2.5 seems to be the perfect age for all the cheesy crafts- they can follow simple instructions and have fun creating things and the novelty of making a mess is still real. It's also the age of 3 minute attention spans.
With all of that in mind, I really wanted to make some Valentine's crafts with Caleb this year without putting too much effort into it. My kid likes the idea of crafts more than actually doing them- I weekly pick him up from school and church with blank papers in his backpack while watching other kids carrying papers COVERED in crayon and paint. So spending money on supplies or taking tons of time to plan out crafts seemed silly. I walked to our basement storage room to find all my pink/red paints and construction paper, printed off some heart outlines, and did a five minute google search to see what I could make with all of that. When Tyler went down for his nap this morning, I already had all of our supplies set up and let Caleb create for a few minutes at a time between playing, snacking, and his new favorite game of 'race' where we literally just run laps around our house :)
So, if you're in the market for some easy and doable Valentine's crafts with your toddler- here are my favorite (tried and true) four! I'm no art teacher and these are crazy basic, but I promise they'll come out super cute even if you have a kid who doesn't have a big attention span when it comes to crafts.
paint (I used acrylic)
paintbrushes, q-tips, or pencils
heart templates (I'm an awful drawer so I downloaded these for free)
Dotted Valentine's// This was my favorite! And Caleb surprisingly loved it and actually did it! I taped down 4 hearts from the printable above onto one 8.5x11 cardstock using washi tape and gave him red, pink, and dark pink paints to dip q-tips into. He went to town dotting his paper all over! After doing one, he was done. We came back to it a little later and he did another. After they dried and I had pulled the taped hearts off (washi tape comes off easily), I cut each sheet into fours to create little Valentine cards we can attach to his bags of cookies he'll drop off for friends next week!
Scrap paper heart// Well, we didn't actually do this one yet (which is why you don't see it in the picture). We don't have any liquid glue (lots of glue sticks though!) and Target was all out. Justin's picking some up for us today so we work on these tomorrow! You just make a large heart outline in glue on paper and have your toddler put pieces of colored paper onto it (that either you or they have torn/cut into little pieces). I found some cute red&white wrapping paper scraps to use to add some fun patterns. I imagine it'll be super easy, take all of 5 minutes, and I'm hoping to frame it.
Painted heart// Similar to the dotted hearts, I taped one heart from the printable above in the middle of an 8.5x11 white cardstock. He was sick of q-tips by this point so we switched to different sized paint brushes and I let him paint all over the page. After the paint dried, I simply cut the page down to 5x7 and now it's perfect for matting and taking out each year as a little Valentine's art!
Watercolor hearts// Ok, 100% he was over crafts by this point and just wanted to watch me 'find the baby hearts.' Starting with white cardstock, I drew small hearts with a white crayon. We don't have any watercolor paints, so I simply mixed water with a small drop of acrylic paint to create some (I used red paint to make this pinkish color). Then Caleb and I (aka mostly me) painted over the entire paper to 'find the hearts'. We're going to try this again tomorrow to see if he likes it more!
...and as a bonus from all the painting with heart templates, we also have a handful of cute heart cutouts that are painted! Unintentional (because I didn't even think how cute they would turn out) and fun for writing notes on to stick in Justin's suitcase while he goes snowboarding this weekend.
I'm positive I missed some other fun and easy toddler crafts- have any other ideas for me? (Not the toilet paper roll squished into a heart one- Caleb refused to do that one at school this week!)