Jean's an edgy mama of a 3-year-old girl I found through her rocking blog, www.artfulparent.wordpress.com. She ran a toddler art group for two years, though she's currently taking a break from that. She's also had articles about kid art published in Mothering and Parenting magazines.
Below are just a few of Jean's fun Valentine's Day projects for kids 5 to 10. I asked that she include recycled materials where possible, which she did.
Have fun this week being crafty with your kids!
Recycled materials to use: newspapers, magazines, old crayon stubs, cardstock or thin cardboard (i.e., from cereal boxes), fabric and ribbon scraps, old file folders.
• Stained Glass Heart:
Grate old crayons and crayon stubs on a cheese grater.
Fold over a sheet of wax paper, then unfold, and lay flat.
Sprinkle crayon shavings on one side, and fold wax paper back over the shavings.
Set wax paper sandwich between sheets of newsprint and iron on low heat to melt the crayons. Adult supervision is required for this part. Set aside to cool.
Fold over a piece of colored construction paper, cut a heart out of the center through both pieces of paper to create a frame.
Glue the wax and crayon "stained glass" between the two sides of construction paper.
If desired, punch two holes at the top and tie a string or ribbon for hanging. Hang in a window to let light shine through.
• Stuffed Heart Mobile:
Set two pieces of paper together, draw a heart on the top sheet, then cut the heart shape out through both pieces of paper.
Paint or draw on both hearts. Washable, non-toxic tempera paint is a good choice.
Turn over one of the hearts and squeeze a line of glue around the edge of the paper, leaving about 6 inches for an opening.
Set the other heart over the first, with the painted sides out, and press to seal. Let dry for several hours or overnight.
Stuff with crumpled newspaper or other recycled paper.
Glue opening closed. Use clothespins to hold closed if necessary while drying.
Punch a hole in the top and tie on a string for hanging.
Repeat as desired for as many stuffed hearts as you'd like. Try varying sizes.
• Bean Heart Face:
Draw a heart with glue on the front of a blank card using a squeeze glue bottle.
Set beans or small pasta pieces along the glue line. Try smaller beans such as lentils, adzuki beans, or black beans.
Add eyes, nose, and mouth if desired, first in glue, then with beans or pasta.
• Felt Board Card:
Open a folded blank card so you can see the interior. Glue or staple a rectangle of felt to the right side.
On the left side, attach a square of paper by gluing the bottom three sides. This creates a pocket for storing the felt pieces.
Cut a variety of small shapes out of felt, such as hearts, arrows, flowers, cars, or whatever the recipient is interested in.
Decorate the front of the card.
• Crayon Resist Card:
Use watercolor paper (Canson's Biggie Jr. is a good, inexpensive kid's brand) or blank watercolor cards.
Draw hearts on the front of the card using white or light colored crayons or a wax candle.
Paint over the entire front of the card with a watercolor wash to reveal the hearts.
• Multi-colored Heart Crayon:
Remove paper from old crayon stubs. Break into smaller pieces if desired. Note: use regular crayons, NOT washable crayons, otherwise you'll end up with a layer of whitish wax on top of the crayon.
Fill a heart-shaped muffin tin with the crayon pieces.
With adult's help, melt in the oven at low heat -- about 250 degrees. Watch carefully and removed when melted -- takes about 15 minutes.
Let cool, then remove from tin. Note: If possible, use silicone muffin pans for ease of removal. Otherwise, grease well first.
If desired, attach to front of a Valentine card with tape.
According to Jean, the projects below work for kids as young as 1 1/2.
• Collage Card:
Cut heart shapes out of newspaper, magazines, fabric scraps, tissue paper, and colored paper. Try a variety of sizes.
Glue one or many to card front.
Add glitter, ribbon scraps, heart doilies, etc., as desired.
• Heart prints:
Parent cuts sponges or potatoes into heart shapes for printing.
Set paper on a low table (a coffee table covered with newspaper) along with the heart "stamps" and shallow bowls or pie tins of paint. The child can use finger paints or washable tempera paints to print the hearts.
Show child how to dip the sponge or potato heart into paint, then press firmly on paper.