Valentine’s Day is arriving shortly and is a great excuse to spend some fun, quality time with your entire family. The following is a list of some activities that you can enjoy with your kids to celebrate this day of love. Help them learn how to appreciate their loved ones and the holiday in general with the following arts and crafts ideas:
Cookies: This may seem like an obvious valentines day project for you and your kids but it absolutely could not be left out as it is a holiday tradition for many families. Whether you prefer simple sugar cookies to chocolate chip, peanut butter to oatmeal, no Valentine’s Day cookie is the same without your classic heart shaped cookie cutter tool. Around this time of year you should probably be able to find one of these, or better, a set of them, at Publix, Shaw’s, Walmart or whichever grocery store chain is most convenient for you. CVS or Brooks may even carry them right now, as they have a good array of household and kitchen items in stock. But if you find yourself in an unusual panic to find a heart shaped cookie cutter, for some reason, you’ll probably be certain to find one of great quality at your favorite local craft retailer.
Once you have your heart cookie cutter, there’s a few things you can do with it. One, is the obvious: Use it to cut out hearts in your favorite flavored cookie. But here’s another fun idea your children might enjoy. Try using your heart cutout as a stencil of sorts on top of your cookies. For example, once you have a regular cookie shape, wait until the cookies are on the rack cooling down. While they are still impressionable yet not too soft that they will fall apart, place the heart stencil-cutter lightly on top of the moist dough. Then, while you hold the cookie cutter still, you can have your child pour something in the middle of it, thus filling up the heart shape. Look in your grocery’s baking section near the frosting and you should be able to find something like sprinkles or little candy stars. When you remove the stencil, you will have a cookie (sugar works best in this case) with a solid heart in the middle of it made with another edible goodie. You can also, while you are still holding the heart still on top of the sugar cookie, take a thin frosting applicator pen and trace the inside of the heart to add a shapely design outlined when the stencil is again removed. There are plenty of ideas. Be creative! And note you can also use these techniques on the top of cupcakes.
Finally, as an alternative to the typical heart design for your Valentine’s Day cookies, consider utilizing chocolate Hershey’s Kisses. All you have to do is bake some sugar cookies and once they are on the cooling rack, gently place a single Hershey’s Kiss drop into the middle of each circle of dough and then refrigerate. If you apply enough pressure when placing them down, the kisses should stick to the cookies when they cool. This is another great edible way to help kids appreciate their love for friends and family.
The fingerprint heart design trick: A fun craft to enjoy Valentine’s Day with your children involves finger painting. The paint can be applied to any piece of paper to make a lovely card for school pals or family members. Or, as a more exciting alternative, the paint, along with the fingerprint heart technique can be applied to a basic white T-Shirt. Here’s how: Basically you will be helping your children create hearts with their fingertips. To create the heart, all one must do is dip one finger in paint and make a fingerprint on the desired surface. Then, you simply do the same thing again, except this time you will press your fingerprint down in a sort of opposite diagonal direction as the first one, thus overlapping the two prints to form a heart shape. To render this idea onto a T-Shirt, be sure to place something flat and fairly rigid behind the shirt before imprinting with paint. This allows for accuracy and reduces smudges. It’s also a good idea to have one person hold the shirt steady, as the movement of applying fingertips to it may cause unwanted wrinkles. But once you and your kids have the heart shape down (practice on paper first!) you can do all types of things with it. Help them create a row of hearts around the shirt’s rim, like a necklace, decorate the sleeve like an arm bracelet or temporary tattoo. Or, if you get even more advanced, do the same technique with the palm and outstretched, tight fingers of your hand.
Heart shaped love quotes: Another idea that involves baking is to create your own version of the stereotypical Valentines’ Day candy hearts. You can do a couple things. One activity involves turning Rice Krispy Treats into the candy hearts. Basically, you will just need to make a pan or two of the marshmallow treats as you regularly would (see back of Kellogg’s box) except add food coloring to spice them up a bit. Depending on the concentration of coloring you use, you should be able to achieve a similar range of colors as the pastel pink, green, yellow and purple traditional Valentines Day heart candies. Once your tray of colored Krispys has baked, cut them into big heart pieces. Then, use a frosting pen to apply your own choice of special Valentine’s Day words or phrases for your friends and family.
Heart Pin: Make your son or daughter a simple Valentine’s Day heart pin to wear to school on their shirt and they’ll enjoy being the coolest kid in the class. If you have scarce resources and virtually no time, just try and find some nice red or pink card stock to cut a heart shape out of. It needn’t be too thick or impractical but it should be far less flimsy than ordinary construction paper. Once you have the heart shape, safety pin it to your child’s shirt. This nice simple design helps your family celebrate the holiday with a lot of style and zero fuss. You may also use felt material or cloth to make the pin. Or if you are feeling especially in the V-Day spirit, cut out two felt pieces in identical heart shapes. Then, just stitch the edges together to create a seam after you’ve properly stuffed the heart with cotton or something else fluffy. The result will be a lovely cushiony heart and keepsake for your child.
Heart Balloon Man: Another idea for Valentine’s Day arts and crafts with your family is to make a giant heart man or “walking heart”. You will need to purchase a helium heart balloon, one of those giant ones for special occasions, from you local party shop or grocery store. These usually only cost a few bucks. But while you are out, also pick up some red or pink card stock and a roll of streamer paper. Help your children create arms and legs to make their walking balloon man by cutting the streamers into two identical lengths (your choice) for arms and two identical lengths about twice as long, for legs. The width on the streamers usually looks best if you keep it at about one inch across. All you have to do next is cut out four heart shaped hands and feet to be glued or stapled to one end of the streamers whose other end will be glued firmly to the balloon (on the left and right side for arms and two hanging down from the lower middle for legs). You now have your walking heart man but he is probably floating somewhere in your living room. To make him stand on the ground, glue one quarter on each of the heart shaped “feet”. Your heart walker will stand up right in his new streamer legs and his giant heart head will bop happily around somewhere up top. It’s a fun project your kids will be proud to show off later.
Marbleized Wax Hearts: A final fun arts and crafts activity for you and your family to do in celebration of Valentine’s Day is the marbleized heart project. You will need to find an oven safe pan with one or more heart shapes molded into it. This pan, similar to muffin pans, only with hearts, may be the trickiest part of the activity but around this holiday you can probably find one. A craft or specialized kitchen and cooking store is probably your best bet. So once you have the pan, the rest is simple. You will need to next just take a handful of unwrapped, paperless crayons and fill up the heart molds with them. Then, throw them in the oven, heat until melted, take out and cool and there you will have a tray of colorful wax hearts. Use single color crayons or multicolored conglomerations for the marble effect.