Valentine’s Day Crafts And Treats For Toddlers and Preschoolers

Cutout Red Paper Hearts Hand Drawn ArrowsValentine’s Day isn’t just for grownups anymore. As soon as your child gets to kindergarten or first grade, he or she will be making Valentine’s Day crafts and treats. If you have an older child, who’s been brining home Valentine’s Day “stuff” from school, your toddler or preschooler may be asking to make some crafts with you as well. Even if you don’t have an older child, making these cute crafts and treats with your little one is a lot of fun and a great way to spend quality time together on a cold afternoon.

Valentine’s Day Cards

The easiest thing to do is to make some Valentine’s Day cards together. Your child can give these to parents, grandparents and close friends. Start with some red or pink construction paper. Fold each sheet in half to make a card shape. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to let your child trace a heart shape on the card. Or trace it on a different sheet of construction paper and help your preschooler cut it out. He can then glue it on the card. Let him decorate the card with crayons, markers, stickers, glitter and any other crafting supplies you have laying around the house. Ask him what he would like you to write on the inside of the card, then let him deliver his special Valentine’s Day card, or mail it to distant relatives.

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

An easy treat to make for this special day is heart shaped sugar cookies. Make a batch of your favorite sugar cookie dough, or pick up some pre-made dough at the grocery store. Roll it out and let your child cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake the cookies according to directions. Mix some powdered sugar with a little milk. Add a few drops of red food coloring to turn this icing glue pink. Give your child a spoon or pastry brush and let him brush it over the cooled sugar cookies. Then let him add sprinkles and small candies to decorate these special heart-shaped cookies.


The two of you will also have fun decorating the house for Valentine’s Day. Make a garland out of construction paper hearts and hang it over the door. You can also make a simple wreath by cutting large heart shapes out of pink and red construction paper. Cut them out and arrange them around the outer ring of a paper plate. Write “Happy Valentine’s Day” on the inside of the plate and your wreath is done.

If your child wants to make treat bags for a few special friends, here’s an idea. Cut two matching heart shapes out of thick cardboard or card stock. Use a hole punch to make holes around the bottom part of each heart. Line up the hearts and then use some red thread or ribbon to sew the two heart shapes together. Don’t add any holes to the top part of the hearts. This will be the opening of the bag. You can add a long piece of string toward the top to make a handle. Let your child add a few pieces of candy to each heart shaped bag before giving them away.


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Valentines Day Crafts For Kids

finger paintingValentines Day used to be a day for young couples to express their feelings to each other through handwritten notes and gifts such as roses and chocolates. Today Valentines Day is not just about romance but a good opportunity to show our appreciation to the people around us. You can share your love of creativity with your child through different Valentine’s Day crafts projects that can be offered as gifts to the grandparents, friends or teachers. Most people consider the personalized Valentine crafts as the best gift one can receive so here are a few ideas that will help you bring out the artist or craftsperson in you and your child.

A House Filled with Love

Age: 3+

What you need:
– Construction paper in different colors
– Glue
– A picture of your child

– Help your child cut the construction paper in a square (8″x 8″)
– Cut the roof of the house in a triangle.
– Cut little squares for the windows of the house.
– Glue the roof and the windows on the square.
– Cut a little “door” in the square and glue your child’s picture inside the house.
– Write a message inside the door.

Handmade Cards

Age: 1+

What you need:
– Finger paints
– Your child’s hand
– Thicker paper
– Ribbon

– If you child is very young, paint his/her hand(s) with red color then press it in the center of the thick paper.
– Draw the flower steam and some leaves
– With your child’s fingers, color the sides of the paper with a different color. Don’t worry if the paint smudges: the card will be even nicer.
– Punch two holes on one side of the card and attach the ribbon making a nice bow.
– Write a message on the back of the card or if your child is older, help him write his name.

Edible Valentine’s Day Treats

Age: 3+

What you need:
– 1 cup dark chocolate
– 1 cup white chocolate
– 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
– Strawberries, pretzels, angel food cake, etc.

– Microwave the chocolate in separate bowls until softened, steering from time to time until chocolate is smooth (1 to 3 minutes)
– Remove from microwave and add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to each chocolate bowl.
– Under your supervision, let your child dip pretzels, strawberries or other fruits in the melted chocolate.


Kids Activities Castle is an online Canadian community of like-minded parents who are looking to make other parents lives easier by offering information and ideas regarding children activities, kids classes and family friendly attractions.

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How to Make Very Vanilla Body Butter

Very Vanilla Body Butter

Very Vanilla Body Butter

This very simple recipe uses pure coconut oil, which is one of my favorite ingredients for bath & body products because it’s very moisturizing, 100% natural, and easy to find since it’s readily available at most grocery stores.  If you can’t find shea butter at a local store and can’t wait to order it, you can make it without the shea butter (just reduce the fragrance oil amount a bit if you do) – I do love my pure coconut oil moisturizers as well – however the shea butter adds a wonderful consistency and it’s great for the skin. I also opted for the CandleScience Very Vanilla fragrance oil because it is a warm, strong, sweet vanilla bean fragrance and comes at a good price.


How to Make

  1. Melt the coconut oil and shea butter just until they reach a melting point.  I melted mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. Pour the melted coconut oil and shea butter into a bowl.
  3. Pour the fragrance oil in the bowl with the oils.
  4. Add the freshly ground vanilla bean.
  5. Using an egg beater on low to medium setting, mix the oils. A lightly whipped consistency is ideal.
  6. Once mixed, pour the mixture into the containers.
  7. Set containers in the refrigerator until the oil hardens.
  8. Once hardened, I like to have them sit uncovered for about three days so that any water that may have accumulated on top can dry.
  9. Cover and enjoy!

Make a Country Birdhouse: Handmade crafts are the ultimate customized holiday decor

country-birdhouse-1-150x150Here’s another silver lining to the dark economic clouds still on the horizon this holiday season: handmade holiday decorations are not only less costly, they’re perceived as more meaningful as well.

From spending more time with loved ones to an improvement in our overall health, stories abound on the positive side effects of the shaky economy. Increased enthusiasm for handmade items may well be the latest good by-product of troubled economic times.

“Social science experts tell us that tough economic times realign people’s priorities, and we’re certainly seeing that all around us,” says Riddi Kline, vice president, marketing of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, a leading craft supplies retailer. “People are placing greater emphasis not just on cost-savings but on the meaningfulness of a decoration or gift. Nothing is more personal and customizable than something you make yourself. And this year, you can find craft ideas to fit every holiday decorating theme.”

So how do you decide what handmade decorations will enhance your home’s holiday décor? Margaret Skinner, director of customer education of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores offers a few pointers:

* Choose craft items that complement your home’s overall theme. For example, if you love clean, contemporary modern lines, make items that mimic that look. Crafts that incorporate reflective surfaces and metallic looks will fit well with contemporary themes. Softer fabrics and materials will mesh with a country theme.

* Make crafts that will endure and be durable for seasons to come. “You’ll invest your time and a bit of yourself in every item you make,” Skinner says. “Opt for items that will be easy to care for and that will appeal to your sense of the holidays not just this year, but next year and the year after that as well.”

* Give yourself plenty of time and space in which to create. You’re not rushing the season if you start working on your holiday crafts in early November or even late October. You’re just giving yourself plenty of time to accomplish everything you want to do. Also, dedicate a specific area of your home to your crafting and keep all your projects in one place – this way you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.

* Get kids involved. When you create crafts with your children, you’re not just making decorations, you’re making memories that will stay with them throughout their lives. Plus, making crafts together will make each item feel that much more meaningful when you use it to decorate your home.

* Shop smart when shopping for craft supplies. Jo-Ann Fabrics is a leading seller of supplies for virtually every type of crafting activity. You can find craft ideas and directions to fit every type of holiday décor at

Try this creative craft – a handcrafted birdhouse – that can be customized to fit with either a city or country theme:

A Country Birdhouse

Designed by Connie Glennon-Hall

Supplies and tools

  • 1 wood birdhouse
  • 1 can Rust-Oleum multicolored texture spray paint, autumn brown
  • 1 each acrylic paints in dark brown, green and ivory
  • wooden picket fence
  • Deco Art Snow Writer
  • 1 piece, 12 inches by 12 inches, brown cardstock
  • 1 piece, 10 inches by 4 inches, Homespun fabric
  • Xyron 510 machine with adhesive cartridge
  • Tacky glue and glue stick
  • 1/2-inch flat paintbrush
  • 1/2-inch detail paintbrush
  • wire cutters
  • scissors
  • paper trimmer
  • ruler
  • sandpaper

Assembly instructions:

1. Sand the birdhouse hole openings to remove rough edges.

2. Paint the entire birdhouse with dark brown acrylic paint. When dry, spray with autumn brown multicolored textured paint. When dry, paint ivory lines with the detail brush.

3. Cut a rectangle of cardstock slightly smaller than the bottom of birdhouse. Glue cardstock to bottom of birdhouse using glue stick.

4. With wire cutters, cut a nine- to 10-picket length from the fence. Dilute green paint and apply a wash coating over fence. When dry, glue to the front of house, along the front base.

5. Measure the three sections of the roof and cut brown cardstock to fit. Run the cardstock through the Xyron machine. Press the sticky side of the cardstock onto the homespun fabric, aligning plaids and allowing 1/4 inch margin around each piece.

6. Trim around roof panels – keeping the 1/4 inch margin of fabric – and fray the edges by pulling out threads. Glue the three panels to the birdhouse roof, allowing fringe to remain exposed.

7. Decorate the house base, fence, perch, openings and fabric roof with Snow Writer.

Uptown (City) Birdhouse

Supplies and tools

  • Wood birdhouse
  • Rust-Oleum textured paint, desert bisque
  • Deco Art Dazzling Metallics acrylic paint, Champagne gold
  • 1 piece, 12 by 12 inches, tan or gold cardstock
  • 1 piece, 4 inches by 9 inches, Glitter Organza 5/8-inch ribbon
  • Deco Art Snow Writer
  • Xyron 510 machine with adhesive cartridge
  • tacky glue and glue stick
  • double-sided tape
  • scissors
  • paper trimmer
  • ruler
  • sandpaper
  • paintbrush
  • beaded trim

Assembly instructions:

1. Sand the birdhouse hole openings to remove rough edges.

2. Spray birdhouse with desert bisque textured paint to obscure wood grain. When dry, paint entire house with champagne gold acrylic paint.

3. Cut a rectangle of cardstock slightly smaller than the bottom of birdhouse. Glue cardstock to the underside of birdhouse using glue stick.

4. Attach beaded trim to the side edges of the upper roof using tacky glue.

5. Measure and cut a piece of ribbon slightly longer than the length of lower roof. Put a strip of double-sided tape on one side of ribbon. Squeeze a thin line of tacky glue over the lower roof and then apply the ribbon strip over that. When dry, trim ribbon ends.

6. Measure the two sections of the large roof and cut two pieces of cardstock to fit.

7. Run the cardstock through the Xyron machine. Position the cardstock on work surface with adhesive side up. Cover adhesive side with five overlapping strips of ribbon. Repeat for both roof pieces. Trim ribbon edges.

8. Place the two roof sections, peak to peak and ribbon side down, over the wrong side of the sheer fabric; cut the sheer fabric 3/4-inch larger all around the roof shape. Create a “hinge” between the two roof pieces (wrong side) with a strip of tape. Apply two more pieces of tape along the bottom edges of the wrong sides of the roof sections. Fold the sheer fabric over both long edges of the hinged roof, sticking the fabric to the three strips of tape. Add bits of tape to the bottom roof corners and fold raw fabric edges in, as though wrapping a gift. Secure the roof to the birdhouse with tacky glue. Glue only one roof plane at a time; tip the birdhouse over and weight it down, until glue is dry. Then, repeat for the other roof plane.

9. Decorate the house with Snow Writer, covering up the raw fabric edges between fabric and wood roof.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Pumpkin Patch 3 Oil Soap Recipe

Pumpkin Patch Soap

Pumpkin Patch Soap

I love this recipe because it only requires three oils, and the three oils are ones you can find in the grocery store – making it an easy recipe to satisfy a quick soap making fix!


How to make:

  1. Prepare the lye solution.  Note that you should wear goggles and rubber gloves while working with the lye as it is very harmful to the skin and the water/lye solution gets very hot!  To prepare it, measure out the water first, I like to use a Pyrex measuring cup for the lye solution, and set it aside.  Then measure out the lye precisely on a digital scale.  Slowly pour the lye into the water, mixing it with a spoon.  Be careful not to stand directly over the solution so you don’t breathe it in.
  2. Measure out the vegetable shortening and coconut oil and then melt them in the microwave (just until it’s melted – don’t overdo it).
  3. Pour the melted vegetable shortening and coconut oil into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil to the other oils.
  5. Slowly pour the lye solution into the oil mixture (wearing safety goggles and rubber gloves), mixing it with a spoon.
  6. Once the lye solution is mixed in with a spoon, use an egg beater to beat the mixture on low, with intermittent spurts on high, until you have a nice trace (meaning it is well mixed, but does not have much of a whipped texture).
  7. Pour it into your soap mold.
  8. Let stand for about 20 hours.
  9. If it looks like it has hardened, then take it out of the mold and cut it.  If it still looks oily, keep an eye on it and cut it when it looks like it has hardened, however you don’t want to wait too long or it may become hard to cut.

This mixture makes a nice, creamy soap.  I did not color mine, but you can add a bit of yellow and red food coloring to make them more orange if you like.  Also, I thought it would be nice to wrap some in washi paper to give away as fall gifts.


Misadventures in Soap Making: Crumbly Soap

Sad, crumbly soap

Sad, crumbly soap

Autumn has arrived in my little corner of the world and I was so excited that I flung open the windows, cleaned the house, and started to make my first batch of autumn soap!

In my excitement, that day I had ordered some new fall fragrance oils, but then I just couldn’t wait the two days for them to arrive in the mail, so I bought some extracts from the grocery store and began my new soap endeavor.  This one was going to be a warm yet zesty blend of vanilla and lemon for a lemon soufflé soap.

In my autumn-eyed haze, somehow I managed to make one dire mistake in my soap making adventure: I added one ounce too much lye.  And if there’s one soap mishap that cannot (or at least SHOULD NOT) be rebatched, it’s lye heavy soap.

My lemon soufflé soap bars became a sad, crumbly mess, and one that I would not repair.

Some use lye heavy soap as laundry detergent, however I would not recommend this because lye heavy soap can not only damage your skin, but can break down the fibers in your clothes.

I didn’t realize what I had done until I placed my soap loaf into my wonderful Bramble Berry soap cutter, pulled down, and the soap was a bit crumbly on the exterior but incredibly hard to cut once past the crumbles.

I certainly didn’t want to break any of the strings on my beloved cutter, so I removed it and used my manual soap cutter to pierce through it.  And yep, it was hard, it was crumbly, it was lye heavy.

My super amazing Bramble Berry wire soap cutter that I cherish like I cherish my musical instruments, and whose strings I did not wish to break, mainly because I'm really bad at repairing stuff like that.

My super amazing Bramble Berry wire soap cutter that I cherish like I cherish my musical instruments, and whose strings I did not wish to break, mainly because I’m really bad at repairing stuff like that.

As much as I hated doing so, I had to toss the whole thing out.  One may not think that an ounce in a whole loaf would make much of a difference, but oh my, it does.  Oh well, my new scents should arrive tomorrow and I can get a fresh start…

Crafty Recipes: Non-Cook Playdough

Child's hand pounding colourful doughThis is a recipe that I created when I was working in preschool.  There isn’t too many opportunities when you want to make playdough with the children, especially since our kitchen was upstairs and didn’t have enough room to sit and make it with 16 children.  This meant that teachers in my center often made non-cook playdough recipes.  My revised playdough was so popular that teachers in other centers started using it. What you need:

  • 3 cups of Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of Salt (the more salt you add, the different the texture will be so if you want a course textured playdough, use more salt.)
  • 2 tablespoons of Cooking Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Cream of Tartar (this is optional and I have made it with and without the cream of tartar, it really just depends on whether I have it in stock or not)
  • 2 tablespoons of Liquid Dish Soap
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of Liquid Tempura Paint (you can find this at dollar, craft or school supply stores.)

Pour everything except the water into a large bowl and begin to Knead.  Add the water slowly until you have a dough like texture.  Dust the table with flour and give a small piece to the children to knead.  Pull out all the playdough tools you have and enjoy. If you store this in a ziplock bag, it should last about 5 to 7 days, give or take a few days.  You can also take this recipe and cook it since it is very similar to cooked playdough and uses all the same ingredients except the tempura paint. *Note: The quantities of ingredients are approximates since I never measured out the ingredients when I made the playdough with my class.  Add or remove some ingredients to get the desired affect.*


Crafty Recipe: Cooked Playdough

playdoughAs many of you know, I am a big fan of playdough.  Usually, I prefer to make a non-cooked playdough since it takes less time and I can make it with my kids.  Sometimes, though; I like to make the cooked playdough since it usually lasts longer than the non-cooked.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 6 tsp cream of tartar
  • Food Coloring


  1. In a large saucepan, mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add in the water and oil.
  3. Place on the stove and cook at a low-medium to a medium temperature.
  4. Stir continuously until the dough pulls away from the pot. (Another test is if it can be pinched without sticking to you fingers but be careful since it is hot.)
  5. Remove from the heat and place on a cutting board.
  6. Knead the dough until it has the proper consistancy.
  7. Break into 3 or 4 balls and set to the side.
  8. Add a few drops of food coloring to each ball and knead until the color is blended in.

*optional: if you are only making one color, you can add the food coloring to the water and cook the color in.*

Sirena Van Schaik

Crafty Recipes: Whipped Snow

SnowmanIt’s probably a little early to be dreaming about snow but with the muggy weather I had today, I’m almost ready for winter. Well, almost ready…okay, not really, but the thought of winter made me think that it would be an excellent time to share my recipe for Whipped Snow.

This is a fun little recipe to bring out on rainy days or as an outdoor activity on a warm sunny day.

What you need:

  • 2 cups of laundry soap (ivory flakes works really well but any type of powdered or flaked laundry soap is fine)
  • 4 cups of water
  • food coloring (this is completely optional but you can divide the whipped snow to make several different colors by adding a few drops of food coloring)


  1. Measure out the laundry soap into a large bowl.
  2. Slowly pour in the water as you mix the flakes with an electric mixer.
  3. Continue to mix on high until the soap becomes fluffy.
  4. Separate into several bowls and fold in a few drops of food coloring if you choose to color the whipped snow.
  5. Give to the kids and let them create their own whipped snow sculptures.

One thing about whipped snow is that it can be left out over night and it will dry in the shapes you created.

Sirena Van Schaik

Crafty Recipes: Milk Paint

Boy Painting wth Chalk PaintOkay, this is a very interesting paint since the end result provides a very shiny finish to the painting. It isn’t a paint that you will want to save but much like tongue painting, you can have a lot of fun with this paint.

It is very easy to make, it provides a different texture to work with and it has an interesting smell to it. The sensory experience will definitely be improved with this art recipe.

What you need:

  • one can of condensed milk
  • food coloring
  • resealable containers


  1. The amount of condensed milk that you use greatly depends on how much you will be painting and how many colors you are going to offer. Usually one can will give you enough paint for about 3 or 4 colors but you won’t have a lot of extras. A lot of people will use between 1/2 and 1 cup of condensed milk for each paint color. When you have decided what you are doing, pour in the desired amount into the small resealable container.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir until the color is well blended.
  3. Take out a piece of construction paper and paintbrushes and get painting.

*Mix it up: Mix up the craft by having your child paint on an art easel. I find Milk Paint is a bit thinner than regular paint so the child has to learn through trial and error (or cause and effect) how to keep the paint from dripping down the paper.*

Sirena Van Schaik

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