DIY Valentines (Lessons in Counting and Giving Directions)

Sick toddlers are extremely hard to keep entertained without turning to hours upon hours of screen time (fully disclosure: we watched several episodes of Daniel Tiger, then Finding Dory today, so it's not like I'm some kind of No Screen Time Crazy Person). #balance.

Since it's officially February, I figured it would be ok to make her Valentines a little early. Now...we don't do a Valentine's Day event at her school, but we absolutely give/send them to our family, so taking the time to make something by hand means a little bit more more for our recipients than it might for a classroom full of toddlers hopped up on crack candy. 

My requirements for this craft were:
1. Not a lot of mess (i.e. no paints this time)
2. Lots of opportunity for decision-making from T
3. Stickers

We stopped by Jo-Ann's after dropping Daddy at work and I grabbed a few things I knew would fit the bill: 

  • Year-Round Scrapbooking Paper (because we do year-round crafts)
  • Felt hearts
  • Felt owl and heart sticker pack
...that's it. 

I ripped out the "Valentine's" pages and cut them each in half while I let the glue gun heat up. I had Tyler set out the felt hearts by color.

I told Tyler who the recipients of the Valentines would be, and let her choose the paper she thought each person/couple would like, then I wrote their name(s) on the back of the pages so we could keep track.

We decided to make 10 Valentines, so everything was about counting. I had her count out 10 felt hearts, then count that there were 8 owl stickers and 8 heart stickers.

I then let her take over when it came to giving directions and it led to some precious Valentines:
  • I took each piece of paper and told her who was getting the Valentine (was really grateful I'd had the foresight to write the names on the made things move along a lot faster and meant there was no upset if she didn't like the paper for that person since "YOU chose this paper for [X] because [Y], so I'm going with the choice you already made."
  • She then chose which felt heart she thought each person would like and chose where on the Valentine it would go by placing it on the paper; I hot-glued each heart.

  • After that, she chose whether or not someone would like an owl on their card, then chose what color they would like and THEN chose where the owls would go (since the owls were stickers, I just removed the backing and let her place them as she liked)...obviously she had some pretty specific opinions, since no two Valentines are identical.
  • We repeated the process of the owls with the felt heart stickers, then counted all of our Valentines again (still 10...phew!)
T had a great time making so many choices and really loved giving directions with no limits. At one point she asked if putting two hearts on a card was 'ok.' She lit up when I told her there were no rules, since the Valentines were hers to decorate and give away. It really let me know that I need to hold back a bit on some (not all) of the limits I set for her, so it turned into a lesson for me, most of all.


Lindsay Sweeting was in the world of Marketing and Publicity in her previous life. These days you're more likely to see her running after her toddler than running a meeting, but she does her best to find time to create new recipes, come up with fun activities for her daughter, and write about the craziness that is life in the Sweeting house.

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