Crafting with Toddlers – A Valentine’s Day Craft

The Challenge: To perform a successful Valentine’s Day craft with two toddlers – my niece (age 2) & my son (age 2.5).

My Inspiration: I found this adorable craft on Pinterest and figured it seemed easy enough to accomplish with the kids.

What I Need: 

  • A white canvas
  • Acrylic paint (3 colors – Pink, Purple, Red)
  • Thin cardboard (I used a discarded food box)
  • Printer
  • Masking tape
  • Paint brush

Who is Helping Me:  The toddlers! I needed their willingness and their paint covered index fingers to accomplish this craft.

Who is NOT Helping Me: The toddlers! They didn’t quite understand the concept of singular fingerprints and they wanted to go hog wild finger painting. I had to be very controlling during the process – see below.

Also, I went to the eye doctor shortly before editing the photos for this post… I had my eyes dilated which robbed me of my close-up vision so my ability to edit the photos was severely inhibited.

How I Did It:

  1. I went into my word processor and typed the letters” L,V,E” and increased their size until I felt they were appropriately proportional to the size of the canvas. I also found a heart clipart and increased its size until it was similarly proportional to the letters. I printed the letters and the heart out.
  2.  I cut the letters and the heart out from the paper and taped them to the cardboard. I used the printed letters as my “stencil” for cutting the cardboard. I left the printed letters attached to the cardboard with the masking tape. Since I’d be using the cardboard letters a stencil on the canvas, I didn’t worry about perfection.TapedLetters.jpg
  3. I positioned the letters and the heart where I wanted them and taped them down to the canvas using the “tape loop method”. The “tape loop method” is when you fold a piece of tape into a cylinder so that you make a sticky-side-out loop for taping stuff together.. I know ya’ll know what I’m talking about… I just don’t know what the fancy technical term for it is. I covered the entirety of the letters in masking tape before I taped them to the canvas so that they’d hold up a little better.tapedlettersall
  4.  I splooged a small amount of each colored paint onto a paper plate, sat the toddlers down and forced invited their compliance. I took the hand of one kid at a time and gently dipped their index finger into one of the colors of paint and instructed them on how to make a fingerprint. After each kid made a sufficient amount of prints in that particular color, we’d move onto another color. We repeated this method until the canvas was very full of finger prints. I had to hold and guide their hands quite a bit. They both wanted to just smear paint all over the canvas wherever they pleased. Again, I will remind you that I was exceedingly gentle in correcting this unhelpful desire and tried not to rob them of all their fun.
  5. Once I thought we were finished, I removed the letters/heart and I realized that their little prints were not quite dense enough to distinguish the outline of the letters. I had already washed their hands and they had moved on to playing with toys, so I had to creatively solve this problem on my own. I replaced the letters/heart stencil and found a paint brush and gently blended their prints that were along the border of the stencil. This made the letters more obvious without completely robbing the craft of it’s childlike craftsmanship.Painted.jpg
  6. I removed the stencils and let the canvas dry far away from curious little hands. Here’s the final product:FinalProject.jpg

Would I Do It Again?: Totally! I do think the kiddos may have been a tad too young to fully enjoy and participate in the craft, but with a little forced  encouraged participation, they liked it! They pretty much like anything that involves paint and getting messy, so I don’t think they were phased by the increased complexity of this particular craft. I like what we did with blending the paint around the letters. It looks a little messy, but everything about life with a toddler is a little messy, right?




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