loves to receive tokens of appreciation during Valentine’s Day. Goodie bags
filled with candy, printed cards or blooming bouquets are all sweet ways to
dote on our loved ones; even more special are handmade gifts, little offerings,
hecho a mano, that express heartfelt attention that cannot be replicated by
a store bought present.
year, I am excited to spend an afternoon of crafting with my 3-year-old
daughter. She loves all things pink, which comes in abundance during
Valentine’s Day, and the thought of making her Daddy a special gift makes her
giddy with excitement. Although an afternoon of ribbon and glitter is sure to
be fun, knowing that our handmade Valentine’s Day crafts are also helping to
promote the development of her fine motor skills makes me especially happy.
they venture into kindergarten, our toddlers need to master a few crafting
skills and Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to practice. Here are
five crafty skills that also translate to toddler development while you create
your Valentine’s Day tokens of love:
Scissors: Using child-friendly
scissors, with adult supervision, is a skill our kids should practice often.
Help them correctly hold the scissors, knowing that toddlers will find unique
ways to handle the tool. Allow them time to snip small pieces of paper; cutting
in straight lines won’t come until later. Draw a shape with a large tip
highlighter and ask them to cut along it.
Pens, Crayons: These are all great tools that encourage your toddler to manipulate their
fingers in anticipation of their writing adventures later in life. Be sure to
offer a variety of writing instruments, as some kids prefer the feel of one
over the other. For example, my daughter enjoys coloring with broad tip markers
versus colored pencils or crayons.
Hole Punches: In addition to being super cute and creative, decorative hole punches allow
your toddler to strengthen their grip. Gripping a hole punch in two hands helps
them to determine the level of strength they need to use, too.
Tongs: Instead of using their
fingers, ask your toddler to use tongs to place embellishments on your
Valentine’s Day craft. Place a small dot of glue on the craft, and with various
sized embellishments laid out, your toddler will be practicing many small motor
skills that are necessary for their development.
Threading/Weaving: Valentine’s Day crafts
call for frills of ribbon and lace, which is the perfect opportunity for
toddlers to practice the small motor skills necessary to thread. After your
child has practiced gripping with their hole punch, ask them to weave a
decorative ribbon through the holes. Make up different patterns for each craft,
asking them to repeat. Let their tiny fingers manipulate the craft, allowing
them to figure out the most efficient way for them to weave and thread
different types of string, yarn and ribbon.
all else, enjoy the creative spirit you are creating for your child and take
pride in knowing that you are also promoting the development of their fine