Since Roman times, people have celebrated a mid-February festival — once called Lupercalia and celebrating fertility, the holiday was changed by Pope Gelasius in 496 A.D. into a Christian feast day in honor of the Roman martyr Saint Valentine. Today, 25% of all cards sent in the U.S. per year are valentines.
And why not? In addition to proclaiming love, valentines can be lovely, bright, traditional, and endless in variety. As such, they make a wonderful craft for children, who can easily decorate large paper hearts with simple things found in grocery and craft stores and around your house.
Construction paper in classic Valentine colors (red, pink, purple) — or not!
At least one good heart-shaped template, made of cardboard, that you can trace around to make valentine hearts. (Sometimes these can be found in craft stores.)
Scissors, regular and/or pinking edged
Glue, traditional and stick
Paper doilies that are slightly larger than the heart-shape
To decorate your valentine hearts, choose from:
Smaller doilies, either whole or cut
Commercial valentines, either whole or cut
Stickers (old-fashioned valentine or floral themes, or any of your choosing)
Small pom poms
Small paper cups for candies or baked goods (available at specialty or grocery stores)
Small paper hearts
Tissue paper shreds
Crinkle cut paper
Party napkins, whole or cut up
Foam hearts and other shapes
Crepe paper pieces
Markers, to write messages
The list is endless! We collect valentine items from year to year and store them away when not in use. Most of these things are available in craft and similar stores. Younger children, especially, seem to like the really tactile items like pom poms, feathers and candy cups.
It’s easy to host a small or large group to make valentines. Try putting each item in its own small bowl. Or have guests dress up or wear hats for a Valentines Tea that includes mini sandwiches and juice or tea in teacups. (Second-hand stores are a good source of old teacups.)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman
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