Inside: Put together a simple toddler Valentine’s Day craft turning paper plates into colorful suncatchers. These hearts look beautiful hanging in the window!
A few years back we made some Valentine’s suncatchers that were made from plastic plates, and while I loved them, I wanted something even simpler this year.
Something with materials we already had on hand.
I already had a stack of cheap paper plates from the spring suncatchers we made last year, so I thought why not use them for Valentine’s Day suncatchers?
Our toddlers had fun with the 2-step process and they added color to our classroom window during a season when we crave color.
The longer I teach, the more I appreciate simple activities.
Not just because they are less teacher directed, but also because I’ve observed how young children prefer them.
Also, to be honest, simple activities take less time to prepare, and often use materials we already have on hand.
Let’s face it: teachers are short on time and money.
I also look for ideas that build skills and encourage creativity. This toddler Valentine’s Day craft works on fine motor development, color recognition, and sense of touch.
I am quite fond of activities that involve multiple steps. I’ve found that the children are excited to return to their artwork the next day, adding more. With this activity, the first step is painting and the second step is adding translucent pieces to the sticky paper.
All About The Process
And, finally, what I love about this activity is the process. While the final product is fun to look at as it hangs in the window, what the children love most is making it. This is definitely not cookie cutter art. No two are alike.
Toddler Valentine’s Day Craft: Colorful Suncatchers
What we used:
- Cheap paper plates (flimsy is good!)
- Contact Paper
- Colored cellophane sheets (we used red, purple, and a bit of yellow)
- Tempera paint (we used red and pink)
- Ribbon or yarn
- Hole punch
Prepping the Suncatchers
You will need one paper plate per suncatcher being made. Cut a heart shape from the middle of each one. (Make sure to save those hearts for another art activity!)
Punch a hole at the top of the paper plate and make a loop of ribbon or yarn so the suncatchers can be hung.
Pour paint into small containers and provide brushes.
Step 1: Paint the Suncatcher
Place suncatchers on the table along with the cellophane pieces, paint, and brushes.
Invite your toddlers to paint the paper plate.
Step 2: Stick the Pieces on the Suncatcher
Cut pieces of Contact Paper so that they cover the entire heart, with some extra room on the sides. (You want the Contact Paper to stick to the paper plate, holding it in place.)
Press the contact paper over the heart, rubbing the edges so that it sticks to the paper plate.
Then, flip the paper plate over so that it’s sticky side up.
Place pieces of the cellophane next to the suncatcher.
Your toddlers can then stick the pieces of cellophane in the center of the heart, where it is sticky.
You can then take another piece of Contact Paper and press it on top of the exposed side, sealing everything up.
HOWEVER, you can save this part for later if you want to use the exposed sticky paper to secure the plate to the glass of the window. Read on…
The ribbon or yarn can be used to attach to suction cup hooks on the window.
you can use the exposed sticky part of the paper and press the suncatcher directly onto the window.
This is what we did.
But when it’s time for the suncatchers to go home, I will then seal the back with another piece of Contact Paper so that nothing else sticks to it.
More Valentine’s Day Activities
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