As we rapidly approach Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the need to orchestrate your child’s Valentine’s card exchange or bake sale or various other important crafts that seem to take over this time of year. I find this time of year challenging – two kids with two class lists, various goodies and cards to buy, multiplied by lists that also come from various extracurriculars (Brownies, for instance and Original Kids). When it comes right down to it this means chaos this week as my children write Valentine’s for at least five different groups of kids while also juggling homework. It is fun – to a degree, but really few kids can sit pencil in hand scrawling names each night for an hour and really it can be crazy-making for any Mommy. And on top of that of course we cannot forget that we need to spend time with our significant other and somehow also schedule a babysitter. WHEW!
I have a lovely guest post here from BlogEnergizer that suggests fun ways to include the whole family in the holiday. But I want to also point out that we as Mommies need to give ourselves permission to step back and take a break. If there isn’t time to get the bake sale goodies done too, then buy something and be happy that you contributed, or skip one or two of your commitments. It isn’t possible to do it all, so cut yourself some slack. And remember while children may need guidance and help printing the names every now and then it’s okay to step back and let them take ownership of their Valentine’s Day. In fact it’s necessary.
7 Ideas for Kids
1. Children love to celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends. This is the day of the year that they can show their friends how much they mean to them. One of the best inexpensive crafts that your children can do is to make homemade Valentine’s Day cards to hand out at school. Some ideas: help your children to cut out card sized hearts for the cards. The hearts can be cut from red and pink construction paper. The front of the heart can decorated with stickers, glitter and even ribbon to make each homemade Valentine card special. A personal note written on the back and signed by your child finishes the back of the card.
(clipart courtesy of http://www.pixabella.com/)
2. Your children will need a way to carry their homemade Valentine’s Day cards to school. A special Valentine’s Day tote bag will be the best thing to carry cards to school and bring all of their cards back home. Start this simple craft with a paper grocery bag. Attach ribbons to the top of the bag to make handles for the Valentine’s Day tote bag. The tote bag it self can be decorated with cut out hearts, markers, ribbons, glitter and stickers.
3. Your children can make special treat bags to go with each of the Valentine’s cards that they hand out. Start by choosing either chocolate candies or conversation hearts to fill the treat bags. You can get pink and red color tulle from your local craft store that can be cut into squares to make the treat bags. Place the square of tulle on the table. In the center of the square, you can help your children to place a small pile of candy. Pull up the sides and tying them together with ribbon.
4. Create homemade chocolate candies or suckers for friends. Many stores offer kits that include the candy molds and instructions for melting the chocolate. Another idea is to create chocolate spoons. We like licorice dipped in chocolate. It’s relatively easy too.
5. Many children like to give Valentine’s Day gifts to their teachers. There are a few gifts that your children can make for the many teachers that they have. The first gift idea is to give the teacher her own special candy stash. This usually works best with small chocolate candies but can be done with any type. Start with a clean dry mayonnaise jar with the label removed. Fill the jar with the candy that you have chosen to use. Cover the lid with a square piece of fabric in colors that remind you of Valentine’s Day. Tie the cloth onto the lid with a ribbon. You can help your children to print up labels for the jar saving a special message for the teacher.
6. For bakes sales or teacher gifts you can make cookie bouquets. Start by helping your children to bake heart shaped sugar cookies. Before you bake the cookies you will want to place a wooden dowel into them to make the stem for the heart flowers. Ice the cookies with red and pink icing if you want.
7. You and your children can make a Valentine’s Day apron for a teacher or grandparent. Start out by getting a plain apron from a craft store or cooking store. You will want to make sure that the fabric that you choose for the aprons will take paint. Have your children use paint pens to decorate the Valentine’s Day apron for their teacher. This is a great craft to let your children’s creativity flow on.
One of thriftymommas favourite fun outdoor things to do this time of year for children is: fill a water spritzer or two (so no fights with sibs) with water coloured by red and pink food colouring and spray the snow in your yard pretty colours. The kids may make hearts or names or anything they want. Oh and my final tip, buy up the Valentine’s Feb 16th or 15th for next year. Always marked down for pennies.