My daughter has inherited my crafty genes and will “do projects” any chance she gets. We have piles of things cut, glued, glittered, and stuck together everywhere. I try to channel this creative energy into projects that are somewhat organized and, more importantly, will leave my house! Valentine’s Day provides a perfect excuse to use our creative energy and entertain the kids for a bit on a lazy Saturday morning.
Like most moms, I have about a billion pins on my Pinterest boards. After looking through them, I decided most were entirely too complicated for a five-year-old’s fingers and attention span. So, I simplified, combined, and decided on these little butterflies. If you have older kids, you can definitely get more intricate by adding eyeballs and different-shaped wings.
Step one: I used cardstock and cut one sheet in half, then folded it in half to make my butterfly. I drew butterfly wings with a little tab for the body. It took a couple of tries before I found one I liked. Finally, I traced it out on the rest of the cardstock and cut away while watching the latest episode of Young Sheldon. (Side note: Does anyone else find this depiction of 1980s Texas hits entirely too close to home?)
My son is obsessed with everything rainbow. In an attempt to get him excited about the project, I went with multiple colors. You can pick whatever colors your kiddos like. I cut two little slits in the body so we could insert the lollipop bodies later. It turned out that I cut my slits a bit too big. The lollipops slide easily in and out, so we will go back later and put a piece of tape on the back to hold them stable. You want your slits to be just a bit bigger than the stick so the lollipop stays firmly in place.
Saturday morning, I let my kids loose with heart stickers I got at the Dollar Store and Hobby Lobby. My only rules were they had to leave that center section clear and stickers only went on one side of the paper. We will all be covered in glitter for the next month, but it was fun for them and allowed me to get through my coffee in relative peace. Then Mom stepped in to wrap the pipe cleaners around the lollipop “head.” I let the kids shape the ends into antenna. Older kids could definitely do this entirely on their own; I didn’t trust mine not to open and eat all the lollipops. Finally, my daughter and I inserted all the lollipops into the slits so our butterflies had bodies.
I did make some adjustments for age and learning as we went along. We wrote “From: [kiddo name]” on the back of each butterfly before setting them loose with stickers. It was easier than trying to do it after the butterflies were assembled and made it clear which side of the paper got stickers. In retrospect, we could have gotten some Valentine’s Day stickers or used regular labels printed out on the computer and attached them after we were all done. We used dumdums because they are (a) a favorite in our house; and (b) super cheap. Use whatever lollipops float your boat. Originally I had planned on gluing on little googly eyes. It turns out Elmer’s glue in any form does not stick to the waxy wrapper and I’m just not willing to hot glue 60 eyeballs on all those little bodies. So our butterflies are eyeless.
The simple joy of crafting is awesome and would be enough for me to keep coming up with projects for the kids. But I am also discovering that this provides a no-pressure time for my kids to talk to me about whatever is on their mind. Sometimes it’s silly things like talking about imaginary robots and what color hearts go on which butterfly. But sometimes, it turns into things more important. While we put stickers on our butterflies we talked about allergies and what different allergic reactions look like and why we have to be respectful about what other people need to be safe. We talked about saying sorry and how to “make it better,” too.
It’s important to me that my kids feel comfortable talking to me when the important stuff comes up. If making glitter butterflies for Valentine’s Day helps them talk to me, then our house will probably be glitter central for the next dozen or so years.