Valentine’s Day is a fun event around which to teach your toddler about friendship, kindness, and love. If your toddler is enrolled in a school or daycare, or if you regularly attend a playgroup, you might want (or be expected) to bring Valentines for the class or group. Here are some easy Valentine’s ideas for your toddler or preschooler.
Have your toddler paint or draw freehand on cards made from construction paper. Or, buy some pre-printed postcards and let your child color them over the course of a few art sessions. You’ll have 10-12 valentines in no time.
Recycle old Valentine cards. Take last year’s tear-off Valentine’s (the kind you buy in a box of 28 or 32) or cut off the front of an old bi-fold Valentine card, and paste it onto a plain sheet of pink, red, or white construction paper. Have your child sign/draw on the back.
“Paint” hearts onto plain greeting cards using empty toilet paper rolls. We made this type of Valentine card for family members last year thanks to this idea from Kristina at Toddler Approved. Take a spent toilet paper roll and gently bend it into a heart shape. Dip the heart-shaped end into a puddle of red or pink paint, then stamp it onto the front of a pink, red or white greeting card. Repeat that process as much as you want, in any design you want.
After the paint has dried, your greeting inside the card can be as simple as “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Or, you can borrow one or more of the poetic greetings found here.
Cards are nice, but paper that toddlers or preschoolers can draw on is even better! If your preschooler isn’t interested in making cards or if you don’t have the time, activity books might be the perfect Valentine for your family to give. It’s easy to find character-themed play packs like these that include a mini coloring book, crayons, and stickers. Most are inexpensive. Sticker sheets or books, ColorWow books, or simple puzzle books work well for this age group, too.
Small trinkets, tattoos or toys
Most of us moms probably don’t want more tiny toys entering our houses, but it IS super easy to purchase a 10-pack of mini Play-Doh cups or a bag of Valentine-themed mazes and call it a day.
Sometimes these toys are a hit with the kids. They’re the ones the toys are meant for, anyway, and you can continue playing with them long after Feb. 14. My daughter still likes to use a cactus-heart stamp in her paper art creations (and on her arms) that she received from a classmate last year. She managed to protect a Frozen-themed temporary tattoo on her arm well enough from bathwater, long sleeves, and other messes to make it last almost a week. And she’s had fun using an expanded rainbow of Play-Doh colors through the additional cups she has received from classroom parties.
Roses are red, and so are apples. Few parents would be disappointed if their child comes home with one of their suggested daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Tie a heart-themed gift tag around the stem, and not only do you have a heart-healthy snack but an inexpensive Valentine.
The best Valentine my toddler brought home last year required even fewer materials while fulfilling her potassium quotient for the day:
A clever mom took a Sharpie and wrote “I’m bananas about you!” directly on the skin of a banana for each child in our kids’ classroom. Simple. Pure. Genius.
Of course, you should be sensitive to any food allergies in your child’s class or friend group, so ask the teacher or other moms if giving a particular fruit as Valentines would be an issue, and be prepared to have a backup snack in case some children cannot eat what you’re planning to give.
What are some creative, easy Valentines you’ve helped your preschooler give to friends?