Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Celebrating Valentine's With Little Ones

I am blessed to have a 3-year old and a 4-year old. These are fun ages! Both kids are so eager to participate in crafts, songs, and cooking projects with Mommy. How great is that? I think it's important to come up with a project that your child can do largely independently. It's fine (and recommended!) that you supervise, of course, but for the most part your aim should be to find something that your CHILD can do and have some success at.

This Valentine's Day, I chose to do a keychain project with my 3-year old daughter and a sun-catcher project with my 4-year old son. Both did a great job and we all had a blast! Here's how to complete these projects with your own children:

Here are the materials you will need:

For keychain-
  • approx. 25 beads (pony beads are the easiest for young children to string because the holes are a little larger)
  • one pipe cleaner
  • one key ring
  • pliers or wire cutters for trimming pipe cleaner when done (not pictured- sorry!)

For suncatcher-
  • clean plastic lid (any size will do!)
  • a variety of transparent/translucent beads
  • Elmer's glue (will dry clear)
  • petroleum jelly (not in pic)

To assemble keychain-

1. You should start it. Choose one bead and thread it onto pipe cleaner about one inch from end. Fold over short end and give a quick twist. Your child can take it from here!

2. I like to put the beads in half a jewelry box because it's more stable and shallow than a bowl but still keeps them contained. Whatever works for you!

3. Let your child string the beads on one-by-one in whatever order he/she chooses.

4. Keep an ear out for falling beads- especially if you have a baby in the house.

5. Once all the beads are on the pipe cleaner, help your child thread the key ring on.

6. At this point, you can thread the long end through the first bead to create a circle. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the key chain a few times for security, then trim.

Voila! Let your child enjoy her handiwork!

To make a sun-catcher-

1. Start out by spreading a thin, even layer of petroleum jelly inside the lid. This will help the finished piece pop out more easily. We did this as a "group effort"- he started it, I smoothed it out and made sure there was even coverage.

2. Fill the lid with a layer of glue.

3. Allow your child to start randomly covering the glue-y surface with beads.

4. You may need to help adjust the beads at the very end to make sure the surface is as covered as possible.

5. Set the filled lid in a safe, warm location. I like a sunny windowsill, myself.

6. Wait. A couple days at least. You need the glue to dry almost all the way. At that point, you should be able to easily pop out the beads all in one piece. The remaining tacky glue will dry quickly once removed.

7. Add a skinny ribbon loop. There will be natural holes to thread this through created by the dried glue and beads.

8. Hang in the window and pray for sun! We had none on the day I took this shot- sorry!

Once your kids have put in all this hard work, why not reward them by baking some festive cookies together?

I'll be sharing the recipe for the above cookies on Friday. Be sure to join us for all the rest of the Valentine's festivities during our Valentine's Exchange of Inspiration and Ideas!

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day with YOUR little ones? Any fun plans this year? What types of activities do you all enjoy? Please post about it on your blog and link up! Don't have a blog? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

**Don't forget! Each day you link up or comment, you'll be entered in the final drawing to win either a blue topaz ring or a garnet necklace! See your choices here.***


Amy @ Finer Things said...

The beads look like fun, and what a great fine motor skill!

Kate said...

Wow, awesome ideas! We are definitely making the sun catchers tomorrow. All of my kiddos will love this project. (Although my youngest might be too busy eating the beads. Maybe we'll save it for her nap time!)

Phoebe said...

Great ideas!

I think my little man would have a lot of fun with the sun catcher. I think we will do that Friday.

Thank you for sharing!

mama2a&b said...

I think we'll have to try those suncatchers! We're always looking for projects that they can do mostly by themselves.

She Became A Butterfly said...

i don't have any kids of my own, but i babysit and i LOVE the sun catcher idea! i'm going to do this with them this week for their parents!

pookielocks at ymail dot com

Sherry said...

What cute ideas! :D My daughter loves doing crafts. :D