Artsy Heartsy Valentine's Fun
Some people don’t think Valentine’s Day is a real holiday, but don’t ever tell that to Shep. He takes any occasion to celebrate seriously, but this year, he has decided that Valentine’s Day is especially important. As soon as we took our Christmas tree down, he started working on heart shaped doodles and planning out every detail of the next special day in his Paw Patrol calendar, which I’m told will start with hugging and a breakfast of marshmallows and chocolate. After this very healthy start, he plans to wear an outfit of red camo instead of his typical green camo and pass out special presents to all of his friends. My days of picking up the discounted package of Transformer valentines on the way to school are clearly over.
Since it’s always a good time to celebrate love, and because this year it feels like the world could use a little extra tenderness, I decided to follow his lead and embrace the Valentine’s fun with both arms. This year we’re going big, we’re going homey, and we’re going to Michaels. A lot. In case you and your little feel like joining us on this cuddly, crafty crusade, here are a couple of easy breezy, fully adorable Valentines we’ve been testing out at home for the big day.
HAND-DYED MODERN MACARONI JEWELRY
An update on a perfectly cheesy classic
Admittedly, as a jewelry designer, when Shep said he wanted to make me a bracelet, I melted into a mom-puddle on the floor. This craft was fun, fast, easy to clean up, and a great way for my busy, brawny boy to work on his fine motor skills.
-Several varieties of pasta
-Gallon Ziploc bags
-Parchment paper or newspaper
-Rope or yarn
1) Lay several sheets of parchment (one for each color) or newspaper on a table or safe, out of the way location.
2) Add a few generous squirts of food coloring, hand sanitizer and seal the bag. Mix it all up until you have a colorful diluted solution. You can let your toddler do this, but be warned, a week later and Sheppy’s hands are still blue.
3) Take a cup or two of string-able dried pasta (rigatoni, elbows, rotelle, ziti, and penne are great choices!) and place in a gallon-sized zipper bag with the food dye mixture.
4) Shake, shake, and shake some more! Definitely let your toddler do this part or he’ll never forgive you.
5) When the noodles are covered to your little’s liking, spread them out on the parchment and leave overnight to dry.
6) Repeat with remaining colors and varieties of pasta. More is more, dahling!
7) Measure your sweetheart’s wrist and cut a few (or more than a few) lengths of yarn or rope. You might want to make a coordinating necklace too because, why not?!
8) Get stringing! This is a great opportunity to work on fine motor skills, color identification, and creating patterns.
9) When your child’s bracelet is done, help him or her tie a sturdy double knot and voila!
10) For an added touch, use the beautiful illustrated hand print out from Mer Mag to use as valentines.
MUSHY PLUSHY MONSTERS
Furry little friends to share at school
Sheppy made it very clear that he wanted to make his own Valentine’s treats this year and could not be convinced otherwise, even when I tried to bribe him with ice cream and temporary tattoos. At the end of a long, snowy weekend spent in the shop, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to make even more things by hand, but our furry fellas were so much fun I could have gone on for hours. These guys are a sweet alternative to traditional cards and they give your child an opportunity to let their imagination run totally wild.
-Pompoms in assorted sizes
-Glue (we like water-based Ukkie Glue)
-Foam Hearts or cut your own out of craft paper
-Googly eyes (adhesive ones will save you a step)
-Pipe cleaners cut down to various sizes
1) Glue one pompom to the center of a foam heart so that the rounded corners stick out like feet.
2) Stick googly eyes to pompom. Literally as many eyes as possible, says Shep.
3) Add a little pipe cleaner antenna or arms or whatever else strikes your fancy.
4) Put your little monster to bed, let the pom-poms dry overnight, and your’re done!
Have the happiest Valentine’s Day, my sweet friends! No matter how much glue you go through in this crafty season, remember that love is what holds it all together. :)