Chenille Kraft

10 years ago

Chenille Kraft
Chenille Kraft

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to teach children about love, kindness and the virtues of true friendship. It doesn’t have to be about ‘love’ and ‘marriage’, but instead all of the other areas that the word ‘love’ evokes. Hosting a party that encourages children to express their love for parents, relatives and friends while allowing them to be hands on is fulfilling for kids and hosts. Children enjoy creating things. From gifts and cards, to special treats, kids love to add their own special touch. This event can be a part of a school classroom party or it can be a gathering at home, but it is best done several days before St. Valentine’s Day.

Some of the activities that can be included are:

· Making Valentine Cards

· Creating Decorations

· Cooking and decorating heart shaped cookies, making homemade lollipops or making truffles

· Learning and practicing silly ‘love’ songs

· Creating ‘mailboxes’ for classroom Valentines out of old shoeboxes

Making Valentine’s Day Cards:

Provide card blanks, card stock weight copy paper or construction paper, glue sticks, old magazines for cutting out photographs, stickers, glitter pens, bits of candy, sequins, buttons, etc for attaching to cards. You will also need some pens, scissors, rulers and, if you have them, shape templates that include heart shapes. A digital camera with a photo printer will allow you to take pictures of the child so they can include that in special cards meant for their parents or grandparents.

Younger children (6 – 9) may need an example or two of how cards can be crafted, but try not to give in to the urge to do too much for them (and, yes, I know that is the hard part). Some children will try to copy your examples, but encourage them to add their own personalities to the cards. You can make a couple of posters with some witty and/or sweet sayings written on them about love, friendship, and families that they can copy or can use to think up their own sayings. Most of the older children (9-11) will be able to come up with their own ideas with very little prompting.

Creating Decorations:

Cutouts, such as hearts and cupids that can be used as hanging decorations, can be ‘enhanced’ with glitter by your guests. Paper flowers can be made with gift wrap tissue paper gathered together in tiny folds and secured in the middle with a green chenille craft stem (formerly known as a pipe cleaner). A light dusting with floral spray glitter will delight children’s love of anything shiny. Gathered together, they make a great centerpiece in a vase. The vase could have been a coffee can in a previous life before it was renewed with a bit of spray paint, some tin foil or a ribbon wrap. Acetate ribbon can be woven together in a basket weave pattern to make a table runner.

Decorations made by children do not have to look hokey, but should be appropriate in the skill level needed for the ability of the children involved. You will find suggestions and directions on the web or in your local book and craft stores. Just remember that children view their creations from a different set of eyes than adults see them. To them, they are beautiful, fine-art-quality works of art. By seeing their work from their viewpoint and encouraging their efforts, children will have the confidence to express themselves creatively and improve their skills. That encouragement is a Valentine’s gift… it is a gift of love.

Valentine’s Mailboxes

This is something that many of us remember from our own childhood St. Valentine’s Days. From simple boxes to elaborate affairs, these are fun to create.

Start with a basic, recycled shoebox. Cut a rectangular opening in the lid of the box large enough for cards to fit through by little hands. Now the fun begins. The top and the bottom of the boxes can be wrapped in gift paper separately, to make it easy to remove the ‘mail’ without ruining the box decorations. Cutting the opening and wrapping the box are adult activities. Allow the kids to decorate the mailboxes as they see fit, helping only when asked or when using hot glue guns. Boxes can be wrapped in plain, solid color paper, kraft paper or any patterned paper that is appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Add ons for decorations can be ribbons, stickers, doilies, ‘silk’ flowers, fabric, fabric trim, shaped erasers, small toys, or anything that can be glued or tied on, randomly or as a theme. Include a spot for the child’s name so everyone knows to whom the mailbox belongs! Let the kids be creative and have fun!

If this is a classroom activity, then they will be all set for the actual Valentine’s Day party. If this is strictly a home event, then allow the guests to ‘mail’ the Valentines they created to each other in their mail boxes. Of course, as always, make sure that everyone has a Valentine from everyone else! There is no love in hurt feelings!

About the author: Marilyn Lewis is a professional Interior Designer with over 27 years of experience. an event planner, and owner of the online retail shop which features favors, decorations, invitations and gifts for parties and events. Marilyn has been been planning, designing and executing weddings, fundraisers, debutante parties, birthday and corporate events for her clients for more than 20 years.

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