Every year we do something fun with my girls for Valentine’s day- because why for many this is another made-up holiday, for me it’s a great opportunity to celebrate love and family in the midst of our cold canadian winter!
Now, if you prefer making gifts for your loved ones, or simply watch romantic movies and eat heart shaped cookies – you do you boo! I think all that really matters is to take this day as an opportunity to talk about why we love each other, what we appreciate about each other and how we should be grateful and appreciative of all the little things all year round.
However setting up a cute Valentines day table for breakfast or an afternoon tea is definitely something fun to do for/with kids! And for me, seeing my girls eyes getting big out of excitement when they see what I have prepared for them is what makes my heart full!
It doesn’t need to be expensive to be fun- here are my simple ideas for a Valentine’s day tablescape:
hand written paper table runner
paper heart hearts layered on the table
felt heart hearts spread around the table
heart shaped chocolates and cookies layered in a colorful mess
hot milk with marshmallow hearts
cake with marshmallow “cake toppers” ( store bought or baked- whatever works!)
And I found most of this set up in my local Dollar Store- it took me around 10 minutes to set it all up. And I had so much fun! Because celebrating doesn’t need to be over the top difficult to set up nor expensive!
Now I hope I inspired you to throw a simple Valentine’s day celebration in your home too! Happy Valentine’s day everyone!
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!) 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:
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!
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!
Valentine’s day is approaching, and I know you’re hungry for new ideas! Remember how I was writing about paying attention to not overstimulate our kids? And guided crafting was one of the things to look at? So, I’m happy to say, that this craft is equally a fruit of unguided creativity, and of a guided crafting with mom. So kids get to express themself, and then they can make something really nice too, a win-win!
My girls love crafting, and this card here is their collaborative work, with just a tiny bit of help from my side. But if your kids are confident with scissors, then they can make this card entirely on their own!
What you’ll need :
A big sheet of white paper
Red and pink paint
2 pink cardboards
First step is unguided painting. Let kids ( even an older baby or a toddler ) paint whatever they want with pink and red paint. You could even give them pompoms to paint with (especially toddlers love painting with unusual materials!) Then let it dry.
Take two, equal in size pink cardboards. Set one aside. Fold another one in half, and cut a half-heart. Set it aside.
And now cut the painted sheet of paper in to long stripes. Take the other pink cardboard, and glue on it the pink and red stripes. Make sure there’s no space in-between stripes left.
Now place the cardboard with a heart on top ( add glue to the edges so it stays).
Your Valentine’s card is ready!
We’ll be making more of these, since my daughter decided that she wants to send one to each of her grandparents, and aunts and uncles. And are your kids making cards for friends and family?
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 🙂
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 🙂
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).
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.
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 :).
Today at 7.15 I realized that my daughter was supposed not only to dress in red and white to day care today, but also bring a small hand made treat/gift to exchange with other children. Luckily we had left the toilet paper heart-stamped cards that we made last week together !
I added some xoxo’s and love here and there, and stapled one mini package of cookies:
It took me probably 3 minutes, including the frenetic search for a stapler.
And of course I had to explain to my little girl the principle of a gift exchange. She didn’t seemed to be convinced .
I wanted to make some cute little treat for my sweethearts , not to difficult though since I really lack in energy these days. I thought of cookies, or brownies but I couldn’t make my mind. So here it is, brownies but cut with a cookie cutter 🙂 Honestly I used not to like red velvet cakes since I didn’t fined them sweet enough. However when you add some chocolate chips, well now it’s a great treat for me! So here they are, my little sweet valentines 🙂
3 teaspoons of dark cacao 1 teaspoon red colorant 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup of sugar 1/2 cup of melted butter 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup of flour 1 pinch of salt
1/2cup chocolate chips
Mix the cacao, red colorant and vanilla extract, and put it on the side. Mix the sugar, butter and vanilla extract until really smooth, then add your cacao and colorant paste, mix until well blended. Add slowly flour and salt, don’t over mix ! In the end add chocolate chips. Bake on 350 F for around 30 min. Let it cool, and then cut these little hearts with a cookie cutter. Enjoy !