Valentine’s Day is such a fun holiday for children. Most of us have fond memories of making a special valentine box for school or sifting through all the phrases in a box of valentines to find the perfect one for our classroom crush. But have you ever paused to realize that this holiday, so much more than others, revolves around words and sugar? Neither are exactly applicable to babies and toddlers.
Toddlers are naturally loving and giving, so it’s fun to find ways to celebrate a day about expressing love and kindness to others. Your little one likely can’t write their own name, cut hearts with scissors or perform other traditional valentines crafts. So it takes a bit of creativity to find safe, fun ways to celebrate this holiday. Here are a few of my favorite activities for toddlers:
Salt dough ornaments – Make a small batch of salt dough (1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water) and make your own shapes or cut with cookie cutters. You can add thumbprints or even footprints to commemorate baby’s first Valentine’s day. Then bake the dough on a low heat setting for several hours until dry. If you are really ambitious, you can even paint your creations once they are dry. Need a little design inspiration? Just search “salt dough valentines” on Pinterest.
Melted crayons – This activity is so loved in our house, my oldest STILL asks to do it. Collect any broken crayon pieces and break or cut them into even smaller pieces. Let your little one mix and match them into muffin tins, mini silicone cups or any other small oven safe container. Let them melt on a low heat in the oven until the wax has liquified. Remove and let harden again and your little one can create their own valentine masterpieces with their multi-colored crayons!
Fun with food – Strawberries, cucumbers and cheese are all fairly easy to cut into heart shapes. Trim the edges of your little one’s favorite sandwich into a heart shape to make a fun Valentine’s Day lunch. Experiment with food placement on the plate to create a flower or heart shape, or take a cue from a Cotton Babies’ staffer and use a sticker to transform a piece of fruit into an iconic Valentine’s Day treat!
Hugs, kisses and snuggles: this is a no-brainer, right? Take a few extra moments to sit with your little one in your favorite chair and just enjoy the day. Read a book, sing a song… just be together.
Do you have other fun ways you celebrate Valentine’s Day with the littlest members of your family? Share with us in the comments!