These homemade Valentines are the perfect way to get your preschoolers having fun while they craft something beautiful! Not only will toddlers and preschoolers enjoy getting hands-on with the finger painting process, but their hard work will produce a striking card that can be proudly given away.
So why not let them unleash some creativity these finger painting valentines for kids?! And just to make things super easy, you can grab a free printable heart template at the end of this post!
Valentine’s Day Finger Painting for Kids
The first time your preschooler receives a Valentine’s Day card is also the time you commit to exchanging cards in your classroom. Preschoolers and toddlers feel so incredibly special when they are giving valentine cards. And just like adults, they love homemade valentine cards the most!
While it’s easy to hit up the dollar store and purchase a large box of cards, that isn’t be nearly as much fun as making your own. But these homemade valentine cards for toddlers is so easy and require so little in materials, you probably already have all the supplies you need.
FAQ About Doing Art with Toddlers
By definition, process art emphasizes the act and process of making art over the product produced. It is open-ended, self-motivated and based on experience and experimenting. Characteristics of process art include:
> no specified outcome
> no step-by-step directions
> no sample for children to follow
> work is entirely of the children’s own choice, both in product and whether or not to participate
True process art is simply allowing children a range of materials to use and allowing them to create at their own cares and whims. Ideas for inspiration can be posted, however process art is not about the outcome, but rather the intent of the creator.
Here are some fun process art ideas to get you started:
> paint and an atypical “paintbrush” like a comb or using string
> oil and water paintings
> magazine collages
> glue resist paintings
> cellophane collages on sticky tagboard
Check out all my process art ideas for toddlers and preschoolers here.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) touts Process Art as highly developmentally appropriate for the preschool classroom. Some benefit of process art includes:
> nurturing social and emotional health
> reinforcing skills like focus, relaxation, and emotional sharing
> inspiring creativity and problem solving
> builds cognitive skills like comparison, planning, and problem solving
> encourages vocabulary development and verbal expression of language
Easy Valentine Craft for Preschoolers
This easy finger painting Valentine’s Day card got a lot of comments from other parents and teachers, and the children were proud of their finished product. The best part is that they did almost all of it on their own.
- White A4 paper (letter-sized paper)
- Paint (we used a variety of colors in the pink/red/white range)
- Glitter – we added this to some of the paint
- Pink (or whatever color you choose) card stock
- heart template (You can download them at the end of this post.)
The Set Up
Even though these DIY Valentine cards are mostly based in process art, there is just a little prep work to do, especially if you are making these with yoru toddler class.
Start by printing out the free heart template at the end of this post. Set out a variety of paints – we used red, pink, glittery pink (we added glitter to the paint – it’s less messy!) and white.
Now, invite your toddlers and preschoolers to join you in making these finger painted valentines! (And have them think of someone to give it to!)
Invite your Class to Finger Paint the Hearts
Have the children use their fingers to paint the hearts. Encourage them to use a mixture of colors and to cover the entire heart. Overlapping of paints is encouraged as it makes a lovely effect, and the finger paintings make these Valentine cards an extra special keepsake for parents and grandparents.
Your toddlers might use their fingers like a paintbrush as push and pull the paint on the paper. This is part of the process! While tidy little fingerprints are cute, give the children the freedom to choose how they apply the paint with their fingers. In fact, some might use their whole hand, and that should be acceptable too.
Let the hearts dry. We left ours to dry overnight just to be safe since some of the toddler in my class piled on the paint. Again, this is ok. plan ahead for it.
Cut Out the Hearts
When the hearts are dry, cut them out. I always encourage my older preschoolers to try to cut these out themselves as it’s a great fine motor skill, but some of them will need help.
Having jagged edges or uneven hearts adds to the appeal of a homemade valentine from a child.
Finally, Assemble the Valentine Cards
Again, your students might need a little help with this part. It’s time a assemble the cards.
- Fold the construction paper in half. This will be the cards.
- Glue the 2 smaller hearts onto the front of the card.
- Glue the large heart in the middle of the inside of the card
You can switch these around if you prefer, as you can see from our photos. While it’s nice to have an example for them to follow, it’s just as nice to let them be creative and make up their own design. The children might even have hearts hanging off the card, but that adds to the appeal of a valentine made by a preschooler or toddler.
This was a really fun activity that works well as an individual craft or as a group activity. I first did this craft with my own children who loved the finger painting part.
We often forget how much children love to get messy and finger painting is a great sensory activity. This was definitely their favorite part, along with mixing up the colors.
I repeated this activity with a group of 10 3-5 year olds, and the process was just as much fun. With the larger group, we completed the activity over 2 days . The first day we did the painting, and on the second day we did the cutting and gluing.
I’m pleased to say that these not only looked great but were well received by their friends! They were very proud of themselves when they handed them out.
Do you have any favorite valentines for kids to make on their own for family and friends?
12 Fine Motor Task Boxes$10.00
Grab Your FREE Printable Heart Template
Want to just print and go? Click the image below to get your free printable template for this activity! Then keep reading for more preschooler valentine activities and crafts for kids.
More Craft Ideas Preschoolers will Love
Here are more Valentine’s Day crafts for preschoolers.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
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