My kids are getting old enough now that our holiday traditions are not just things we are starting but things we have actually done in years before.
We made gingerbread houses with friends for the second year in a row this Christmas. The same friends came over to celebrate my middle child’s birthday. And the boys rolled out dough and painted salt dough hearts to give away on Valentines’ Day just like last year.
We made these last year and passed them out to everyone at church. No exaggeration– we go to a small church and everyone received at least one heart. The hearts were a spur of the moment project as we were cooped up with cold temperatures outside and a brand-new baby inside. The project was a great way to spend some quality time with my boys and to give some of their energy a constructive outlet. Besides, it was very sweet for this mama to watch her littles passing out Valentines to friends and family at church.
I don’t have any deep thoughts on whether or not Valentines Day is more than just a commercial holiday designed to get us to buy overpriced chocolates or how there are people who go over the top celebrating the holiday. But, with most things, I think that we choose to make it what we want.
Which means that we can make it another opportunity to make much of the love of Christ and His commands to love one another.
While you could complete this project in a day, it’s best spread out over two or more days. The dough is quick to make but then needs to bake in a warm oven for about 3 hours. After the hearts are cooled, they can be painted. Then comes more waiting for the paint to dry before writing the verses on them and adhering the magnets or string to the back. All in all, it’s a great project do during these cold days when everyone is likely a little stir-crazy and needing a little more direction.
Making Salt Dough Scripture Valentines
Step 1: Make the Hearts
The dough is made by mixing together 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 1 1/2 cups cold water together in a medium mixing bowl. You want a dough that is soft without being sticky. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it is too crumbly, add a tablespoon more of water at a time.
Roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thickness and cut the hearts using cookie cutters. Place the hearts tightly together on a couple large baking sheets. (Parchment paper is optional but I love not having to wash my baking sheets).
Bake in a 250° oven for 3-4 hours until completely dried and hardened, flipping the hearts over after 2 hours.
Let the hearts cool completely.
Step 2: Paint the Hearts
Use washable kids’ paint or tempera paint to paint the hearts. In order to stretch the paint a bit, I watered the colors down slightly. Also, a rimmed baking sheet is great for keeping the mess to a minimum when your kids are painting. We use them whenever we bring out any kind of paint.
Set the hearts in a safe place to dry completely.
Step 3: Write the Scripture on the Hearts
Depending on how young your children are, you probably will do the next two steps on your own. But even if you do, make sure you use the opportunity to share the verses and their meanings with your kids.
Use a sharpie or another type of permanent marker to write the verses on the hearts. Here are the ones I used for our hearts:
We love, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be calledchildren of God.
1 John 3:1
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if youhave love for one another.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
His banner over me is love.
Song of Solomon 2:4
Step 4: Attach the Magnets or String to the Hearts
We only did magnets last year, which is my favorite option, but now that we have a stainless steel refrigerator, I’m a little more aware of the fact that not everyone has a great place to put decorative magnets. So this year, I did an assortment of magnets and strings to hang the hearts.
Step 5: Share the Love and Pass Out Your Valentines!