This first idea I found on Chasing Cheerios. It’s basically a tub that is (supposed to be) filled with sand or rice. I didn’t have enough of anything, so it’s a little dried oatmeal, grits, lentils, and rice :) My boys have always like playing in dried foods (like an indoor sandbox), and with this activity, you can switch out treasures to find throughout the year. For Valentines, we have foam hearts, erasers, rings, and confetti. The boys dig to find their treasures (sometimes there is a wrapped chocolate in there, too)!
If you’ve had a baby in the last few years, you may already get the weekly emails from babycenter.com (if you aren’t it’s a good resource for tracking your child’s development and it offers fun activities for their age). This week, they mentioned making heart shaped crayons using scrap crayons and melting them in silicone molds (Target sometimes sells these in their Dollar Spot around Valentine’s Day). My 4 year old helped peel the paper and my 22 month old was able to help with breaking the crayons. You can get detailed instructions here.
Voila! I wish I would have saved up enough crayons (or bought a box when they were on sale with back-to-school) to have been able to make these as Valentine’s gifts for the boys’ friends. Maybe next year.
Speaking of Valentine’s gifts/cards, the last 3 years, I’ve used my boys’ handprints/fingerprints in making their cards for the family. I wish I had photos of them to share with you, but I took the ideas from things I found in Oriental Trading magazines, which, by the way, you can also find online. If you go to their site and search the term “handprint” you will find lots of inspiration for your own cards. One year, we made our own version of this handprint heart and last year we made this ASL symbol for “I love you” inspired by this pin.
This year, we’ve made our own version of this card. I really like the phrase for the front of the card. On the inside of our card, I have both of the boys’ hands (one as a handprint from the toddler and the other as hand tracing from the preschooler). I have a feeling that it will be especially meaningful to the great-grandparents who don’t live close by.
Finally, one last thing. Here is a video of our family's favorite little “lovey” song. It’s a song by The Roots band called “Lovely Love My Family”.
Have a happy Valentine’s! (hey, I know it’s considered a “fake holiday” created by the greeting card families, but sometimes we need a little boost to remind us to how important our friends and family are to us, right?)