I love making crafts to show others that we care for them, so I thought I would share my adventure of teaching my toddlers about Valentine’s Day!
One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is all the heart decorations draping over windows and stores. We usually don’t decorate for every holiday, but this momma was eager to do something else after repeatedly playing with cars and Little People all day.
As I pulled out my heart shaped doilies and construction paper I got a spark from my childhood. I could see the little Valentine’s Day mailboxes I used to make at school. And, my mom would set out heart-shaped chocolate boxes and stuffed animals to find in the morning.
I love making decorations and now I sat anxiously waiting to share this moment with my kids.
Teaching Toddlers About Valentine’s Day
Teaching toddlers about Valentine’s Day went differently than I expected. I decided to start with this heart project and poke around to see what they knew about love.
I started folding my paper and cutting hearts from our construction paper. The table filled up with stickers, shapes, and sparkly circles. As I cut out the shapes I started to intrigue some thoughts about Valentine’s Day. I asked them;
What do you think love looks like?
Who do you love?
How do you show your love?
Do you think hearts mean love?
The idea of how this little craft lesson was going to turn out went way different than it actually did. When I looked up to see how their pretty hearts were decorated, I saw pieces of paper everywhere!
Instead of decorating their hearts they decided to cut them up!
I preceded with caution, trying not to explode into my mode of having things done my way. I continued to decorate my own heart thinking maybe they just need to see how to decorate them. Nope, that didn’t work either. So I placed mine on the wall to give them some extra motivation to decorate actual hearts.
When I was done hanging up mine, my daughter came to me with her little pieces. I told her we are only going to hang up hearts because that’s what Valentine’s Day decorations look like. “Hearts mean love,” I told her.
She put her head down and returned to her work station. I gave her another heart and she decorated hers doubtfully. She stepped away and took a look at mine. My heart melted when I saw her excitement diminish. So then we both learned a lesson, and this is what I told her.
Love isn’t all about the good, or the cookie cutter version of what it’s supposed to be. It’s about doing things even when we don’t want to.
Love takes patience.
Love comes in all different shapes and sizes.
Sometimes our love doesn’t measure up to what people want, or need.
And God loves us no matter how big our heart is for Him, or against Him.
I didn’t want her to put her pieces up on the wall because they didn’t fit my version of love. I tried to teach her a cookies cutter version of what love is, and I’m so glad she tore up my hearts.
I told her to go grab her pieces so we could hang them up. The smile on her face stretched miles. She was so proud of what she created. I bent down and told her she actually taught me about love today. Her nose wrinkled and her eyes gleamed.
So as you’re teaching your little ones about the big special love day, keep in mind your decorations don’t have to be all hearts with pinks and purples. Love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You don’t have to be an expert to teach what love means. Just tell them what you have learned about love. We can’t hide the ugly and beautiful from our kids forever. The best thing to teach our kids about love is to show them what love feels and looks like.
More Valentine’s Day Crafts for Toddlers
After making our heart decorations I thought I would throw in some creativity with their hand prints. I’m not one who is very creative, or talented with the paintbrush, so if I can do this YOU can too! My inspiration came from this amazing blogger I found on Pinterest, Crafty Morning.
Since I have two toddlers, I decided to do a picture together. I had them each pick out a picture they wanted to create. My daughter picked the butterfly and my son picked the race car.
I didn’t expect them to like getting their hands and feet painted as much as they did.
Tips for Toddler painters:
- Paint fast so that the paint doesn’t dry
- Don’t paint around the edges of the foot, or hand too much
- Press their piggies and fingers to make sure the paint transfers
- Have wet wipes handy for when you are done.
For this project, I used a 9×12 Canvas Panel. I would recommend working in this size if you are doing multiple prints. I used acrylic paint for the prints, and it was really easy painting over the footprints. The wheels on the car took a second coat of white.
I only had three colors, so I used white acrylic paint and added food coloring to make the blue and green.
Toddler Love Handprint Art
Since my daughter is 3 and my son is 2, I didn’t have them help my with anything else other than their hand and footprints. They both wanted to do more, so I had them help me with another inspiration of mine I found on Crafty Mom.
On this project I had them both paint the whole canvas and clean up the mess! This particular design took a lot less time than the other, and still came out really good!
They really got a kick out of this!
Red paint on floors. Who cares?
Almost done! I love how the texture came out with them painting it!
So after they painting the whole canvas red we painting white hand prints. We waited for the red to dry first. We used a smaller canvas so we ran on of room for the letters. I wanted to paint fancy letters, but I’m not that talented. So this is what we started with.
I decided to trim the letters in black because it looked generic with just the white. I didn’t like the black outline either, so I tried to repaint the black and red. It turned out into a really cool shadow effect.