Joanna Anastasia

Salt dough

Valentine’s day ideas that you can really make with your kids

Valentine's day ideas that you can really make with your kids: toddlers and preschoolers! Easy a valentine,s card tutorial and other doable ideas! ,

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and it means that Pinterest is flooded with cute and perfect ideas to keep everyone occupied! If you’re single, you might be organizing a Galentine party, if you’re dating it’s time for a super romantic get-together, and if you’re a mom it means that you’ll be cutting out heart-shaped sandwiches, filling in your kids cards and baking complicated desserts all nigh long!

Or, we can just take it easy.

So while I really want my kids to feel special, and to enjoy the change of the seasons with their distinctive holidays, I thing it’s important to plan activities that they can actually make on their own!

And so these here, are three doable, easy and fun ideas that you can really make at home with toddlers and preschoolers alike:

1. Easy DIY Valentine’s day card

2. Home made Valentine’s day play-dough hearts

3. Simple Valentines day brownie bites

We have actually made all of these more than once, and here is how:

The DIY Valentine’s day card:

Every year we make our own cards (you can see the evolution of our ideas here and here!)ย This one is equally simple as fun, it leaves space inside for some sweet wishes (or scribbles!) and can be made with pre-cut by mom pieces, or made from start to finish by a bigger kid.

What you’ll need:

– Black pink and purple crafting paper
– Scissors and glue
– Glitter

Cut two long rectangles out of the black crafting paper, and fold them in two, so you have two little square booklets. Cut out 2 different sizes of hearts in two different colors ( I suggest purple and pink) and leave the smaller cut out paper aside (to glue it inside of the card) Let your bigger kid cut hearts out, and prepare it all for the toddler. Glue the bigger heart on the first page, then glue the smaller one on top and decorate with glitter. Inside glue the cut out rectangle with a heart-shaped hole, and write in your wishes on the empty side! ( Or let your toddler scribble something they think looks like a sweet note!) Here’s how my daughters did it:

Valentines days ideas to do with kids, that they can actually make alone!

Valentine's day ideas : easy DIY card that your kids can really make!

Valentine's day ideas

Valentine's day ideas

Valentine’s day home-made play dough:

This is the activity that Lili wants to make every year! Some years we would just play with it as with any other play dough. And some years we would make garlands. Here’s the recipe for my simple salt dough, perfect for cutting out hearts!

And here’s what we did this year: a dough without salt, so it would feel more like a real baking dough, and we pretended to be baking pink cakes for dolls with it!

Play dough that feels like a real dough:

– 1 cup flour
– 1 cup cornstarch
– 1/4 cup warm water
– 1/4 cup oil
– pink food colorant ( or some beet juice)

Mix it all well, if the dough is too sticky, add flour, if it’s too dry, add water and oil. For more sensory fun, you can add some dry pasta like we did!

Valentine's day ideas

easy Valentine's day craft ideas for kids

Valentine's day ideas

This dough keeps well in the fridge for 2 -3 days. Lili wanted to make some hearts and give them as her tokens of love, so we made these and baked just as you would bake any other cookie.

Valentine’s day brownie bites with cream cheese frosting:

Now this is so yummy and looks so festive, while being really simple.
Of course I encourage you to make your own brownies ( you can even find an amazing healthy version here) but you can also use a brownie box mix just like we did!

easy Valentine's day ideas that you can acctuale make: like these cute brownie bites!

What you’ll need:

– baked brownies
– heart shaped cookie cutters
– 1 cup cream cheese
– 1/2 cup icing sugar
– pink food colorant (or beet juice!)

Bake your brownies. Wait a bit until they cool down, and cut out hearts: we found that in order for them not to break it’s best to cut out bigger rectangular pieces, and then cut out the hearts:

Valentine's day ideas

Valentine's day ideas for kids activities

Now prepare your cheese cream frosting ( combine everything in a kitchen-aid mixer and mix well for around a minute) and decorate your brownie bites!

simple valentine's day dessert: brownie bites with cream cheese frosting!

easy to make Valentine's day brownie bites with cheese cream frosting!

Wishing you all a lovely and uncomplicated Valentine’s day!

Montessori play: salt dought figurines

Montessori play

There is something special about toys that you can make yourself, and Montessori play approach encourages that even with the little ones. Playing with natural elements that you can find around the house, imaginative play, toys that are simple and that leave space for children’s creativity: that’s what Montessori play is all about. So without knowing it, you might have been encouraging it with your children already!

[bctt tweet=”There is something special about a toy that a child can make on their own. “]

Of course sometimes (ok, I won’t lie, most of the time) my kids play with the store-bought plastic toys, but I try to help them imagine and create simpler and in the end more educative activities, just like this one here. And if you have younger and older kids, they could both participate, just let the younger one mix the salty dough while the older one can sculpt the figurines, and then they can each paint their own!

Making little figurines from scratch, painting them and then giving them all names, was something that my three and a half year old adored. It’s been more than a month now since we’ve made them, and she still plays with them!

You could keep them simply white, or like us you can let your kid paint them ( in which case they’ll end up looking quite funky ). Either way, I’m sure you’ll have fun!

Montessori play, salt dought kitten

Simple salt dough :

1 cup flour
1 cup salt
2 spoons warm water

Let your kid mix the salt dough ingredients together. If your dough is too runny, just add more flour, if it doesn’t want to hold well together, add more warm water. Oh, and there is no need to bake them, they’ll dry within 24 hours! So you can get painting almost right away:).

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To make a cat you just need to make one cylinder shape, that you make thinner on one side, and a ball with ears for the head.

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Now let your kid get creative with painting them. If your figurines are still drying try using paint that is thick.

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Lili started by painting eyes..

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and then she decided that they need much more colour..

Montessori play

And then she gave them all really funny names that she made up, and then she made them dance and cuddle together ( while I was happily checking my Facebook )..

Montessori play

I think that she really loves her cat family!

Montessori play

Oh, and here are the faces that I painted ( on the other side) with a sharpie; her faces got slightly over painted at some point ;).

Montessori play

So next time when you don’t know what to do on a rainy day, try making a cat family like we did, I’m sure your kids will love it :).

Valentines salt dough craft two ways

Valentines day salt dough

You might not know it, but making a valentines salt dough craft is a very satisfying activity. First, the pleasure of making a toy from scratch ( littearaly ), second, playing with it’s soft texture, and third creating vimiscal valentines craft that’ll decorate you or your place :).

You see, I love to show to my daughter that we can make something lovely from nothing. I believe that it teaches her creativity and it gives her the feeling that anything is possible!

But coming back to our salt dought: it’s really fast to prepare, and so versatile! We didn’t make a big quantity, just enough for one kid to play with, so if you have more kids, or if you’d like to make a longer garland, just double this recipe.

And as you see, the creative process took us in two directions: we made one garland, and one small neckless :). I’m not saying I’ll wear it every day, but it’s a great accessory for our dressing out sessions ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons warm water
3 drops of red food colouring

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add water and food colouring, and mix it really well together. Now it’s ready for your imagination ๐Ÿ™‚

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Start by cutting your shapes with a cookie cutter. This is a great toddler / kid activity, Lili was all concentrated and amused and it made her calm for more than 30 minutes (bliss).

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Place your shapes on a cooking sheet , and if like me you’re planning to make a neckless or a garland, than poke little holes with a chopstick. Then bake on 350F for around 20 to 25 minutes.

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Now put them on a string, hang on a window, in your kids room, or make a valentines neckless with it! You could also use them as valentines day gift tags ! Have fun :).

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