Apparently, I have a thing for bad Valentine’s puns. But hey, if you’re going to let your cheesy flag fly, Valentine’s Day is the holiday tailor made for it.
With both boys in preschool last year, we went handmade all the way and Xavier’s Valentines were the most hands on. I kept gravitating toward designs that included something (other than candy) that the pint-sized recipients would find fun and might actually use, which is why we ultimately opted for these crayon Valentines. (The photos and tutorials that inspired our project are here and here.) The terrible play on words was all for the parents. And Xavier was all over a project that involved crayons and the oven. What four-year-old wouldn’t be, honestly?
We started our project with a silicone mold with heart-shaped cavities. In a perfect world, I would have saved all of our little broken nubs of crayon to make our heart crayons, but in the world I lived in at the time, I had probably long ago thrown out such nubs. So we actually purchased a couple of new packs of crayons and sorted them into color families. Peeling the crayons was tedious, but breaking them into pieces was, as I remember, one of Xavier’s favorite steps.
After the cavities were filled, we baked the crayons at a very low temperature for a few minutes until they melted and then set them out to dry. The marbled results were honestly better than I expected as I was sure the colors would all run together.
We used pre-cut paper hearts in red and pink for our base and cut out smaller white hearts with specialty scissors to glue on top. I had Xavier address the back of each pink or red heart before I attached anything to them so any mess ups were easily recycled and replaced before anything was attached. I let Xavier decide who would get which color crayon (a process which, as I remember, he made much more complicated than it needed to be but also relished in). We attached the crayons to the white hearts with Zots (which worked surprisingly well, as the crayons were fairly heavy) and the sticky dots were easily removed when the kids wanted to use the crayons.
We added the obligatory cheesy message around the crayon hearts (“Happy Valentine’s Day, for crayon out loud!”) and–voila!–fun and functional Valentines.
It makes me nostalgic to think of how difficult Xavier found the process of writing his own name on each heart last year, and how much simpler (and enjoyable!) he found the process of writing both his name and his friends’ this year. (Note how he converted the “oops” on the one below into a flower–it makes me smile every time I look at it.) He’s certainly come a long way in one short year.