Getting all clever in time for Valentine’s Day

It’s still three weeks away. But at least over here, when it comes to tackling the holiday of love with ease and intention–major planning is involved. I’m talking about Valentines Day, and elementary school. I know that many don’t participate in the holiday–and I certainly respect their choice, and reasons why.  I have mixed feelings about it, but have decided to go about it this way until the kids can make their own choice about how to approach it. So to that end, we always make our own cards, and use the holiday to focus on something we appreciate about the recipient.

Here is my easiest plan yet.

Step 1–draw a huge heart, on a piece of white construction paper.

Step 2-Have your kids pose with it, and snap away.

Step 3-use an app like “Toon Paint” to turn the picture into something easy to reproduce in black in white. Pick a few of the images, so that the kids can pick which one they want for different kids and teachers and grandparents.

Step 5-Print the images out, small, so you can get many to a page. Print on any color paper.

Step 6- Cut them up, and let the fun begin. You can add glitter, or just write the recipient’s names in the heart. On the back Sam can include something he appreciates about that person.  Last year he wrote things like; “I like the way you play soccer with me at recess.” We try to do 1-3 a day. Then he can really focus on each person. I got the names of the kids from a calendar his teacher handed out for show and tell. I learn a lot about his friends by what he chooses to say about them, and what size card he picks!

Sam with heart Take 1

Here is another:

Mr. Valentine Take 2

Last year I missed the point entirely when I put all this effort into, and was disappointed when he didn’t get one “hand made” card back from his friends. What this is about is Sam having the opportunity to put himself into the exchange. What he learns from that, I hope will serve him well when he may not have the choice to opt of something he doesn’t want to do. Perhaps he will see it as an opportunity to make it have meaning for him, even if the circumstance doesn’t always dictate that. Or maybe he’ll just complain to his kids about how his mom always made him make cards…

The cards--printed and ready to inscribe

If you participate in the holiday–do you make cards? Buy cards? Mix it up? Avoid it entirely? Do you send them out to family too? OK, and what about the whole candy thing? Include or not? In the past I have insisted on no candy. But now it seems that everyone buys cards with loli-pops and what not. Maybe I’ll be really annoying and send ours with little boxes of raisins! I am so becoming that mom.


  1. You are totally amazing! Now I’m looking forward to getting ready for Valentine’s Day. We’ve never made our own cards before! Why haven’t we ever made our own cards before? This year, we make our own cards, lol. I always like getting the cards that Emma makes for me on Valentine’s Day. Last year I went out and bought her a rose and a little treat bag full of things she likes. I think Sam will be giving the greatest V-day cards ever!

  2. We make ours but I’m definitely not as creative. I usually let our kids look on Family Fun and pick their favorite (within reason) and then we spend about a week making Valentines. We’ve made fake i-pods (4th grader) out of the conversation heart boxes and our daughter picked song titles for her friends that she thought they would like. Last year, our kindergardener wrote “I dig you” with a white paint pen on red shovels we found at the dollar store. Then we tied a homemade card to the handle. For Valentine’s Day, our kids look forward to the special dinner we have (even the 12 year olds). We put on a tablecloth, light candles and we serve the kids heart-shaped pizza, heart-shaped jello jigglers, strawberries and they drink pink lemonade out of plastic champagne cups. We almost didn’t do it last year but we heard one of our daughters telling her friend about it. I hadn’t even thought about it yet this year but it will sneak up on me….thanks for the reminder! By the way, love the cards. I think I might copy you and have my first grader do the same thing this year, so cute!

    • Love the dinner as a way to make it a family love fest. SO fun. My mom used to give us a book every Valentine’s Day which I remember so fondly opening at breakfast. Really sweet ideas you have. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Oh you are so sweet! I hope so. He really has so little patience for the writing thing–that I have to space it way out. (He does like writing about snowboarding, skateboarding, and music though.) I am sure Miss Emma does an amazing job.

  4. Oh wow, there is a whole world out there that I know nothing about! Creativity is just NOT my strong suit. I love, love, love this idea! Obviously mine are too little right now, but I want to remember this – too cute!! Oh, and I say ditch the candy. Kids just don’t need more candy:).

  5. Love this idea. After reading your recent post about ordering stickers from shutterfly to use for valentines, I rushed right off and ordered some of my daughter. Maybe next year we will try this idea – super easy and fun! Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

  6. I love this idea! I have a couple of single girlfriends who would love to get these hearts from the cutest boys I know (mine of course). Thanks, Catherine!

  7. I am definitely making cards this year because I have no money for buying them. Our teachers ask us NOT to address them to make distribution easier and (my guess) to not hurt feelings.

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