Tired of the store-bought Valentine’s cards? Spend a few hours crafting these homemade creations with the kids.

CD Photo Card

You’ll need: Old CDs, photos of your children, glue, paint pen, stickers, adhesive magnetic tape (optional). Glue a picture of your child on the front, in the center. Use a paint pen to write, “Your Love Makes My Heart Sing” around the disk. Decorate with hand-drawn designs or stickers. Turn it into a magnet by attaching a piece of magnetic tape to the back of the disc.

A Valentine Just For You

You’ll need: Construction paper and decorating materials. Use one of these ideas to make your cards different or have fun making up new ones. “You light up my life!” Use an outline of a light bulb. “Dad’s an old smoothie – never rough on me.” Use sandpaper and satin. “I’d like a Corn-ner in your heart.” Glue a dried corn kernel in the corner of a heart card. “Where have you bean all my life? Glue on a dried bean.

Tie-Dyed Valentines

You’ll need: White coffee filters, sheet of cardboard, washable color markers. Flatten a white coffee filter and place it onto a sheet of cardboard or anything that will protect your table. Let your child draw Valentine designs (actually scribbles will do) onto the filter with washable color markers covering the whole surface. Fold the filter into quarters and dip it into cold water for just a second. Open the filter and lay it flat to dry, then show your child how to cut hearts from the paper.

Tunnel of Love

You’ll need: Several large appliance boxes, heavy tape, paint or crayons, and Valentine stickers. Open the tops and bottoms of the boxes. Using heavy tape, attach the boxes together making sure the inside flaps are securely taped and smooth. Invite your child to decorate the outside of the boxes with crayons and markers. Write “Tunnel of Love” on the outside. When your child crawls through the tunnel, you may just want to follow him!

Paper ‘Love Bugs’

You’ll need: Pink paint or paper, an empty toilet tissue tube, construction paper or doilies, glue and pipe cleaners. Paint or cover the tube with pink paper to make the body. Cut two hearts from construction paper or doilies. Attach these with tape or glue on either side of the body and draw a face on the front of the tube. Add pipe cleaner antennae. Write a message on the wings such as “You make my heart flutter.”

Conversation Handprint

You’ll need: Sheet of paper, heavy construction paper or poster board, a crayon or paint, and Conversation Hearts. Print out or handwrite this poem on a sheet of paper. On construction paper (or poster board) either trace with a crayon or press your child’s hand with paint. Write your child’s name and the date next to his handprint and have him glue on conversation heart candies as fingernails. Attach the poem to with glue (trim it to size if necessary). “This isn’t just any handprint, as you can plainly see. For it is a special handprint made with love by me. Along with this handprint, I send hugs and kisses your way. And wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Me and Mom Hand In Hand

You’ll need: Red and pink (or blue) tempera paints, white construction paper. Brush red paint onto Mom or Dad’s hand and press onto white construction paper. Let dry. Next brush pink paint (or light blue, for a gender-based project) onto your child’s hand and press it on top of the adult’s hand. Name and date this keepsake

Say It on a T-Shirt

You’ll need: Fabric paint markers, fabric paint and a T-shirt. With fabric paint markers write, “Behind every hand is a heart that loves Dad” (or Grandma, or whomever the shirt is for). Gently paint the hands of your child with fabric paint and press them on the shirt. Use a variety of colors and allow the shirt to dry.

A Scoop of Love

You’ll need: Laundry detergent scoops, small candy pieces, cellophane wrap, ribbon and construction paper. Wash and dry the scoops or buy new scoops at the dollar store. Fill the scoops with a favorite candy – Hershey’s Kisses, conversation hearts, Hershey’s Hugs – then wrap the scoops in cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Make heart-shaped tags and add a message such as “A scoop full of love for you from…” or “A scoop full of hugs for you from…”

Heart Straw

Purchase heart straws from a craft or party store. Create this printable on your computer, or visit the website to print out her version. Hole punch the edges and stick the straw through them, using tape to keep in place if needed.

Crayon Hearts

Take the leftover crayons that always end up broken in the craft box and turn them into something new for your child’s class. First take the crayons and remove all of the paper wrapping, you can do this by soaking in warm water, and peeling and drying. Cut the crayons into smaller pieces and place them into a heart-shaped silicone mold and pop them into the oven. Once melted and cooled, you can pop them out and hot glue them to hand-made Valentine’s cards.

Tic-Tac-Toe Game

Buy packs of Tic Tacs (packs with two different colors inside) and hand-draw a Tic-Tac-Toe board on a small piece of card stock. Wrap the board and Tic Tacs inside a clear bag and tie with ribbon of your choice.

Matchbox Cars

Buy a pack of cheap Matchbox cars from your local party supply store (most sell them in packs), or find some old ones. Make your own or download this printable. Use colorful or patterned washi tape to attach the cars to the cards.

Noodle Necklace

Your toddler will love creating these necklaces to hand out to her class. Cover a table with newspaper and let your child go wild with paint and dry noodles. Once these noodles dry, have her help string them onto a piece of yarn to make necklaces. Download a printable or make your own. Attach your necklaces to the cards.

You Rule

Purchase rulers and heart stickers from the dollar store or local office supply store. Make your own “you rule” signs. Cut slits on either side for the ruler to run through then decorate with sticker hearts.

–Tania Cowling and Teresa Whiting 

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