Winter can seem very long, so why not break it up by getting a head start on fun Valentine’s crafts for babies and kids? This heart-shaped holiday arrives just when you and your gang need it most—and marking the season can feel extra special with some cute and easy kids’ Valentine’s ideas. Just remember, celebrating Valentine’s Day with little ones doesn’t have to be a big production involving three trips to the store. Instead, look in your storage containers, inside your baking drawer or even in the recycling pile for quick supplies and a bit of inspiration.
Here are five creative Valentine’s activities for kids that’ll put hearts in everyone’s eyes.
Make Edible Hearts
Eating a heart-shaped breakfast is way more fun than a boring bowl of cereal. And the best part? There’s no baking required. To make it happen, grab a couple of heart-shaped cookie cutters and stamp out sweet shapes in your tot’s French toast or pancakes. You can ramp up the Valentine’s theme by adding a few drops of red food coloring to your pancake batter or topping French toast with red fruits like raspberries and sliced strawberries. Make pancakes and French toast even more appealing with pink and red sprinkles or a few candy conversation hearts as the crowning touch. Next, continue the heart fun at lunch by cutting hearts in a quesadilla or tuna sandwich and then serving each shape on a divided plate (just don’t overfill the sammy—you don’t want the insides to ooze out). No heart cutters in the house? Use round ones or even a juice glass and then cut a v-shaped notch at the top of the circle. Keep the excitement going by baking treats like Valentine’s Hand Pies and getting your kids involved.
Plant Colorful Seeds
Sowing seeds is a lovely way to herald spring (yup, it’s coming soon!). And picking fast-growing seeds means you’ll have the perfect Valentine’s gift for a sibling, grandmother or preschool teacher if you start a few weeks in advance. Try quick-to-sprout radishes, lettuce or basil—or flowers like zinnias, marigolds or cosmos—which will shoot up in a matter of days. To plant radishes, for example, add dirt to small paper cups or cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Dig a small hole about a half-inch deep, drop in two tiny seeds and then cover with a quarter-inch of soil. Place your containers on a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist, watering a bit every other day. Once they’ve germinated, gather red or pink tissue paper around the container and tie on a coordinating ribbon.
Dress the Part
Holiday dress-up is always a hit with kids, no matter the age. Check the bureau drawers for clothing in any shade of red, pink or white, or for items with heart shapes on them (hint: socks and underwear). Or maybe there’s a pink princess or fairy outfit in the costume bag, or an old shirt of yours to loan out; just add a belt and it could turn into a dress for your preschooler. To get your tot excited about V-Day, let her sport these clothing items during the week ahead—why save this fun outfit project for just one day? And when she lays her clothes out the night before the big day, have her add some cute accessories like a sparkly star pin, glitter headband or matching scarf.
Create a Picture-Perfect Keepsake
Document your kid’s growth from each Valentine’s Day to the next by taking a picture of him holding a heart that he’s designed on paper. Cut out a paper heart, then have your child decorate his special craft with markers, crayons, stickers and other kid-friendly art supplies. Bring on the bling with silver and red glitter, heart-shaped decals and mini red pom-poms, or pick up a pair of child-safe scissors so your tot can cut a fun jagged edge into her designs. Store the same heart in a keepsake box and bring it out each year to hold at picture time—so you can see how quickly he’s grown over the years.
Design DIY Valentine’s Cards
Working with letters is a blast when there’s cutting and pasting involved. Check your magazine pile for issues you’ve read and let your kid look for the letters that spell L-O-V-E. Arrange silicone baking cups nearby so she can sort each letter she finds, and then give her a glue stick to craft a special Valentine’s card. This one’s a two-fer: She’ll be flexing her creative muscles and practicing the alphabet at the same time.
Now that the kids’ Valentine’s ideas are squared away, it’s time for an adult celebration. Whip up a round of delicious Valentine’s cocktails to share with that special someone.