Mary taped it to secure them.

Easy DIY Valentines for kids bracelet and bead valentines

 

Thomas’s Spiderman valentines

Supplies:
cardstock

Easy DIY Spiderman Valentines for kids and toddlers

Thomas’s valentines are my absolute favorite.

When his siblings were making their valentines, Thomas climbed on the table and insisted on making some too. But, in true three-year old fashion, after that display of passion he was tough to rally.

Thomas watched but refused to help as I made hearts and drew a web with a sharpie. While I was doing that, David traced a bunch of eyes WITHOUT BEING ASKED. Isn’t that the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard? A big brother helping with his little brother’s valentines!? COME ON!!

When Mary saw me praising David for his help, she drew a bunch of hearts on pink paper to make pink Spidermen. I wasn’t planning on making pink hearts, but I loved her idea and welcomed her help and initiative.

(In sum, David and Mary did more for these valentines than Thomas did.)

Thomas’s preschool teachers have taught the kids the first letter of their name, and he loves finding his T and writing his T.

So, for his valentines, I asked him to write his T. Sometimes I had to write a T as a guide, sometimes I didn’t. I gave him lots of breaks and also spread this task over a few days.

I also welcomed him to help with any of the other parts — gluing or placing the assorted pieces. He sometimes wanted to, sometimes didn’t. Managing expectations should perhaps be step one in any craft with a three-year old.

(If you have a more enthusiastic helper, they could also trace the lines of the web, cut out the hearts, etc.)

Easy DIY Spiderman Valentines for kids and toddlers

Thomas LOVES the end product, so much that he actually posed with these cards and ASKED me to take these photos. He wanted a picture with each one, but I stopped it at two.

Easy DIY Spiderman Valentines for kids and toddlers

He is very proud of them and wants to give them out NOW, which makes me really happy.

Easy DIY Spiderman Valentines for kids and toddlers

 

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12 Comments

  1. Melissa January 31, 2019

    This is adorable, super mom!

    Reply
  2. Lynsie McDaniel January 31, 2019

    I love these! The beaded bracelets are great!

    When my oldest was in pre K and I was preggers and sick I was anticipating the future and bought a ton of clearance valentines from the store for like a quarter a box and we are still today, about 7 years later, using that stash. I think we have at least 1 one more year’s worth. We have kind of made it fun though because I drag out that box of different ones and they can pick out which ones match each friend because we have a big variety.

    I love when the kids get cute homemade ones from friends though and a few times have been tempted to make ones, but then I remember when I craft with my kids we all cry. We craft individually much better, ha!

    Reply
  3. Kristie | Girl Mom Chaos February 4, 2019

    These are great! I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to my kids + the cards/presents they give to their friends. I REALLY need to let that go + just let them be kids. This post was a great reminder that it’s OK for their cards to express who they are as little people + it doesn’t matter how it looks.

    Reply
  4. Meagan February 4, 2019

    Omg! We already have our valentines bought but I want to do the bracelet idea now!

    Reply
  5. Erin February 4, 2019

    I LOVE all of these ideas! My kids aren’t school age yet, but I’m pinning this for later!

    Reply
  6. Sherry February 4, 2019

    Kids will love creating any of these cute Valentine’s Day gifts! Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Kami February 4, 2019

    I love it! I’ve been looking around for a Valentine’s Day craft for my daughter to do but she’s only 2 so it’s been tough. These are such cute ideas!

    Reply
  8. Lorena February 4, 2019

    Great ideas! I’ll have to try them out when my toddler get’s older!

    Reply
  9. These are great! The bracelet one is my favorite, I would have loved to get that as a valentine when I was a kiddo.

    Reply
  10. Julia February 5, 2019

    Love the letters on a string!!!!

    Reply
  11. Calista February 5, 2019

    These are so cute! I really like how realistic they are. You see some ideas on Pinterest that you’re destined to fail. Love these!

    Reply
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