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12 Fun Valentine’s Day Activities & Crafts Ideas for Kids (on a Budget)

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Valentine’s Day isn’t just a celebration of romantic love. It’s a celebration of love in all its forms, including the love you have for your kids.

Many people show their love by giving store-bought Valentine’s Day gifts. However, making your own gifts can be a more meaningful expression of love, especially when you do it with your children.

Craft & Activity Ideas for Valentine’s Day

There is an endless number of craft ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Making a craft project to say I love you is an inexpensive and fun way to spend time with your family and create lasting memories.

1. Valentine’s Day Mason Jar Vase

Mason jars are one of the most useful products ever invented. They’re so versatile that with a few inexpensive craft supplies, you can turn a simple Mason jar into almost anything. And the magic of the Mason jar is that your craft is virtually guaranteed to look fantastic.

It’s simple to transform a Mason jar into a pretty vase or planter for Valentine’s Day flowers using chalk paint. Just paint the outside of the jar with several layers of chalk paint, letting each one dry completely before applying the next.

When it’s completely dry, rub the outside with a small piece of course grit sandpaper to give it a rustic finish. Then apply a layer of creme wax to protect the paint. Find the full instructions on DIY Joy.

After the flowers are long gone, you can use the Mason jar to hold all sorts of things, including:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Utensils
  • Pens and pencils
  • Coins
  • Kleenex
  • Cupcake liners

2. Love Tree

Sure, you can buy someone in your life a bouquet. But making a love tree can be a lot more meaningful.

A love tree is a collection of white- or red-spray-painted bare branches arranged in a vase. On each branch is a heart-shaped ornament hanging by a red or white ribbon. You can take the idea a step further and write messages of love on each ornament or write something specific you love about the person you’re giving it to.

Find the full instructions for love trees on The House That Lars Built.

3. Felt Heart Mobile

If you can thread a needle, you can make a decorative heart-themed mobile. But it’s best only to do this craft with older kids who are capable of using a needle safely.

A felt heart mobile is nothing more than some stuffed felt hearts hanging from a bar — which can be anything from a tree branch to a plastic straw — with ribbon or baker’s twine. You can sew tiny eyes onto the hearts and decorate the bar with spray paint or washi tape.

Find the full instructions for felt heart mobiles on SewYeah.

4. Lipstick Heart Wall Art

If you have a lot of old lipstick hanging out in your makeup bag, this craft is for you, especially if you have pre-teen or teenage girls (although plenty of boys would have a blast with this activity too). You can use your shades of pink and red lipstick to make a cool piece of wall art. This craft makes an imaginative gift for a romantic partner, and it’s also an enjoyable project for a group of makeup-obsessed teens.

Start by drawing a big heart onto a piece of drawing paper or canvas. Use your lipstick to paint the heart using broad, straight diagonal strokes, one color per line.

Find the full instructions for lipstick heart wall art at I Heart Naptime.

Lipstick Kisses On Napkin Red Pink

5. Tree Stump Initials Carving

Most of us know it’s taboo to carve our initials onto a tree. While it’s an age-old custom, this act of love damages the tree’s bark and makes it vulnerable to disease and pests. But a thick branch or stump that’s already down is fair game and makes for beautiful nature-inspired art for your home.

First, find a thick branch that’s already fallen in your yard, neighborhood, or nearby park or saw one off a dead tree. While you can use any tree, those with thinner bark, like aspen or birch, are easiest to carve. Branches that are at least 4 inches thick are big enough, but using larger branches makes a statement.

Saw off a section of branch around 12 inches long. Make sure the bottom cut is level so the branch can stand without falling over. If thinner branches won’t stand up when leveled, cut a few inches off the top to make it less top-heavy. Next, use a pencil to draw your and your partner’s initials into the bark surrounded by a heart.

Last, use a Phillips-head screwdriver to carve your family’s initials into the bark.

Find the full instructions for a tree stump initial carving on The Idea Room.

6. Homemade Valentine’s Cards

Don’t waste your money on greeting cards. Make them yourself or find ways to recycle and reuse them.

Do-it-yourself cards are a fun way for you and your kids to express yourselves on Valentine’s Day. Try writing a short poem or explain why you’re grateful to have this person in your life. If you feel stuck, Better Homes and Gardens has some lovely DIY Valentine’s Day card ideas to get you started.

For younger kids, let them use their imagination by setting them up with supplies to cut out hearts, smear on glue, and go wild with glitter.

7. Create a Valentine’s Day Tinker Tray

A tinker tray is a tray of small, inexpensive things that encourage kids to make, build, problem-solve, and create. Home-schooling parents often use tinker trays to foster independent learning and thinking. And well-put-together tinker trays can keep a child entertained for a long time.

For a Valentine’s Day theme, stock your tinker tray with materials in red, pink, and purple. You can buy an abundance of inexpensive holiday-themed pieces at the dollar store. But you also likely have many tinker tray-appropriate objects in your home, such as:

  • Washi tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Construction paper
  • Plastic beads
  • Small jewels
  • Dish sponges (cut into pieces)
  • Clothespins
  • Dry pasta or beans
  • Buttons
  • Yarn
  • Wine corks
  • Pom-poms
  • Rubber bands
  • Golf tees
  • Rocks and small pebbles
  • Old keys
  • Paper clips
  • Bottle caps

You can put almost anything into a tinker tray. Your kids can get creative with the oddest bits and pieces. Just put everything on a big tray or even in something like a tackle box, and let your kids go to town.

8. Valentine’s Day Treats

If it doesn’t feel like Valentine’s Day to you without chocolate, make some tasty Valentine’s Day treats and desserts. You can invite your friends over to cook with you. And since sweets are involved, the holiday of love is also the perfect opportunity to start cooking with your kids.

You can find some unique and flavorful Valentine’s Day-themed recipes online.

9. A Jar or Box of Love Notes

You can make this another Mason jar project, or you can use any vessel you like. For example, search for a unique antique glass jar or simple jewelry box. You can often find these at thrift stores or antique malls.

Once you have a suitable vessel, write love notes to your partner, kids, or best friend on small pieces of paper — decorative scrapbook paper makes them even more special. Bonus points if you go the extra mile to make tiny envelopes for each one. Then put the notes in your jar or box so they can pull one out when they need a pick-me-up.

To get started, use some of these writing prompts:

  • I love you because _______.
  • My favorite memory of you is _______.
  • When you _______, it makes me smile.
  • One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from you is _______.
  • My favorite thing about you is _______.
  • I’m proud of you because_______.
  • I’m really looking forward to doing [future event or milestone] with you.

10. Valentine’s Day Heart Suncatcher

The Valentine’s Day Heart Suncatcher makes a beautiful piece of art that you can hang in front of a sunny window to brighten up a dreary day. And the best part? Even very young children can do this craft.

For this craft, you’ll need contact paper, glitter and other relatively flat embellishments (like jewels), red and pink tissue paper, red construction paper, and glue.

To make the suncatcher, all you have to do is cut out a heart “frame”, and then attach it to a sheet of the contact paper (which is sticky). Then, let your kids decorate the inside of the heart as they please with the glitter, jewels, and tissue paper.  When your child is finished decorating simply lay another piece of contact paper over top and trim off the excess.

Find full instructions at Happiness is Homemade.

11. Valentine’s Card Mailbox

If your kids need a little “mailbox” to store all the Valentine’s Day cards they get at school, then try this easy craft. All you’ll need are plastic plates (ideally red ones), ribbon, a hole punch, and foam alphabet stickers.

Start with two plates and cut one of them ⅓ from the top, straight across the plate. Next, flip the cut plate onto the whole plate so that the bottom of the cut plate is facing outwards; this will create a little “cavity” with sealed sides.

Use the hole punch to punch holes in the rim of both plates, every two inches. Then, take your ribbon and weave it in and out of the holes that the two plates are tied together securely. Leave an extra two feet of ribbon hanging loose so that the “mailbox” can be hung up.

Last, use the foam alphabet stickers to spell your child’s name, and let them go to town decorating it as they please.

Find full instructions, with pictures, at That’s What Che Said.

12. Valentine’s Fingerprint Tree

Parents never really get tired of seeing their children’s fingerprints and handprints in art, namely because it’s such a personal marker of a special time. This craft is a meaningful way to preserve your child’s tiny fingerprints, and it’s also really quick and easy to do.

All you need for this project is white paper, a black marker, and pink, red, and/or purple paint or ink (from a stamp set).

Start by drawing a tree trunk with empty branches. Then, ask your child to put the paint or ink on their fingers, and then make leaves with the pads of their fingers. The end result is a tree full of red, pink, and purple fingerprint leaves.

Find full instructions at Easy Peasy and Fun.

Final Word

Many people see Valentine’s Day through the lens of romantic love, as a day to share with a spouse or partner. However, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love in all its forms, including love for family.

Taking a broader view of this holiday can make it more meaningful because you can celebrate everyone you love. Leaving notes of encouragement for your kids or spending time making a craft together can transform their day and remind them that love is present year-round.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family?

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a writer with over 15 years experience covering personal finance, natural health, parenting, and green living. She lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and two young sons, where they're often wandering on frequent picnics to find feathers and wildflowers.

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