You Rock Valentines | Handmade, no-candy, eco-friendly, kids Valentines

Make this easy and fun “You Rock” Valentine’s Day card from your rock collection.

Today I’m joined by my childhood friend and communication strategist, Tenaya Wallace, who is sharing her eco-friendly pet rock Valentines, and her unique sense of humor. Welcome Tenaya!

U Rock Valentine's Day from Tenaya Hart

When my son was three I learned the importance of unique Valentines. Xan attended the most parent-involved co-op in the hippest hood in America (seriously, it was in Forbes) and we sent him to school with store-bought cards from the local CVS pharmacy. I think they were Sponge Bob-themed.

you rock valentine

What we received back, from every single kid, were hand-made Valentines, including a painted rock, that we still have. From that point on I made sure to never be outdone by these crafty moms of Silver Lake. But this year I ran out of ideas. My husband joked, “why don’t you paint rocks” and we laughed at the reminder of our store-bought ways.

The kids and I turned to Pinterest, searching “DIY no candy kids Valentines” (because candy is as passé as pre-fab cards). There were super-cute ideas but all involved little plastic toys and since I am 1) unemployed and don’t have spare change for plastic toys, 2) working under a tight deadline and don’t have time to order said toys and 3) a former environmental activist who should despise plastic toys, I decided to put in a search for “pet rocks.”

The results where mostly pictures of smooth round stones painted to look like sleeping cats, but there was one photo of a ragged little rock with googlie eyes glued on. The kids loved it. We were making pet rock Valentines rock googly eyes

My son collects rocks and keeps them in a box that doubles as an end table. He is possessive of his rocks, picked up on camping trips or walks around the block. But he saw wisdom in paring down his collection and actually got excited about using some of them for this year’s Valentines. Score for mom who has been trying to get rid of those rocks for years.

Make Pet Valentines with Rocks and Googly Eyes!

Step 1: Collect Rocks

We selected 38 rocks for Xan’s class (yes, 38…but that is another story) and 26 for my daughter’s. We washed them and set them in the sun to dry. The next day I took a quick trip to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and spent $4 on googly eyes, which was more than I needed but I decided to get both the small eyes and the really small eyes just to get crazy.

When the kids got home from school I put out the rocks and eyes. They each selected rocks they liked and placed the eyes where they wanted them. I was shocked at how good they were at transforming little nuggets of nothing into personality-filled friends by just placing eyes in a certain place. This part of the process really let them be creative and made the project their own.

Step 2: Glue Down Googly Eyes

Glue Eyes to Rocks for Valentine's Day Cards: U Rock!

I glued the eyes on, because no mom needs to take their kid to urgent care for googlie eyes crazy-glued to fingers. The crazy glue worked like a charm on both porous and smooth rocks.

pet rocks

Because I am poor and lazy and a former environmentalist, I suggested to the kids that instead of putting the rocks on notecards, we could cut up cardboard boxes from the recycling bin. They loved the idea and thought I was a brilliant environmentalist, not poor or lazy in the least. My son even went out to our blue bin pull boxes and my daughter helped cut them up. They liked the idea of each card being different for each different rock. My only issue was that now some of the Silver Lake moms are going to know that my kids eat Honey Nut Cheerios and frozen pizza, but whatever.

Step 3: Attach to Cards

Valentine Cards with Rocks

Next I hot glued the rock to the cardboard. That way it will stay for now but can easily be pulled off later to keep as a pet forever. I did this step because again, no need for urgent care, but older kids who can be trusted with glue guns could totally do this on their own.

When I went to JoAnn’s I looked for stamp that said “You Rock” but they didn’t have one. I didn’t want to print “You Rock” on paper, because that started to defeat the eco-ness of the project and I didn’t want to argue with the kids about writing the cute catch-phrase 64 times. Once I glued the rock on the cardboard I realized they could just write “U” above it with the rock under. My daughter added an exclamation point with a heart on the bottom for added effect. Easy peasy.

Step 4: Write U *Rock*!

U Rock Valentine Card

So now we have 64 pet rocks and they are so fricking cute that I kind of want to keep them all. But we won’t. I will, however, be adding googly eyes and crazy glue to my camping kit so that whenever we are out in nature the kids can make some brand new eco-friendly friends. And I won’t be worried that my kids don’t have the coolest Valentines in town.

U Rock Valentine's Day Card

You Rock ValentinesEasy You Rock Valentine cards

More Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

30 Valentine Activities for Kids

Handmade Valentine’s Day Card: The Amazing All-in-one Envelope

Deconstructed Valentines for Toddlers

Self-serve Valentines Buffet

Heart Sewing Cards


Tenaya HartTo learn more about Tenaya, you can find her at Tenaya Speaks.

Valentine Activity for Preschoolers | Heart Hopscotch

Valentines Day Activity for Preschoolers | Heart Hopscotch | TinkerLab.com

My littlest one is four years old, and we hang out A LOT! The sidekick and I do a lot of crafts, cooking, and activities to fill our days, and this project came out of a sudden burst of gorgeous weather, mixed with thoughts about Valentine’s Day.

After one too many chilly days, it was so nice to jump around outside. Check out those flip flops! It truly wasn’t warm enough for the clothes she has on, but the girl has no fear of coldness. If you happen to live somewhere with just an ounce of snowless weather this winter, heart hopscotch may be just the Valentine’s Day activity for you.

Why this Valentines Day Activity for preschoolers?: It’s beyond simple to set up and it encourages little ones to burn some energy.

Valentines Day Activity for Preschoolers | Heart Hopscotch | TinkerLab.com

Grab some chalk. We keep ours in a Bonne Maman jam jar (affiliate). Not only is the jam delicious, but these charming, wide mouth jars are spectacular for storing craft supplies.

Valentines Day Activity | Heart Hopscotch | TinkerLab.com

Draw your hopscotch.

Valentines Activities | Heart Hopscotch | TinkerLab.com

Jump away!

Easy peasy, right?

Favorite Valentine Crafts for Kids

Valentine’s Day, oh how I love you! This holiday is so cheerful and gives my family an excuse to craft with loads of red and pinks, which I find to be such uplifting colors. I selected 8 of my favorite Valentine Crafts for Kids of all ages. Stay tuned and bookmark this page because I have plenty of new Valentine crafts coming up soon.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Crafts for Kids

Folding, Gluing, and Baking…

8 Easy Valentine Crafts for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Valentines Day Cards: The Amazing All-in-one Envelope – This is a card and envelope, all made from one sheet of paper…in the shape of a heart. My kids love these!

Deconstructed Valentines Day Cards for Toddlers – Small children won’t get as excited about a ready-made card as they will about cutting colorful paper into tiny pieces and glueing the pieces to doilies. Try it — it’s so easy and age appropriate!

Easy Valentine Bookmarks – If you’re making gifts for a large group of friends, these simple bookmarks are kid-friendly and oh-so-cute.

Mini Heart Pies – Baking and crafting go together, and every crafting session needs a snack. These mini heart pies are easy to make and a great way to include kids in the kitchen.

Valentine Crafts for Kids

Stamping, Cutting, and Sewing…

8 Valentine Crafts for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Cardboard Roll Heart Stamp – So simple! All you need are cardboard rolls, paint, and some paper.

How to Cut a Heart out of Paper – This simple tutorial is for kids who are just learning how to cut out a heart.

Set up a Self-serve Valentines Day Cards Station – There is nothing quite like sitting down to a smorgasbord of supplies and then coming up with your own designs. This is easy to set up, and kids love it!

Valentine Sewing Cards for Preschoolers – For kids new to sewing, poke holes in chipboard or card stock and sew your own cards with embroidery floss.

8 Valentine Crafts for Kids | TinkerLab

For more Valentine’s Day ideas, you might also enjoy 30 Valentine Activities for Kids.

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

Are you looking for Valentine Crafts for Kids? This project takes a bit of time since there are a few steps involved, but the results are treasures that will last a lifetime.

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

Salt Dough Recipe

We used this same recipe from our salt dough Christmas ornaments

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • up to 1 cup water

Mix the water and flour together. Slowly add the water and mix until the dough comes together. If you add too much water the dough will be too sticky to work with. If that happens, simply add equal amounts of flour and salt to get a workable consistency.

  1. Flour your work surface
  2. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick
  3. Cut shapes with your favorite cookie cutter/s
  4. Place the dough on a baking sheet and cook at 200 degrees F for 2-3 hours. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we baked ours at 350 F for about 40 minutes, which is why some of them turned out puffy and brown. They’re still fine, however, and I’d recommend this route if you’re also short on time. Just keep an eye on the dough and make sure it doesn’t burn.
  5. Cool the pieces. They’re ready to paint!

Salt Dough Magnets: A Valentine Gift Made by Kids

Painting Supplies

  • Acrylic paint. This is a relatively inexpensive set that’s great for this project.
  • Paintbrushes. I haven’t tried this set, but it looks great!
  • Paper plate or other paint palette
  • Water bowl
  • Rag to absorb water from brushes
  • Table covering
  • Painting clothes (acrylic paints will stain clothes)
  • Paint markers, optional. We like Elmers Paint Pens and Sharpie Water-based Paint Pens

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

Paint the salt dough with acrylic paint. Have a covered area nearby where these pieces can dry. Acrylic paint dries quickly!

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

When these were dry, we added a layer with paint markers to some of the pieces. My 3-year old loved this step.

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

Magnet Supplies

This step is for grown-ups:

Once the paint is dry, turn the salt dough pieces over. Add a small dollop of glue. Goop makes a good product made by Goop called Craft Arte. It’s smelly and best used outside or in a well-ventilated space.

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

Add the magnet to the glue and allow the glue to dry.

Be careful with these magnets. They are powerful and not for use by children.

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Gifts for Family and Friends

When the glue is dry, your magnets are ready to gift to family and friends or to save favorite mementos to your fridge.

Valentine Crafts for Kids: Salt Dough Magnets

We made these for Valentine’s Day, but with a different shaped cookie cutter, you could make these magnet gifts for Christmas, Mother’s Day, or a Birthday.

Valentine Crafts for Kids | Cardboard Roll Heart Stamp

Today we’re making a cardboard roll heart stamp as part of our series of Valentines Crafts for Kids.

If you’re even slightly crafty, have small children, and a tiny bit of an art supply hoarder, you probably have a small collection of paper towel or toilet paper rolls hiding somewhere, waiting to be turned into art.

If not, it’s just a matter of time before you have one, and this is a good project to save or pin for later. It’s beyond simple to execute, and young children enjoy the process of printing with these rolls.

Valentines Craft for Kids | Simple and Colorful Cardboard Roll Heart Stamps with Kids | TinkerLab

Supplies for Cardboard Roll Heart Stamp

  • Cardboard roll/s: from paper towels or toilet paper
  • Washable tempera paint
  • Palette or paper plate
  • Heavyweight paper to print on, such as card stock. We used 8.5 x 11 paper, cut in half.

Valentines Craft for Kids | Simple and Colorful Cardboard Roll Heart Stamps with Kids | TinkerLab

How to make a cardboard roll heart stamp

  1. If you’re using a paper towel roll, cut it in half to make the stamp more manageable for small hands
  2. Press the roll flat and make two firm creases
  3. Invert one of the creases and crease again to make the indent on the top of the heart
  4. Fill a plate or palette with a shallow well of paint
  5. Place the tube in paint and print

Over time, the cardboard roll will begin to lose its shape. To solve this, you can re-crease the roll, flip it over and use the other side, or make another roll.

Valentines Craft for Kids | Simple and Colorful Cardboard Roll Heart Stamps with Kids | TinkerLab

Have a big stack of paper pre-cut and/or ready for all the stamping, and a clear table or floor to store the completed work. In this session, my three-year old made ten printed pages and my five-year old made five printed pages.

Make things with your prints

Once the prints are dry, you might be thinking about what to do with all of them. That certainly crossed my mind. Ours are still sitting in a pile, but we thinking about turning them into one of the handmade cards from this list.

Valentines Craft for Kids | Simple and Colorful Cardboard Roll Heart Stamps with Kids | TinkerLabs with Kids | TinkerLab

Follow their lead

After she made about ten prints, my three-year old decided to paint her tube. As always, try to follow your child’s lead and go with the flow.

Valentines Craft for Kids | Simple and Colorful Cardboard Roll Heart Stamps with Kids | TinkerLab

More Valentine Crafts for Kids

30 Valentine Activities for Kids

Valentine’s Gift: Heart Art Canvas, Red Ted Art

Deconstructed Valentines

Painting Heart Doilies, The Artful Parent

Sweet Potato Heart Prints

Handmade Valentine’s Cards, Playful Learning

Easy Valentine Bookmarks

Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt, Hands on as we Grow

Handmade Valentine Cards: The Amazing all-in-one Envelope

A healthy Valentine Snack