Kids Valentine Ideas – How to Set up a Self-serve Card Station

How to set up a self-serve Kids Valentine Card Station

Self Serve Kids Valentine Cards - Tinkerlab

There are some adorable store-bought Valentine Card options for kids, but there’s nothing quite like making your own Valentine’s Day cards. One of my strongest Valentine’s Day memories is of cutting and pasting doilies with hand-cut hearts, and this is a tradition that I’m excited to pass along to my own children.

One of the most successful strategies for encouraging art-making and creativity in my home is to set up self-serve areas filled with a buffet-style selection of materials for my kids to choose from.

I first introduced this self-serve kids Valentine card station on my blog last year, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this seemed like a good time to share it again.

How to set up a self-serve Kids Valentine Card Station

How to set up a Self-serve Kids Valentine Card Station

  1. Start a thoughtfully selected smorgasbord of wrapping paper, scrapbooking paper, construction paper, paper cut into heart shapes, flowers, silk flower petals, shiny paper, doilies, and stickers
  2. Fill clear containers or bowls with these materials
  3. Add a bottle of glue or a small jar filled with glue, and a paintbrush.
  4. Invite your child to make, play, and create. Invitations can be accepted or ignored. I always try to pay attention to how these things play out because, of course, I want my invitations to be accepted!! If it’s ignored, it could be that the timing wasn’t right, your child isn’t yet ready for this invitation (maybe it’s too challenging or not of interest), the materials are too familiar, or the set-up wasn’t appealing enough.

5. Be open to riffs. While you may have a clear idea of how the invitation will play out in your mind, your child will probably have a very different idea. If you can accept this, you’ll both be happy!

Mailboxes are always nice to have for Valentine’s Day. We’re fans of all-things-handmade and actually made our own mailbox last year, but the hand-made Valentine box truly couldn’t compete with this light-up Hello Kitty mailbox.

More Valentine’s Day Mailboxes

Click an image to find the product on Amazon.

 

More Valentine’s Day Activities

Deconstructed Valentines

All-in-one Valentine Envelope

Valentine’s Day Ideas Pinterest Board

Organize a self-serve Creativity Area for Kids

Do you have any favorite tips for setting up a successful self-serve art experience?

Note: I’m an Amazon affiliate, but only share links to products that I love or that I think you’ll find useful.

Story Cards with Kids

story cards

Storytelling with Kids | TinkerLab.com

Have you ever used story cards as a reading alternative with children? My two and a half year old can’t yet read, but she truly loves a good yarn, and these story cards turned out to be a really fun way to engage her in storytelling.

For the past month or so, she’s been enamored by this awesome set of cards, Tell Me a Story – Circus Animal’s Adventure (Amazon link), a beautifully illustrated “book” that encourage children and adults to craft creative and original stories.

These were a gift from my husband, who learned about them in preparation for a storytelling course he teaches at Stanford. (He should be writing this post, right!). While he can tell a great story, I don’t consider myself a natural storyteller at all! However, the cards are really easy to use and I’m finding that my own ability to improvise, build suspense, and think outside the box has improved through the process of using them.

Story Cards with Kids

There are so many ways to use the cards.

Pull out Cards in Random Order: When I first introduced them, I’d pull out random cards, one by one, and weave a story until I decided we were done.

Invite your child to choose the cards: Once my daughter got the hang of these improvised stories, she wanted in on  the game.  Now she often chooses the cards — sometimes deliberately and sometimes blindly.

Invite your child to join the storytelling: I am usually the one who tells the stories, but I notice that as the storytelling process unfolds my child is more inclined to chime in. I may say something like “The mouse whispered to the lion,  ‘We’re going to take a trip!'” And then I’ll ask her, “Where could they be they going?” To this she says,”Virginia.”

Storytelling with Kids - TinkerLab

Pull on your Imagination: Sometimes our stories are literal representations of the cards we pull, and other times I try to push myself to think more abstractly about the imagery. Last night, a circus tent became an itty-bitty toy tent, plopped in the middle of a dandelion field. Initially, N said, “That’s not a dandelion, it’s a firework!” and I replied, “In this story it could be a dandelion. What do you think?” And she agreed!

The publisher also creates Fairytale Mix-upsLittle Robot’s Mission, and Mystery in the Forest.

Storytelling Resources

Ideas to get you started on Storytelling: from Simple Kids

Storytelling Games: A fun list of almost twenty games to play with kids of all ages

Listen to stories online at the Storybook Online Network

Do you have ideas for telling a good story? What stories do your children love?