Every year I look for alternatives to store-bought character valentines with candy attached. The kids get plenty of candy at the class parties and it’s fun to come up with an inexpensive and creative alternative. One year my girls and I cut out white hearts and dipped them in a shallow bowl of straw-blown bubbles mixed with red food coloring for beautiful bubble-spotted valentines. Another year we bought stock-paper bookmarks at a craft store and tied on strings for practical and fun valentines.
This year I built on the idea of the Pumpkin-Pie Scented Play Dough we made at Thanksgiving. By doubling the recipe, I made just enough play dough for sixteen snack-sized zip-top bags of play dough to hand out as valentines. You can follow these directions to make your own valentines or make a big batch of play dough for your own sweet valentines at home (if you’re going to make a batch for valentines I strongly suggest making extra for your children — it’s hard to resist playing with the dough!) The special touch is in adding Valentine’s Day colors and red hot scent!
Basic Play Dough Recipe
4 cups flour
4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon oil
1 cup salt
food coloring (follow brand directions for making pink or red; about 8 drops; adjust as needed)
Valentine’s Day Red Hot Scent Add-on
1 tablespoon or more ground saigon cinnamon (if you have it) or plain ground cinnamon
snack-sized zip-top bags
copies of the recipe to staple to one flap of each of the zip-tops (so the bags can still be opened)
Combine all ingredients in one pot. Over medium heat, stir continuously until the play dough starts to thicken. Adjust the amount of spice to suit your nose! Once the dough becomes difficult to stir, remove from heat and let cool enough until the dough can be worked by hand. Knead the dough until it is smooth (let your child help with this step!) Store the dough in a gallon-sized plastic zip-top bag or other air-tight container or divide it up into the snack bags for valentines. Keep the dough separate from any other food items and it will last for well over a month!
What are your creative valentine ideas?