Today we had our Valentine’s Day party and I wanted to make some last minute Valentines for my son’s preschool co-op class. It’s a small group so I figured he could help me make them, that way they would hold some significance when he handed them out– or in my head they would!
Our toddler enjoys painting and I found an easy way to incorporate painting into making Valentines by using my Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine. This way he is working on his colors, motor skills, vocabulary (words line straight line, curved line, dark, light) and shapes and we get to give our friends something at the end of it! I love making tasks a fun learning process instead of doing it all for him. He has come to find pride in his work and exercise his creativity and problem-solving skills, all from a little arts and crafts time.
Below you will find a rough step-by-step process on how I made these simple valentines and how I incorporated my toddler in the creative process. This is a beginner Cricut project, one that will help you understand the very basic ability of the machine and design space. You don’t necessarily need a Cricut if you don’t mind cutting them out by hand, and if your toddler/preschooler can cut then that’s a perfect time to practice! I love finding excuses to use my Cricut, even for simple projects so this is how I chose to do it.
Paper – Any kind (please avoid buying new, get creative on finding paper to use!)
Paint, we used Prang Washable Watercolor Set, 8 Classic Colors with Brush, Assorted Colors (80525) but anything you have laying around will do 🙂
Glue Dots Craft Roll, glue or double sided tape etc
Anything else you’d like to decorate with!
Step one: Have your little one paint anything they want onto a few sheets of paper, depending on how many Valentines you’d like to make. (We did two hearts per valentine and had ten so we needed at least 20 total and I had him paint two pieces of paper.)
Step two: Allow the paintings to dry. We put ours safely in front of our fireplace to speed it up.
Step three: In Cricut design, start a new project and use the heart shape tool to create a heart that will fit on the size of valentine you would like to make AND fit on the painting to be cut out. If you’re new to Cricut design this part may be confusing but I’ll try to share photos.
Step four: Take that heart and hit select, then copy and then paste two times. Now you have three hearts to put in a row. Our painting was standard 8.5″ by 11″ so we did three hearts across.
Step five: Choose Select all, then attach, and copy then paste. Repeat this to fill up the page with enough hearts to be cut out from your painting.
Step six: Choose select all, weld, and now you’re ready to hit Go!
Step seven: After the cut is complete, remove from the mat and do the entire process again with your other paintings. In order to make this a learning activity for my toddler, I chose to make the next set of hearts slightly larger to discuss using comparisons.
Step eight: Put all the cut out hearts into two piles. Cut or select your Valentine card/paper that you’re going to put the hearts on. We cut out little cardstock pieces from a couple sheets of cardstock we had lying around, but anything would work!
Step nine: Allow your toddler to pick from the “big” heart pile or the small and you attach a glue dot to their selection. You then allow them to place on the valentine as they see fit –no matter how it looks. 🙂 Then they do the same with the opposite pile of hearts, continued for however many hearts you want per valentine. Use words like bigger and smaller, color descriptions and any descriptive words about what they see.
Step ten: Write a note on the back or decorate the valentine even more, it’s completely up to your child’s preference. We were out of attention span at this point which worked out fine. An idea for the back might be something like sticking a treat on the back or an invitation to play sometime, or simply the words ‘Happy Valentine’s day!’