Five Easy Valentine’s Day STEAM Crafts
January 31, 2022
by Lindsey Flannery
It’s a common theme on our blog: when kids are excited and interested, they’re more likely to engage and learn. And holidays are one thing that kids are almost always excited about! On Valentine’s Day, there’s so much for kids to love: the parties at school or daycare, exchanging Valentine’s cards, making a cool box to put them in, and candy (it’s always candy)
This natural excitement about Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to incorporate fun crafts that provide structure for your days, and the magical combination of fun plus learning for them. We’ve put together five easy Valentine’s Day crafts that incorporate STEAM concepts (and candy)!
Valentine’s Day candy structures
When it comes to crafts, simpler is often better. Open-ended crafts offer more room for creative expression, and with unlimited possibilities, kids will spend more time creating!
To build candy structures, simply buy a big bag of jelly hearts and a box of toothpicks. Use the candies to connect the toothpicks in geometric shapes to create towers, domes, rockets, etc. Or, encourage them to try building animals or other non-symmetrical objects.
Concepts to explore include:
- Building a solid foundation (the bigger the base, the taller the tower!)
- What shapes are the most stable? (squares vs. triangles)
Kids will be designing, building, and problem-solving while using fine motor skills. They’ll also get to eat some candies at the end. If you prefer not to use candy, this also works with red apple cubes (it just requires a bit of prep).
Construct a LEGO heart
This building project is a great practice in problem solving and exploring symmetry. It’s perfect for families who have LEGO collections, especially if you have one of the LEGO Classic sets, or simply a tote with a large number of LEGO bricks mixed together from different sets. This will help with finding enough red or pink bricks of various sizes!
While you can certainly look up step-by-step instructions, the joy and learning here is in allowing kids to follow their creativity and make their own LEGO hearts.
To build a 2-D heart that stands up, start with one brick (such as a 2x4), and then keep building rows on top of that, with each row getting successively longer by two. So row two would be 2x6, and row 3 would be 2x8, until you bring it back in for the tops of the heart (see image). However, this is just one way to do it. Can your child create a 3-D heart? A flat one? A huge one or a tiny one? The possibilities are endless! And once they’ve built a heart or two, they’ll be on to creating something else with their LEGO bricks, as the inspiration strikes.
How many hearts can you fit inside the larger heart?
This simple craft builds visual-spatial and estimating skills. First, cut out one large heart from a piece of construction paper. A quick way to make symmetrical hearts is to fold your piece of paper, draw half of a heart with the fold as the center line, cut it out while still folded, and then unfold.
Next, have your child cut out a bunch of little hearts of the same size (about the size of a quarter) using the same method. See if they can guess how many of the small hearts it will take to fill the large heart. How can you arrange the small hearts to fit more of them inside the big one? (Stagger the hearts - one up, one down, in rows.)
Build a candy catapult out of craft sticks
Time to put on your engineering hats! All you need is:
- Ten craft (popsicle) sticks
- Six red rubber bands
- A bottle cap (this is where you’ll load your candy)
- Double-sided tape or craft glue
- Candy hearts
- Stack eight of the craft sticks on top of each other and secure at each end with a rubber band.
- Stack the remaining two sticks and attach at one end only with two rubber bands.
- Open the two-stick stack on the end that is not secured, and slide in the stack of eight sticks.
- Secure the stack of eight to only the upper craft stick with rubber bands (see image).
- Use craft glue or double-sided tape to secure your bottle cap to the top end of the uppermost stick.
And that’s it. Put a candy heart (or small pom pom) in the bottle cap, pull down, and release! This catapult project teaches children about the concept of a lever simple machine. For older kids, you can talk about how a lever works, the fulcrum, and how potential energy is converted into kinetic energy when you push down the stick and release, and the candy goes flying!
Make a felt heart garland
This craft is on the list for the beautiful simplicity of creating, and the joy of hanging the finished product in your home. There’s something so sweet about crafting in felt!
What you need:
- Felt in your color of choice, or a combination of red, white and pink
- Yarn or twine
- Plastic needle
- Fabric scissors
First, cutting felt is trickier than paper, and you will want to help younger children with cutting out the hearts -- preferably using sharp scissors made for fabric. If you want children to be able to do the cutting themselves, use construction paper instead.
- With your marker, draw one heart on the felt in a size of your choice. You can make all the hearts the same size, or alternate large and small hearts.
- Use your first heart of each size as a stencil for the others.
- Cut out the hearts with fabric scissors (on the inside of the marker lines, if you don’t want them to show).
- Fold each heart in half and use the plastic needle to push a hole through the top (when unfolded, this will make two holes -- see image).
- String the yarn or twine through the holes using the plastic needle.
You can choose the length of your garland based on where you want to hang it, such as your front window. Be creative, have fun, and enjoy your festive Valentine’s Day decor!
These craft ideas will keep your kids busy and their time organized leading up to Valentine’s Day, and they’ll be sharpening their STEAM skills in the process. Enjoy!