February 13, 2010

my funny valentine

I know that a lot of people feel that Valentine's Day is a sham holiday created by greedy fat cat corporations to eke more money out of us.  That may be, but why turn your nose up at an opportunity to celebrate love in all of its various manifestations?  And this is one holiday where handmade always says it best.  There are few things that I find to be as heartwarming as watching my little boy create presents for the people he loves, and he had a great time making these snowmen for the ladies in his life (aka his grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and aunts).  If your child can do some very rudimentary cutting, gluing, and drawing, he or she can easily mass-produce these sweetheart snowmen for their valentines.

We happen to have a lot of toilet paper and paper towel rolls stockpiled because Bugsy, the pre-school's class gerbil, has a pathological cardboard addiction.  We invaded his supply and used one toilet paper roll per snowman.  We ran out of toilet paper rolls, so we cut a paper towel roll into two smaller pieces.  Other than that, all we used was red, white, and black construction paper, child safety scissors, a glue stick, and crayons.  As you can tell, I helped by cutting the three circles, hat, and heart needed for each snowman, but the rest was simple enough to be done "all by self," as my son says.  He even cut the scarves himself!

The assembly-line technique that we used was to line all the heads up and draw all of the faces at once.  Then we lined up the bodies to draw "buttons".  I pointed out exactly where the glue needed to be applied and handed him the right pieces as he worked, and we had a little army of snowmen in no time.  The toilet paper roll makes them stand up, but I thought it would be adorable for an older child to tuck a heartfelt note into that space.  I have to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised at how much of this my two-and-a-half year old could do on his own.  I am sure a three-or-four year old could truly do this all by self.  And the product would probably look a little more "Frosty" and a little less "Nightmare Before Christmas", but hey, these valentines are the genuine article.

If you have not tried crafting with your very young child because you think they are too young, please, please, please go ahead and do it anyway.  There are so many things that tiny children can do beyond coloring and fingerpainting, and it just feeds their imaginations and self-esteem in such a wonderful way.  The end product will not be beautiful in the classical sense, it is true, but it will look perfect to them, and, I am willing to gamble, to you.

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