Our Funny Valentines, Past and Present – Doing Character Valentines the Not-So-Easy Way

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Now that all of the craziness of the preschool Valentine parties is behind us, I thought I’d take a second to share the cards that I put together with the kids this year and explain how I involve them in the process (and show off some of them from years past as well).

So, back before my kids had any solid opinions on anything, I was able to do things like this adorable little photo from Picture People (I had a Groupon and one kid who couldn’t even stand up, so this was a fun and inexpensive option to send to the grandparents).

Baby G, way back in 2012:

I looked through everything and couldn’t find anything from 2013. I have no excuse for this except that I was pregnant with twins and tired and nauseated and everything fell by the wayside for a while.  But then the following year, I got my act together again AND I had purchased this handy little photo lighting and backdrop kit from Amazon (that link is the exact one I have, and it’s been great, but there are a ton of them out there and they’re all pretty similar, so browse around and see if there’s something cheaper!).  So I took my own pictures instead of dragging everyone to a studio, and I got a little creative with G’s because he was in preschool and had a card exchange scheduled with his class.

G’s Superman Valentine, 2014:

Twins, 2014:

(Gah, I still can’t handle the cuteness of their old pictures sometimes).

But it was really last year that I ramped things up a little with these.  G was three and a half, and he was starting to notice things like the standard boxes of Valentine’s Day cards on the shelves with all of the characters that he loved.  And those are cute and easy and fun for kids to receive, but I’m ridiculous and I still wanted to have my own fun with the holiday.  So, with a collection of costumes that I sourced from our local Facebook resale page and some pieces I made myself (G’s shirt, C’s hat), AND some extensive photoshop work on the background, we came up with this.

Our Toy Story Valentine, 2015:

G’s Toy Story Valentine, 2015:

Little G’s Toy Story Valentine,2015:

C’s Toy Story Valentine, 2015:

This was a blast, y’all. The kids LOVED the result, and Rocket Daddy still has the picture of all three of them on his desk at work.

Now, I may be a little old-fashioned on this, but I do kind of feel like Valentine’s cards should be primarily from the child giving them out, not the parent.  And since G was old enough last year to work on tracing letters in his preschool class, this is what we did for the ones he handed out in his class:

I wrote out the sentence “Hi (friend’s name)! I think you are…” and then I gave G a list of some positive adjectives to pick from – nice, smart, cool, pretty, funny, and sweet.  For each one, he told me which word he thought fit that person, and I wrote that word in a light-colored marker.  I also wrote his name in the same marker, and then I had him trace over those two things.

We added a Toy Story sticker and then put this little card in the envelope alongside his Woody picture. I also taped a little Valentine’s-themed bag of goldfish crackers to the final product.

So here we are, it’s 2016, and my chances to do themes that all three kids enjoy are probably running out now that everyone’s getting older, so I’m enjoying it while I can.  The kids picked their favorite characters from Pixar’s Inside Out, I threw some basic costumes together, and – ta da!

G’s Inside Out Valentine, 2016:

Little G’s Inside Out Valentine, 2016:

And C’s Inside Out Valentine, 2016:

Little-known facts: I didn’t bother putting face or body paint on anyone, as the thought of three kids running around the house smearing makeup on every surface was enough to give me hives.  I just did that in Photoshop.  I did, however, make them wear wigs, and that Joy wig started it’s life as a very long and curly mermaid wig.  I gave it a terrible haircut and hoped for the best.  Also, the silhouette outlines of the heads are different on each one because I actually used each kid’s own profile for it on their card.

This year, I tried to have the twins participate in writing their cards, and I had G write the entire card to each of his friends himself.  And let me tell you, in the 11th hour, I fully regretted that decision, as the process took much longer than either of us anticipated and it was very difficult for him to sit and focus on the project after a long day of preschool.

The twins obviously aren’t ready for the letter-tracing activity that I tried to offer on this, but they did scribble in the right places on most of the cards, haha.  G did well with the first few cards but ended up needing some guidelines drawn for him on the rest because the words were starting to go everywhere. I’m so proud of how far he’s come with his writing, though!

I glued those cards to the backs of their Inside Out themed photos and then taped a lollipop to the front of the envelope.

(I had these hideous neon green envelopes hanging out in the garage from an old invitation project. Perfect!)

So there we have it – character valentines for kids, done the not-so-easy, actually-pretty-hard way.  Ha!  Hope you all had a lovely holiday!