hearts for valentines craft

LHS Exclusive: Nature-Inspired Valentine’s Day Crafts

Grant Ausbury Uncategorized

It may seem like the new year has just begun (or that it has been January for 22 weeks already), but Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! This year we want to show a little extra love to our parks, our family and our friends, so we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite nature-inspired Valentine activities.

Most of these activities only require a few household items, or inexpensive supplies from your local craft store, so they are perfect for staying safe during the ongoing pandemic. 

Be sure to share your finished activities with us by posting to social media with #peopleplusparks, or email us at development@austinparks.org!  

Heart-Shaped Bird Feeder

Show your backyard birds how much you care, and help them stay healthy during these cold winter months with a heart-shaped feeder! More information, and images are available in the original post from By Stephanie Lynn. You can also see a list of other items you could add to your feeders, things to avoid, and why these feeders are so good for wildlife during the winter, here at Bird Feeder Expert. Have fun! 

Materials: 
  • Plain cheerios
  • Floral Wire  or pipe cleaner
  • Ribbon
How to: 
  1. Cut a strip of wire about 8 inches long, or choose a pipe cleaner, and thread a few cheerios onto it. 
  2. Begin to shape the top bumps of your heart, pushing the cheerios along as you go. Be sure not to fully close your heart yet, and don’t lose your cheerios off the other end!
  3. Continue adding cheerios until the heart shape is mostly full and covered in cereal. 
  4. Close up the ends of the wire at the bottom point of the heart by twisting together. 
  5. Make another heart feeder, leaving the bottom open.
  6. Slide the new heart onto to the finished one like the link of a chain before twisting the new bottom point closed.
  7. Repeat to make a chain of hearts as long as you’d like. 
  8. Tie a ribbon loop onto the top heart and hang in a tree, shrub, or on your porch.
  9. Enjoy watching your feathered friends and other wildlife snack on these loving treats!

Nature Walk Heart Wreath

We love a good nature scavenger hunt because it’s such a great way to introduce nature play and energize inquisitive young minds. This craft is a great way to showcase all the fun things you’ll find on a walk in the park, and show how much you love nature! This project can be a wreath for your front door, or an ornament to hang on door knobs or trees in the backyard - it just depends on what size paper or cardboard you have available. Check out photos and more in the original post on Word Play House.

Materials:
  • Nature bits like leaves, small rocks, shells, acorns, twigs, flowers, etc.
  • 2-3 pieces of construction paper, cardboard, poster board, recycled cereal boxes, or whatever you’d like to make the base of your wreath
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Paint, crayons, markers, or other decorative tools
How to:
  1. Make a heart template by folding your first piece of paper in half, and drawing half of a heart along the seam. Draw a second, smaller half heart inside.
  2. Cut along the larger heart line first, then along the smaller heart line to give you a heart outline with no middle. 
  3. Trace this heart template onto an unfolded piece of cardboard, construction paper, cereal box, etc. 
  4. Cut out this heart shape, including the middle heart, to give you a heart-shaped wreath 
  5. Paint red or pink, color the base, or leave natural!
  6. Glue your nature treasures onto the heart base. Let dry completely to make sure your treasures don’t fall off when it’s hung up.
  7. Glue a loop of ribbon or twine to the back, let dry completely, and hang wherever you’d like to showcase your work of art! 

Heart Reflector Hunt

This game is perfect for kiddos who stay up a little later, and when the sun is going down around 6pm. Using a few recycled materials, this flashlight scavenger hunt can be played in your yard, indoors, or your local park (just make sure to collect all the reflectors and be sure to follow leave no trace principles!). 

Materials:
  • Recycled aluminum foil, cans, or other metallic/shiny items like glitter
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Flashlights
How To:
  1. Under adult supervision trace 3-4 inch hearts on flattened pieces of aluminum foil or other metal - alternatively you could draw out hearts on paper and cover with glue/glitter too!
  2. Cut out 10, or more, heart reflectors 
  3. Glue twine or ribbon to each of your heart reflectors to hang them up 
  4. Take your flashlights and reflectors to your favorite park, out to the yard or hang them up around the house, try hiding them in low and high places, some easy and some hard to find
  5. Use your flashlights to search out each reflector, making sure to pick them up as you go. The kid with the most reflectors at the end of the game wins!