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 |

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 |

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 |

Draw your hopscotch.

Valentines Activities | Heart Hopscotch |

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 |

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 |

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.

Mini Heart Pies | A Simple and Sweet Valentine’s Day Treat

Yum! We love making (and eating) these heart shaped hand pies.

These mini heart pies are not an adorable Valentine’s Day treat, but they’re fun for kids to make and bake. My little bakers, ages 3 and 5, were invested in every step along the way and practiced these skills in this kitchen project:

  • press heart shapes out of the dough
  • measure and mix ingredients
  • use a basting brush
  • crimp pies
  • use best judgment to fill pies
  • problem-solve when we ran amok (keep reading for more on that)

Adorable and Easy Mini Heart Pies |

Adorable and Easy Mini Heart Pies |

Let me start with the hero shot, just in case you’re on the fence about this recipe. OMG!

This pie not only looked good, but it was downright delicious.

This is my half of a heart that I shared with my husband (awwwww).

measure ingredients

Mini Heart Pies: Tools

(note: this post includes affiliate links)

To start, you’ll probably want to pick up a Heart-shaped Pocket Pie Mold. This one is great because it’s also BPA-free.

We found a similar one in the house goods section of Target, just before Valentine’s Day. Not to fret if you don’t have a pie mold, with just a little more attention and work, you could also make these with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

We have this one, and I bet it would do the job.

Mini Heart Pies: Ingredients

Makes 4 mini heart pies. This recipe is adapted from one that came with our mold.

  • Pie Crust or pastry dough
  • 1 cup berries
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

How to make Mini Heart Pies

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Set up a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper.
  3. Coat your pocket pie mold with a bit of oil. You don’t want your crust sticking to it, after all.
  4. Mix the sugar and corn starch in a small bowl.
  5. Whisk the egg in another bowl.
  6. Roll out your dough and cut hearts from it with the back of the heart-shaped pie mold.
  7. Place a heart on both sides of the mold. Fill the center of one side with about 2 tablespoons of berries.
  8. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture on top of the berries.
  9. With the basting brush, coat the edges of the heart with egg.
  10. Press the two sides of the mold together. Open it up and place the mini heart pie on the parchment-covered cookie sheet.
  11. Cover the pie with a layer of egg and sprinkle more sugar mixture on top.
  12. Continue until all the dough is gone.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.

Here’s a visual of how we made our mini heart pies…

press out hearts

The heart stamping is so fun for kids.

We used our favorite freezer pie crust from Trader Joe’s, but any crust should do the trick. Two of these come rolled up in a box and we just used one of them. We let the dough defrost while we had breakfast, and it was ready to go a couple hours later.

sprinkle on sugar

Next up: fill with the ingredients. Since its winter and berries aren’t’ in season, we used frozen berries. In the end, they may have made for more runny pies, but the flavor was to-die-for-good. No worries there.

The kids took turns filling the pies with berries, coating the edges with egg and sprinkling the sugar mixture on top.

Brush on egg

On our first mini heart pie we learned the importance of oiling the pie press BEFORE putting all the ingredients inside. Needless to say, our dough made a big sticky mess and didn’t want to come out of the mold without a fight.

Since we didn’t want to lose any of that amazing filling, we did a quick brainstorm on what to do and decided to turn the scraps into pie balls and hamentaschen. And please don’t look up “pie balls” unless you want a totally different image in your head than the photo that follows.

oven surprises

In the end, we ended up with two mini heart pies, two hamentashen, and five pie balls, but if you stick to just mini heart pies, you should be able to get four of them out of this recipe.


mini heart pies

Heart Sewing Cards for Preschoolers

It’s always fun to add a seasonal twist to the activities we do with children, and these sewing cards for preschoolers can be easily adapted to any holiday, interest, or season.

Simple sewing cards for preschoolers |

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so we stitched a heart shape, but consider a shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day, pine tree for Christmas, or a fish in the middle of summer.

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.

Benefits of sewing cards for preschoolers

  • Develop hand-eye coordination
  • Learn the basics of sewing
  • Practice fine motor skills

There are lots of reasons to try this activity. You might have a child, like mine, who loves to dive into mom’s sewing stash or you might want to help your child develop fine motor skills. Whatever the reason, your child should have fun with this sewing cards activity. If you get started and it proves more frustrating than fun, put this aside for a couple weeks or months, and then try again.

Sewing Cards for Preschoolers Supplies

Simple sewing cards for preschoolers |

Simple sewing cards for preschoolers |


  1. Cut a rectangle shape from the chipboard box. The piece in the photo is about 6″ x 9″.
  2. Poke holes into the chipboard with the needle.
  3. Thread the needle with embroidery floss. Encourage your child to choose the color/s. For inexperienced sewers you’ll want to double-thread the needle by making a double-length of floss and then tie the two ends together at the end. This will keep the thread from slipping out of the needle eye while stitching.
  4. Show your child how to push the needle up through one hole, and then back down through the next. Pull the needle taught each time it goes through a hole.
  5. Tie the end off and cut the extra thread after you reach the last hole.

Simple sewing cards for preschoolers |

After they stitched all the way around the hearts, my kids added some embellishments with markers, glue, sequins, and rhinestones. This should be fun, so let them go wild and see what they come up with.

Simple sewing cards for preschoolers |

More Sewing Projects and Ideas

Even Toddlers Can Sew: A great intro to sewing project

Machine Sewing with a Preschooler

How did you teach your children to sew? Thoughts from our Facebook page.

A 5-star, affordable entry-level sewing machine via Amazon

This Pinterest Board of sewing projects for kids


How to cut a heart out of paper

This may be obvious to some of you, but given what people search for this time of year, I know there are many of you who want to know how to cut a heart out of paper. 

The other day my three-year old and I were making a gazillion Valentine’s cards and I snapped a few photos of our heart-cutting process. She’s at that age where she gets a thrill from practicing her cutting skills, which made this an engaging project for her.

You’ll love how simple this is! In just three easy steps, you’ll turn into a heart-cutting machine.

How to cut a heart out of paper | TinkerLab

If you have a small child in your life, this could be a great way to work on those scissor skills. The top right heart (below) was cut out by my three-year old who could do this activity for hours.

How to cut a heart out of paper |


  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

How to cut a heart out of paper in 3 easy steps

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half
  2. Draw a half-heart shape along the folded edge of the paper
  3. Cut the heart out

How to cut a heart out of paper |


Creative Table: Valentine’s Day Cards

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this Creative Table invites children to make Valentine’s Day Cards that are sure to delight not only the children in your home.

Creative Table: Make your own Valentine's Day Cards |

One of our favorite ways to engage children at the art table is by setting up invitations to create. Toward this end, we started the Creative Table series as a way to capture easy set-ups and inspiring ideas that encourage creative and independent thinking.

All you have to do is gather some basic supplies, set them up, and then let the creativity begin…

Valentine’s Day Cards


  • Pre-made blank cards or cardstock cut into card-size pieces
  • Glue sticks or PVA glue
  • Markers
  • Child-friendly scissors
  • Decorative Paper
  • Waste basket to collect scraps

More Ideas:

  • Self-inking Valentine stamps or stamps and ink pads
  • Decorative Paper ideas: wrapping paper, tissue paper, scrapbook paper, candy foil wrappers, doilies
  • Treasures:  googly eyes, sequins, foam hearts, stickers
  • Cardboard
  • Hole punchers and ribbon

Set up your table Valentine’s Day Cards Table

Valentines Card Table set up

Clear your table. If it’s looking a little messy (like ours usually does), take a minute to clear everything unessential off. Our art table is marked up, so we often cover it with this awesome butcher paper (Amazon) or oilcloth (Amazon) to make it extra inviting. Oilcloth is especially nice because it can be wiped clean after each use, but keep in mind that if it has a busy pattern it could be distracting.

How to set up a simple "Make Your Own" Valentine's Card Station  |

Set up the materials for the Valentine’s Day Cards

Center of the Table:

  • Stack of pre-folded blank cards
  • Bowl full of scraps (pre-cut hearts, shiny paper, and doilies)
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Bowl of self-inking Valentine stamps

In front of each station:

  • One pre-folded blank card
  • Stack of patterned paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick

supplie for valentine cards

Now it’s time to get creative!

make your own valentines card

Tip for making art with kids: When my children have new ideas that vary from mine, such as using materials that aren’t on the table or using them in a way I hadn’t anticipated, I’ll embrace it. This is the time to encourage independent ideas and creative thinking. Children experience new materials and stimuli differently than we do, and we can look at these moments with awe. Who knows, your child may give YOU a new way to make things…mine often do!

Creative Table: Valentine's Day Cards  |

More Valentine’s Day Inspiration

Our Valentine’s Day board on Pinterest

Make an All-in-one Valentine Envelope

30 Valentine Activities for Kids

Easy Valentine Bookmarks