With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it's time to get busy with some from-the-heart cards and crafts. Take a plastic shoebox or an empty basket and start filling it with things you have around the house - old greeting cards, bits of ribbon, lace, construction paper ... and then pick up some heart stickers, doilies and such when you're out at a drugstore or food shopping. Rubber stamps are another fun thing to have on hand. Add some colored pencils or markers and some glue or tape, and you're all set for some good old-fashioned valentines. Making their own Valentines will give your child a chance to exercise all sorts of developmental skills - small motor, visual discrimination, patterns, colors, etc. My favorite kid crafts are always the ones that are very obviously constructed by them! Have your child sign their name or personalize with a thumbprint!
Handprints or traced hands also give a special touch to a Valentine greeting ... so, here's one that is a sure hit! If you have a roll of drawing paper, have your child stretch out their arms and measure the paper out to his/her arm span (if you don't, you can attach lengths of paper together or look for "sentence strips" at an office supply store). Make the strip about 5 or 6 inches wide. Now, trace your child's hands on colorful paper and attach to either end of the paper strip. Write something like "Here's a hug for you!" or "I love you THIS MUCH!" on the strip. Have your child decorate the whole thing with whatever you want and roll up like a scroll - and you have a Valentine's HUG to give away to someone special! (Maybe you'll get one, too!)