Frugal Valentine’s Day gifts to make with kids

Giving Valentine’s Day gifts doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on commercial cards and heart-shaped boxes of candy. Teach your kids the true meaning of the day, which is to treat loved ones in a special way, by making themed gifts with them. Whether they’re making something special for mom and dad or their best friends, they’ll learn about creating gifts in a frugal manner and they’ll have fun doing it.

Valentine sidewalk chalk

Create heart-shaped sidewalk chalk in valentine colors – find deals on all your crafting supplies for February 14 – and have your kids hand them out as gifts on the big day. Spray the inside of heart-shaped silicone cupcake pans with cooking spray. Use mini-muffin tins for tiny chalks or the full-sized pans for larger pieces. Pour ¾ cup of warm water into a small bucket. Stir in 1½ cups of Plaster of Paris (available at most craft stores) until it’s smooth like pancake batter. Drop in two to three tablespoons of red tempera paint powder and mix it thoroughly for a solid color or give it a couple of stirs for swirled color. Pour the mixture into the molds and allow it to dry for 2-3 days. Break free gently and have fun playing!

Somebunny Loves You Valentine cards

Cut out folded card shapes from red construction paper. Paint your child’s thumb with white poster paint and have her make a thumbprint in the center of the card to make the bunny’s body. (You can also draw your own bunny if you prefer.) Do the same with his or her pinkie to create the bunny’s two ears on top. Allow the paint to dry. Use a fine-point marker to draw facial features on the bunny. Use colorful markers to write “Somebunny” at the top of the card and “Loves You” at the bottom. Add a personalized note inside the card and send it to Grandma or other loved ones.

Valentine candy rings

Make a batch of edible candy rings for your child to pass out during a class Valentine’s Day party. Bend pipe cleaners into ring shapes to fit little fingers. Use craft glue to stick wrapped hard candies onto the top of each ring to create a “jewel.” Use red-and-white peppermints, heart-shaped lollipops with the stick cut off, or gold-wrapped caramel candies for a deluxe jewelry look.

Valentine heart lollipop flowers

Cut out heart shapes from red or pink construction paper. Use regular scissors for smooth edges or pinking shears for a scalloped look. Poke a lollipop stick through the bottom tip of four or five hearts, arranging the hearts around the small lollipop like petals on a flower. Gather a bundle of these festive flowers together and tie the sticks with a red ribbon. Present them to mom, a favorite aunt or teacher on Valentine’s Day.

Giving a gift of love doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Spend some time with your kids creating gifts for classmates, neighbors and family members. You’ll have a fun afternoon together and your kids will learn that not every great gift has to come from a specialty store.

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