A Valentine's Day Craft for Preschoolers: How to Make an Easy and Inexpensive                              Gift

When I began teaching preschool, I did the most amazing projects with the kids: tye-dye t-shirts, beaded necklaces, terrariums, bug boxes, and princess crowns. Parents would ooh and aah when eyeing their children's magnificent creations, but I was heading to the poorhouse. I couldn't keep spending my meager salary to buy these special materials. That's when I became committed to using only what was available at the school. I'd ask parents to donate recyclable items and got the kids excited about becoming friends of the earth by not wasting anything.

When I became a stay-at-home mom and hosted a weekly playgroup, I was once again on a tight budget. The parents appreciated my philosophy about using what was on-hand and not rushing out to buy new supplies. I kept a cabinet in my kitchen filled with stuff that I picked up at garage sales, thrift stores, and the dollar section at Target. It included crayons, paints, glitter, sequins, buttons, construction paper, scrapbook paper, egg cartons, ribbon, fabric, yarn, googly eyes, felt, and markers.

This Valentine's Day craft was a favorite among moms because -- not only did it feature a photo of their child – it was easy and inexpensive to make. Plus, the kids could put their own spin on it to create a one-of-a-kind project. Some moms would make several with their kids to give as gifts to grandparents and friends. So let's get started.

  1. Gather your materials: red, pink, and green construction paper, scrapbook paper, a small photo of your child, yarn or ribbon, crayons, glue or glue sticks, scissors, a hole punch, and a paper plate.

 2. Help your child cut out her photo in a circle and glue to a round piece of scrapbook paper. This is the center of the flower.


3. Help your child cut out a flower from construction paper or scrapbook paper. Glue the circle in the center. Glue the flower to the top of the paper plate.

4. Help your child cut out a stem and leaves to glue on the plate. Then step back and let your youngster get creative by coloring the plate and adding hearts. When she's done, make a hole on the top of the plate with the hole punch. Add ribbon or yarn. Tah-dah! You now have a wonderful Valentine's Day gift for family and friends.

When my boys were little, they loved the Franklin books. I had one for all the holidays, including this one for Valentine's Day. Kids relate to Franklin and his everyday experiences with buddies, school, and family. In this adventure, Franklin's Valentine's Day cards go missing and he worries when he has nothing to give his classmates. It's a delightful story of friendship that your children will love.

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