Instead of purchasing valentine cards this year, why not try creating homemade valentines with your kids? It's fun, inexpensive, and produces truly heartfelt results. Set aside an afternoon in February for the whole family to make valentines together.
Before you begin, make a box to hold your homemade valentines. An empty laundry detergent box works well. Tape the box shut, cover it with white paper, and let the kids decorate the box with markers, crayons, Valentine's Day clipart, or stickers. Cut a slit in the top of the box so kids can drop their valentines in. If you receive valentines in the mail, add them to the box. If you don't want to make a box you could use a picnic basket, a large canister, or even a purchased mailbox to store your valentines.
When your box is ready, it's time to make the cards. Open-ended projects get the creative juices flowing, so set out an array of materials and let kids customize the valentines to each recipient.
For the card itself use colored cardstock or construction paper, heart- shaped doilies, and foam hearts. You can find doilies and foam hearts at most craft stores during the season.
For drawing and writing set out markers, crayons, colored gel pens, watercolor paints, or calligraphy pens.
To decorate the cards try Valentine's Day stickers, alphabet stickers (to spell out messages), decorative ribbon, glitter, sequins, and craft jewels.
You will also need basic supplies such as glue sticks, a hot glue gun, a hole punch, scissors, and tape. Scissors that create a fancy edge are nice for older children. You can also find flower or heart- shaped stencils, stamps, and hole punches at craft stores. If you will be mailing the cards, have envelopes and stamps on hand.
If the kids are stumped for card ideas, here are a few to get them started.
Frilly Quote Card. Stick a paper heart on top of a slightly larger doily heart. Write a love quote on the front (search the internet or a quote book for ideas).
Photo Memory Card. Glue a wallet-sized photo to the front of a card. Write a memory the two of you shared on the back.
Mouse Card. Fold a heart-shaped piece of paper in half. Draw eyes and whiskers on one end. Attach a ribbon tail to the other.
Thumbprint Card. Ink your thumbs on a stamp pad. Holding them side by side, stamp them onto a card to create a heart shape.
Butterfly Card. Fold two paper hearts down the center. Open them up and stack them, then glue them together down the crease. Decorate the front with wing designs or thumbprint hearts. Glue on paper antennae.