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by Nancy A. Cavanaugh

Related: children, kids, crafts, recipe, valentine, love, heart, cookie, chocolate, ,

    Love is in the air, and there’s no better way to show it than by making a homemade card or a yummy treat for that special person. Here are some suggestions for fun family projects. We’ve even included directions for making an easy cardholder for all the cards you’ll get this year. 

Hand-y "I Love You" Cards
What You Need:
Construction paper in red or pink
Stickers, markers, or crayons
Glue stick

What to Do:
1. Trace your hand on a piece of construction paper. Then carefully cut it out. Mom or Dad can help with this for younger children.
2. Cut out a heart from construction paper, then write a message on it and glue it onto the palm of the hand. You can use a large heart sticker instead.
3. You can have the hand show the American Sign Language sign for "I love you" by bending the ring and middle fingers down where the middle knuckle would be on each finger.

Valentine's Crispy Rice Treats
1/2 cup butter
10 cups crispy rice cereal
9 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups spicy red hearts
Conversation hearts
3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips  
Red food coloring
Metal cookie cutters
Wax paper

1. Melt butter and marshmallows; stir until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix rice cereal, spicy candy red hearts and miniature chips together. Then blend in two drops red food coloring, adding more coloring if necessary to reach desired shade.
3. Add marshmallow mixture to cereal mixture; stirring quickly to combine. Spread on a large buttered pan; press with wax paper.
4. Cut into pieces. While they're still warm, press a conversation heart on the cutout treats. Optional: Use metal cookie cutters in Valentine's Day shapes to cut out treats.

Chocolate Pretzel Rods
White chocolate chips
Pretzel rods
Red, white and/or pink sprinkles
Wax paper

1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
2. Dip pretzel rods in the chocolate and place on the wax paper.
3. After the chocolate has hardened, dip them again, and then roll them in the sprinkles. Place them on a new sheet of wax paper to harden.

Valentine's Day Card Holder
What You Need:
2 paper plates per child
Hole punch
Stapler, or ribbon or yarn in red, white, or pink
Stickers, paints, markers, or crayons
Lace, eyelet, or ribbons
Tacky craft glue

What to Do:
1. Cut one paper plate in half.
2. Decorate the plates using the stickers, paint, markers, lace, etc. Decorate the inside of the whole plate, and the backside of the half plate. Let dry completely before continuing.
3. Attach the plates together with a couple of staples to create a pocket. Use the hole puncher to punch holes around the plate to thread the ribbon or yarn through.
4. If you're using ribbon, cut it at a slant to keep it from unraveling. If you're using yarn, wrap a bit of tape around the end of the yarn. Lace the plates together, then tie a loop at the top for hanging.

NANCY A. CAVANAUGH is a freelance writer and website designer. You can find more holiday crafts for kids ages 3-7 at her website, www.holidaycrafts4kids.com.

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