A Dozen Valentine Activities to Make and Do With Your Children

Even though my children don't understand Valentine's Day, they still like to enter into the spirit of things by sending Daddy an anonymous card, or even asking why Daddy hasn't sent Mummy a card! Here are a dozen simple craft and cooking activities that you could make in the lead up to the 14th February, or maybe adapt a few for half term the following week...

1. Make a bunch of Red Roses. I am just putting together a craft kit for the craft club I run which involves making up a bunch of red roses and they look great. Wrap and stick six drinking straws with green tissue paper to make the stems. Then cut six long strips of red crepe or tissue paper (about 5cm wide by about 50cm long) to make the flower head. Wrap each one individually around your hand like you are wrapping a bandage. Crunch the base of the flower, push the straw through and secure in place with sticky tape. Make up the bunch and tie with a ribbon and a message.

2. Write a poem or a funny limerick to the one you love. Get the children to help you to come up with words the rhyme. Either perform it live or write it inside a homemade card.

3. Love Heart Lavender Bags. A craft that has been popular with our fans are the 'Lavender Bag Faces'. So I thought why not just make up a heart? Cut out a heart stencil (about the size of a saucer) from some card and draw around it twice on some hessian, or any fabric with a loose weave. With a a children's plastic needle, help the children to weave a stitch in a nice bright red thread around the outside of the hearts, but not too close to the edge and leave a gap at the top. Make up a funnel with some card and fill with dried lavender. Fold over some ribbon, place in the gap and stitch up the hole. Decorate as you wish.

4. Newspaper Heart Bunting. Cut out a heart stencil (again about the size of a saucer) and draw around it on some newspaper. Cut out LOTS! Hole punch each peak of the heart and carefully thread string in and out of the holes until you have a long line of them. Space the hearts out and hang.

5. Button Bracelets. Every Valentine loves receiving jewellery, and I am sure you may have a few old buttons spare. Thread the buttons through some thin string elastic and you have some instant glamour!

6. Cress in a Heart Shape looks great and is very easy to do. Cut out a heart stencil but discard the inside. Put a decent amount of cotton wool in a container, place on the heart stencil and sprinkle with cress seeds to form the heart shape. Remove the card and water regularly. Watch your love grow!

7. Heart Shaped Sandwiches would make anyone smile at lunch time. You won't need a fancy cutter, just freestyle it and fill with something reddish like jam, ham or salami.

8. Heart Shaped Pizza's would be great after your special lunch for an extra romantic tea time. Either make your own base and mould it into a heart, or trim away a ready-made one - I am sure the crusts won't go to waste!

9. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries are an amazing treat for pudding. Simply melt some chocolate, dip in a strawberry, leave on some baking paper to set in the fridge and serve after your pizza. Mmmmm!

10. Heart Cup Cakes are fun and very easy. Just make up a batch of any cup cakes, top with some butter cream icing and pop on a love heart sweet.

11. Gingerbread Hearts. Make up a batch of gingerbread. If you have a heart cutter great, if not freestyle it and cut out as many as you like. Bake most just as biscuits to wrap in cellophane as a gift, but with the others make a hole near the top of the biscuit BEFORE you bake it. Once cooked, thread with a ribbon and ice a message on it for your loved one.

12. Chocolate Love Heart After Dinner Mints. I made these with my boys at Christmas as gifts but they were just round. Follow the recipe below but form the mixture into a heart shape.

*Egg-free recipe

200g of icing sugar (add more to the mixture if too runny. Ours was and we added a lot more)

3-4 tablespoons of cold water

1/2-1 teaspoon of peppermint essence

3-4 oz of plain chocolate (we just melted a big bar as some had to be tried in advance!)

Baking paper

• Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl.

• Stir in the oil and the peppermint essence. If it is a very stiff paste you are doing the right thing.

• Break into small balls and put on to a plate covered in baking paper.

• Press each ball gently with a fork to make it flatter and shape like a heart. Leave to set in the fridge.

• Break the chocolate into a bowl and place over a bowl of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted.

• When the chocolate is cool, dip the mints in to the chocolate (either partially or fully) and place them back on to the plate. (We also left some plain as Grandy doesn't like plain chocolate.)

• Put them back into the fridge until the chocolate has set.

• Taste test one (or two)!

• Store in an air tight container for a couple of weeks.

We wrapped ours by cutting out a square of cellophane, popping a square piece of card slightly larger than the pennies in the centre, piling a few mints on top and then bunching the cellophane and tying with some ribbon and a tag.

I hope you have fun with these.

The Author:

For more craft ideas to make with your children please visit my blog [http://woollymammoth.co.uk/blog/].

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