Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a teacher in the classroom, making valentines is a fun way to get the kids involved creatively! Read on to find some easy peasy Valentine’s Day crafts for toddlers and preschoolers that they’ll love!
It may seem easy to grab a printable and some crayons and call it a day (and then dig into some sweet Valentine’s treats), but there are so many ways to incorporate creativity into your little one’s valentine craft. Luckily, we’ve collected some great ideas so you don’t have to look any further.
What Are Some Valentine’s Day Crafts for Toddlers?
1. Salad Spinner Art
As a former teacher, the salad spinner became one of my greatest artistic assets when it came to toddlers and paint, always a dangerous game. For Valentine’s Day, you could use a heart-shaped paper and have the child pour red, pink, and white paint directly onto the paper in the salad spinner. Then, close the lid and invite the child to press the button. It’s a great gross motor activity and they’ll love seeing the way the paint has changed due to the spinning motions.
2. Valentine’s Wreath
Looking for something to hang on the door? A Valentine’s wreath is the perfect little project to get your little one involved in decorating for the holiday. Cut a hole in the center of a plain white paper plate, leaving only the rim. Have your child glue pre-cut hearts or valentine-colored tissue paper pieces to the wreath. Add a bow to your wreath for some extra pizzazz! Use a hole puncher and attach some ribbon and display on your front door or your child’s bedroom door.
3. Tree of Love
Trace your child’s arm on a piece of red construction paper. Cut the paper arm/hand out and (assist) your child in gluing it to a piece of pink mounting paper. This will be the trunk of the tree. Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter and have your child dip it into red, pink, white, or purple tempera paint. Encourage your child to stamp the heart around the tree to make the “leaves.” If you don’t have a heart-shaped cookie or Play-Doh cutter, take a paper towel or toilet paper roll and make a single-pointed inward fold along the surface to make a DIY heart shape stamp! You could also make “leaves” with red, white, and pink fingerprints! This would make an adorable Valentine’s card for a parent, grandparent, or just something fun to hang on the fridge!
4. Tissue Paper Heart
For the younger artist, sometimes keeping it simple with a craft is best (Believe me, I had a class of 10 one-year-olds at one point). First, draw a large heart onto a piece of construction paper. Take some valentine-colored tissue or regular paper and encourage your child to rip the paper into pieces. Tissue paper is a great sensory activity. Is it light or heavy? Crinkly or smooth? Allow them to hold the glue stick (they may need some assistance) and place glue where they want their paper. Encourage them to tear the paper into all different shapes, then place them inside the heart.
5. Coffee Filter Sun Catcher
You’ll need coffee filters (two per heart), ribbon or yarn, double stick tape, markers, scissors, eyedropper, a dish with water, something to protect your table, and paper towels (or a dosh cloth). Fold your coffee filters in half and cut them so that they’re a symmetric heart-shape once unfolded. Now, have your child color on the coffee filters. Make sure they know that their design will change! If they get bored easily, have a couple of others in the workspace so the colors can bleed through. Also, you could offer a new color of marker. Once your child is finished, it’s time to add water! Encourage them to use the dropper and notice how the water makes their design move and change. Talk about how the filters absorb water, just like a towel absorbs water and gets them dry after a bath. Let the hearts dry. Once they’ve dried, ask your child to pick “pairs” of the hearts. Use the tape to add ribbon or yarn for hanging the hearts, then sandwich the “pairs” together. Hang them in a front window for a beautiful Valentine’s Day suncatcher.
6. Handprint and Footprint Hearts
This one is always a classic. Kids of all ages love this process, even if the idea of painting a child’s limbs can seem…risky (The key is having a pre-wash of wet wipes immediately, just enough until you can get to the sink or bath). They make great keepsakes and memories frozen in time. Your child will love looking at it in years to come, comparing how much they’ve grown.
With footprint hearts, it’s best to do one foot at a time. Paint the left foot, then place firmly down on the card stock. Clean the foot, then repeat with the right. Make sure the second foot is carefully placed with the heel secured in the same place as the previous foot, with the upper foot rotated slightly to the right in order to make a heart shape. This process can be replicated with handprints. Make color photocopies and send out as Valentine’s Day cards to relatives and loved ones, who are sure to appreciate the adorable gesture!
What Are Some Valentine’s Day Crafts for Preschoolers?
7. Love Bug Valentines Craft
One of my favorite pictures from preschool was my entire class holding up the “Love Bugs” we made. A large heart makes the body of the bug, and instead of black spots, cut out heart shapes or stickers for your child to put on. For the head, attach a smaller black circle to the “v” where the two rounded areas of the heart meet. Punch two holes in the top of the head and encourage your child to thread a pink pipe cleaner through to make antennae. Your child will love their cute new “love bug” friend, and you could even encourage them to give it a name! For a three-dimensional “love bug,” make them with empty toilet paper rolls, googly eyes, and pipecleaners!
8. Paper Plate Threader
This one would be better for older kids, closer to preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten age. This is a great way to incorporate fine motor skills into a fun heart craft! Little hands need plenty of practice doing smaller tasks. Have your child color or paint a plain white paper plate. Make sure they know that the center portion will be cut out. Cut a medium heart shape out of the center of the paper plate. Then, line the heart with hole punches. Show your child how to thread the yarn through a hole, making sure not to pull too tight. Repeat until he or she fills in the shape and every hole has been connected with yarn. Display on the fridge or in a window! If you don’t have paper plates, you can also use cardboard!
If your kids are obsessed with slime, dough, or anything squishy and gushy, then homemade Valentine’s dough is the perfect Valentine’s Day activity. In a large saucepan, mix 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cups of salt, 4 tsp of cream of tartar, 2 cups of lukewarm water, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. The next part needs an adult’s close supervision. Put the pan on the stove and set to medium heat. Stir until the ingredients begin to thicken. Add red or pink dye and continue to stir. Remove from the stove and grab a microwave-safe bowl. Add flour to the bowl and pour the thickened liquid into the bowl. Begin to add more flour and microwave in 30 second increments to make it thicker. Let completely cool down once the dough is thick enough (it can be VERY hot). This is where the kids get involved! Place on a floured surface and knead. Optionally, you can add 40 drops of Marshmallow Fragrance Oil and knead until smooth. Add fun Valentine’s accessories like glitter, hearts, and Valentine’s cookie cutters! Then it’s time to let the kiddos play!
Valentine’s Day Crafts for Toddlers: Don’t Sweat It.
Don’t feel like you have to get crazy with your craft ideas! These are just a few ideas for easy Valentine’s crafts, and maybe they’ve sparked your imagination. The most important thing is creating memories and making a fun valentine that your child is proud to give. Use this as an opportunity to talk with your child about what love is, and different ways we can show people that we love them, whether that’s on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year!