The most important thing to remember when making valentines with toddlers is that they will never do exactly what you want them to do. Prepare for the unexpected. Patience is key!
Safe things for toddlers to use. I was overly determined to let my 22-month-old do the work on his Valentines this year so the grandparents and Daddy could have some of his art.
Bubbles has an obsession with smelling the glue sticks. He won’t glue things to paper, he doesn’t eat it, he just wants to smell it. I am not even sure where this comes from, but it says non-toxic so I just let him. He colors on his face and hands, the markers are washable. I am not worried about any of these things.
While doing this though, I made a mental list that I thought other moms could find useful, especially if you’re new to getting your kids involved in crafting.The best part of all of this is that all I did was write to and from on each of them. He colored all of them and eventually let me help him put stickers on them. Crafting with toddlers is so hands on that I forgot to take pictures for the last half of it. These were pretty much the only ones I took.
1.Know your child’s limits.
Bubbles hates having anything wet or sticky on his hands, so I had to hold the stickers and let him push them down on the paper. So I knew not to bring out any paints, though the edible paints he loves! Though that’s for a different post entirely.
2. Be prepared for mess, and confusion.
A lot of times toddlers like to pick up things and shake them, or throw them, this is something we all know. Toddlers especially love to pour containers out to see what happens. He was really unsure about what I wanted him to do. I just said “Color!” and he knew what that meant. Though when it came time to put stickers on he mostly wanted the sticky part to not be on him, but he also wanted to play with the sticker.
3. Remember that skin is washable!
His little nose by the end of it was covered in glue from when he would go to smell it and bump himself. His hands were so colored on by the end that the bathwater changed colors.
If you have toddlers you are probably so well versed in the art of patience so I’m sure this goes without saying, (but I’m going to anyway, twice even) patience is so important when doing projects with kids. Especially when you’re doing something fun like making valentines with toddlers. Flexibility and creativity go a long way too. I used to get so upset when Buggy would do the projects without following instructions or when he would be really messy with it. I had to keep reminding myself that he didn’t have the crafting muscle memory that I have. Having all that experience with Buggy definitely helped me teach Bubble how to craft the right way.