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.

Decorating

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.

 

For another extremely fun Valentine’s craft and game visit http://www.kinderinfo.com/crafts/valentine-craft-and-game-for-kids.htm For more delicious Kid Approved Recipes visit http://www.kidapprovedmeals.com/funfood

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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

Instructions:
– 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

Instructions:
– 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.

Instructions:
– 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 Egyptian Amber Bath Bombs

bath bombs 2

This is a luscious mix a scents rolled into a wonderful fizzy bath bomb!

I use CandleScience’s Egyptian Amber fragrance oil for these because it’s a warm, rich blend that starts with a base “of vanilla, musk and sandalwood well balanced by lively top notes of jasmine, lavender and orange.”

Aside from the fragrance oil, the other items can be easily found at the local grocer’s.

What you need:

  • 8 oz. baking soda
  • 4 oz. flour or corn starch
  • 4 oz. citric acid (or cream of tartar can be used as a substitute if you’re getting your ingredients from the grocery store, but it is not quite as fizzy in the bath)
  • 4 oz. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. Egyptian Amber fragrance oil
  • 1 tsp. water

Steps:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, making sure to get all of the clumps out
  2. Mix your wet ingredients in a separate bowl
  3. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture – if it starts to fizz, then you’re adding it too quickly
  4. Roll them into balls and place on wax paper to dry or place them in molds to dry – candle tart molds and Easter eggs work well!

They usually only take about 2-3 days to dry, then enjoy!

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.

Supplies

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!

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!

Ingredients:

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.

Enjoy!

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.*

Sirena

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

Directions:

  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)

Directions:

  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

Directions:

  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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