With Carson’s birthday right before Valentine’s Day I’ve found I’ve become more invested in celebrating the holiday (Hallmark/candy holiday or not) and it makes it fun to celebrate in small ways leading up to the big one for us! I thought I’d share what I came up with for this year in the hopes that it sparks some fun for you and your little one!
Make sure to tag me on Instagram if you end up doing any of these; I’d love to see your LO enjoying the fun!
1. Heart Shaped Rice Krispies
This one is SO easy and perfect for toddlers. Carson’s biggest role was scooping the Rice Krispies into the bowl and mixing and he LOVED it. To make it extra special for the holiday, we added red food coloring and cut them into hearts using these Valentine’s Day cookie cutters. Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 10 oz of mini marshmallows
- 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
- Red food coloring
- Melt butter and marshmallows in a pan on low heat until combined; add in two drops of red food coloring if you’d like and mix
- Move butter/marshmallow mix into a bowl and gradually add in Rice Krispies until everything is covered
- Lay out mixture into a pan or baking dishes and press out evenly based on your preference
- Let cool and harden before cutting into shapes or squares. Enjoy!
2. Handmade cards
Another toddler favorite, I used an ice cube tray from the dollar store and these paints I picked up at target to let Carson go to town. By sticking with a small color pallet of pinks/purples, I encouraged him to cover the page so that I’d have enough room to work with. After his art dried, I cut out a heart in a section that had good coverage and glued it into the center of a blank Valentine’s card (another Dollar spot find at Target). I wrote a short note and let him “sign” his card along with the year for sentimental sake.
3. Homemade play doh
I discovered iHeartNapTime’s homemade play-dough recipe and loved how easy (and toddler safe) it was. To keep in line with the Valentine’s Day theme, I recommend sticking with the typical pinks/reds/purple/whites and add some fun sparkles to the mix! I also picked up these Valentine’s Day cookie cutters to cut the dough into different shapes.
4. Reading books
I love switching out books for the holidays and will include a new one in this year’s V-day gift (full post coming soon!). Here’s a few that we like:
5. Tissue paper craft
If you’re like me, I have a weird amount of tissue paper laying around. Draw a heart on a sheet of paper and encourage them to glue strips into it. This is a great activity to practice their gluing skills!
6. Jumping. Conversation Hearts
All you need is some chalk and a sidewalk for this game! Jumping around is big in our house so I drew some conversation hearts and jumped from heart to heart. He LOVED it and you can easily use it for words of affirmation too.
Rainy/Snowy? Cut out big hearts using construction paper and tape them on the floor for some indoor fun!
7. Cookie baking/decorating
Any family favorite recipe can be turned into a holiday treat and a great activity to do with your toddler. I personally love Rachel Parcell’s sugar cookie recipe but you can take any kind and cut out any Vday themed shape you’d like (or use the Valentine’s Day cookie cutters from the other activities)! I’m also planning to make some brownies and plan to add a little layer of pink frosting and mini heart sprinkles I found at Target. Use this time to talk about what you’re doing, how much you’re adding, the time it takes to bake and cool, etc. there’s so much your child gains from doing every day activities with you!
8. Valentine’s Day Day Coloring Sheets
There are a ton of printable Etsy files out there like this adorable digital Happy Valentine’s Day Coloring Book (50 pages and it’s only $5!) if you have a printer at home. For those of you who’d rather purchase a coloring book, I found this toddler coloring book and this adorable I spy Valentine coloring activity book on Amazon for less than $10 each!
9. Watch a Valentine’s Special
I know screen time can be controversial but we enjoy cuddling up on the couch with one of our treats and watching a Valentine’s special. Like books, it’s another opportunity to talk about different aspects of the holiday. If you have Prime video, they have a tons of cute shows you can watch with your little one. Here are a few of our favorites:
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Valentines Special
- Pete the Cat: A Very Groovy Valentine’s Day
- One Zillion Valentines
- Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
10. Home decor art
If you can’t already tell, we love crafting in our home. An easy way to create some Valentine’s Day home decor is incorporate some of that art! You will need a square canvas in any size of your choosing, painters tape, and paints in your preferred colors. First start out with taping out a heart in the middle of your canvas then fill in around it so that they can only paint inside it. Let your little one go to town with paint! Once everything has dried, pull off the tape and voila! You now have a cute, sentimental piece you can hang up every year. (Pro tip: write the year on the back so you can look back on how little they were!)
11. Stained glass
For this craft, you will need construction paper, packing tape, and tissue paper in various colors pre-cut into strips. To prep, cut out a heart in the center of a piece of construction paper then cover the space with packing tape so that one side is exposed and sticky. Encourage your little one to stick on pieces of tissue paper to cover the area. Once you’re done, hang it up on a window and watch the sunlight come through!
One of my goals as a parent is to teach my children to instill a sense of community in them and the importance of giving back. Holidays like Valentine’s Day can be a great way to highlight that point and about caring for one another. There are tons of local websites that you can sort through to find what would be most appropriate for you and your toddler. One great opportunity is to make extra homemade cards and take them to senior living centers or hospitals.
13. Counting + colors with conversation hearts
As toddlers are getting comfortable identifying colors and counting, use the infamous Valentine’s treat of conversation hearts to talk about them and play! Separate similar colors and count how many end up in each group.
14. Valentine heart puzzles
This easy DIY Valentine’s game only requires some paper and scissors. To play, cut out a bunch of hearts out of paper (card stock will help these last if you have it on hand; you can even laminate with tape if you’d like to go the extra mile) and “break” the heart in half going in different zigzag patterns for each. If your little one is a little older, you can turn it into an educational game with things such as letters and have the upper case and lower case on each side to match up!