While trucks, tractors and superheroes usually dominate my preschooler’s playtime these days, I encourage him to invest in arts and crafts time, as well. If it’s a spur-of-the moment rainy day project, I prefer not to have to dig around for 35 craft-supply items or make a Target run for items that we won’t use again, so simple is best in my book. The internet is filled with crafty ideas, but they often don’t turn out as expected (at least at our house!). My 4-year-old helped choose 3 Valentine’s Day-themed crafts and we tested them at home – these are the results!
Mail delivering and receiving is big at our house right now for pretend play. I had nearly everything I needed at home already, so I wrapped an empty oatmeal container with brown paper and glued it to the top of a wrapping paper roll. Perfect timing because I had a bunch of nearly-empty wrapping paper rolls left over from Christmas! I used a glue gun to attach the oatmeal container to the wrapping paper roll, but it didn’t stick well due to the cylindrical shape, so I went with my backup plan: duct tape (we only had yellow duct tape, as you can see). Wyatt decorated the mailbox with crayons, stickers and tissue paper. I attached a cardboard flag with a brad. Let me be honest here: in addition to the issue with the awkwardly-taped oatmeal container, the wrapping paper roll did not stand upright well, so it would work better with a shoe box attached to the bottom for support. The yellow duct tape made the mailbox appear fairly hideous. Wyatt still seemed happy with the result, though, and declared this was his favorite Valentine’s Day craft project. My plan is to put small treats in the mailbox for my kiddos leading up to Valentine’s Day.
This craft was super simple and required virtually no prep time (my favorite type of project!). Using scrapbook paper I had at home, I cut the paper into strips and folded each strip in half. Wyatt stuck glue dots on the end of each piece of paper to form the heart shapes. We made hearts until he wandered off to watch Veggie Tales, and then I used the glue dots again to attach the hearts together, forming the wreath shape. A little ribbon attached to each side with a glue gun and the wreath was ready to hang! This project took all of 10 minutes to make. While I was happy with the simplicity and end result of this project, the excitement factor was fairly low since Wyatt only stuck glue dots on the paper.
These DIY coasters are just plain adorable, in my opinion! Since we live in the country, I asked my hubs to cut some coaster-size pieces from our firewood pile. I’ve seen pre-cut pieces at craft stores, as well. I sanded them down and my preschooler painted a heart on the wood pieces using a cookie cutter as a guide. You could use a stencil instead if you prefer not to get paint on your cookie cutters. After letting the paint dry, a coat of gloss polyurethane is applied. Wyatt loves painting, so these were a hit. The wood pieces did turn out a little bumpy, though, so these particular ones may not actually work as coasters. If you’re planning on using them as real coasters instead of decorative pieces, the pre-cut ones are definitely smoother. While Wyatt enjoyed the painting aspect of this project, there was quite a bit of parental involvement with the sawing and gloss polyurethane. I let the paint dry overnight, so that’s something to consider if you’re in a hurry or looking for a quick rainy day craft instead.