When we enrolled my daughter at her school two years ago, I fully expected the laundry list of “parent must-do” activities: Bake fairs, parent-teacher nights, conferences, etc. What I was not expecting, and what caught me completely off guard the first year, was the request by teachers at Valentine’s Day.
As mentioned before, I do not consider myself particularly crafty. I have learned to overcome the panic attacks that used to suffocate me when entering a craft store and I have learned to just let some things go in the middle of craft time at our house (paint on the table, glitter on the floor, glue on the cheek). But when I received the newsletter from my daughter’s school that had the following guidelines for their Valentine’s Day celebration, I felt more than just a little overwhelmed.
There is a card exchange only. No cupcakes, no streamers, no cupid fanfare. This, as a parent of a child with a "sugar allergy,” I was able to embrace wholeheartedly. It’s the second part of the guidelines that stressed me.
"Valentine’s Day always provides a wonderful opportunity for a fun craft project for you and your child. For a special treat, try making cards together rather than buying them. Handmade greetings are truly meaningful for all concerned and appreciated for the time and love they convey."
So no prepackaged cards that simply require folding them to fit into the tiny envelopes. A craft… a “fun craft project” and “wonderful opportunity” were not meshing.
Last year we simply cut out red hearts, added princess stickers and my daughter painstakingly signed her name to each and every one of them—30 in all. This year, I decided to ramp things up a bit.
I did the basic Internet search for “kids valentine crafts” and had to scroll down the page past the very clearly advanced parental involvement and skill crafts to the more elementary, but also creative looking projects.
We settled on “Feet Hearts” found on the FamilyFun website.
All one needs for this project is heavy contstruction paper or cardstock, glue, scissors, a marker and flat-bottomed jewels.
My daughter and I took a trip to the craft store to purchase the materials and then spent a good hour working our way through the first 20 of the valentines. The rest are going to have to take place this weekend when destructo little brother is napping (he was having way too much fun trying to glue the jewels to the table).
The craft was easy and the cards turned out quite cute. I do feel bad that her feet cutouts look a little strange, but I do blame that to my weakness in cutting on a line. Fortunately preschoolers are unlikely to notice that her foot looks more like a slug than a human appendage.
The real measure of a successful project is my daughter’s absolute delight in sitting with me at the table, talking to me about her project, her day, asking me to help, asking me to let her do it instead and then carefully laying her masterpieces down to dry. I am now a full-believer in the homemade Valentine’s Day Cards. They are special and each one is unique—just like our kids!
This article originally appeared in February 2011.