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valentine craft hearts

There are hundreds of Valentine crafts this time of year, but let’s take it to the next level and make it a keepsake too!

Childhood is so short and the cute phases our kids go through are even shorter.

elizabeth painting hearts 2010 2I believe in creating keepsakes that remind us of those special changes in our kids, and Valentines Day gives us the perfect opportunity for keepsake heart crafts.

The princesses (my counsin Charity’s 3 daughters who live right around the corner from me) paint wooden hearts every year that they use to decorate their home for Valentines Day. The evergreen garland with fairy lights serves as the back drop. Down come the Christmas or New Years decorations that decorated the archway between their living room and dining room, and up go shiny-shiny mirrored ball ornaments in pink and silver, white tinsel garland and the painted hearts from previous years.

The girls look forward to the tradition of painting the wooden hearts every year. They are a family ritual, a fun Valentines craft, but they’re so much more.

Painting the hearts shows how their artistic ability grows and changes over the years from splashes of their favorite color when they can barely hold a paintbrush to creations that reflect their interests at the time.

Georgie painting hearts 2010

Who knows how that will relate to who they will become in the future.

My youngest son loved playing his toy piano and toy guitar but we didn’t think anything of it because his father and I aren’t musically inclined. When he was in high school we discovered he was a gifted musician. Now we’re so thankful that we kept the photos of him “playing with his toys” because it turned out to be more than meets the eye.

When we take the time for family activities, they are investments in our relationship with our kids today, creating great memories for tomorrow and also investing in the potential of all they can become tomorrow.

One year the princesses painted happy faces on all their hearts, and another year they were fascinated by Henna art and created pictures with paisley shapes and dots. Every year when the past hearts come out of the attic and hang proudly on the garland it is a celebration of who they were and how much they are treasured today as their works of art are proudly displayed in the center of their home.

torie painting hearts 2011Here’s how to give them free reign in creativity, but keep it no-muss, no-fuss for mom.

  • Put on an old shirt for painting that doesn’t matter if it gets ruined.
  • Put their shirt on inside out so if there is a paint stain, it won’t ruin that favorite shirt they just won’t take off.
  • Put on an old shirt of dad’s as a painting apron – a t-shirt is perfect to cover their clothes, a dress shirt can be worn backwards.
  • Cut a head hole in the top and arm holes in the side of a garbage bag for an art apron.
  • Speaking of garbage bags – use one as a throw-away table cloth to keep your table or floor from paint.
  • Recycle a plastic lid as a paint palette for each child. It keeps the paint from turning brown when they forget to clean off their brushes when changing from one color to the next – you know they’re gonna do it – and it makes sure everyone gets the same amount of paint to keep the sibling rivalry outrage to a minimum.

Photos by Charity Scarrow-Jones

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