Thanks to schools adopting the day as "Friendship Day", the older child has always looked forward to Valentine's Day preschool through lower elementary. The younger one, not so much. He could take it or leave it. But, what they both like is an opportunity to create something fun and share with friends.
As the kids started thinking about what sort of card they want to make for their friends this Valentine's Day, we started to casually look back at the ones we have done so far. We were quite happy to visit the memory of how they arrived at the design and how they executed it and how incredibly satisfying it was to them.
While the cards we've made over the years may not all look polished and stylish and sophisticated, the emphasis at home has always been on being creative and enjoying the process without much weight on the end-product's superlative finish and appeal. After all, what is slightly unappealing to my eye could be dazzling in theirs.
The arts and craft supplies are on low-level shelves and cubbies, organized in a way to help them find things and make sure they are returned to the right spot for next use. They each have their own space to create, which is a luxury as I keep reminding them way too often.
Anyway, the younger child's favorites were Prehistoric Splotch Creatures, Shaving Cream Marbling, and Lettuce Stamping.
The older kid preferred the more crafty Valentine gifts like her Salt Dough Heart-In-A-Box and Kisses Mice Envelope Card.
The Hanging Decorations she made a while back are still cherished in our house: Striped Hearts and Plump Hearts.
Of late, the older child has played with PicMonkey to create some custom graphic cards. One of my favorites that I made for the kids using picmonkey is the Valentine Coupons.
Boy were they thrilled to see a coupon that said "One single serve dessert you pick at the bakery"... and another that said "Stay Up Late Till 10 p.m." Quite a dilemma for the kids to "Save" the coupon for a special day or just go out and splurge and get that dessert eaten right away!
Of course, being the artful mommy, the coupons came with the restriction: Not Valid on School Days, Limit One Coupon Per Day.
Some art exploration that became Valentine's cards include Watercolor Cling Wrap, Textured Paper Hearts, Oil Pastel Masked hearts, Reverse Stamped Hearts, DIY-Scratch-It Cards.
My favorite in terms of the idea is the younger child's "Flags Valentine" cards, and crosswords. He picked out some interesting flags of countries and designed a simple card with a One-line Joke for each. I like that he tried to match up his friend's roots with the right country flag where possible to personalize the cards.
The older child is not quite gung-ho about Valentine cards and that's okay. No obligation, no pressure. If it seems like fun and she wants to do it, then it's a lot of fun for me to join in. She is still convinced that it has to be something unique that she has made, not store-bought.
For now, the younger child is strongly leaning towards his current obsession and trying to come up with something he thinks is fun to create... We'll see how it shapes up over the next two weeks.