February 14th is Saint Valentine’s Day and is the time of year that we celebrate love and romance. As well as being an opportunity to tell our other half we love them (something you often don’t have time for once you have kids to attend to!), it’s also a chance to teach our children about love and telling people how special they are to us.
A lovely way to encourage little ones to learn about Valentine’s Day is through arts and crafts. You could spend an afternoon making Valentine’s Day themed cards with your child to give to their siblings, mummy, daddy or grandparents. Or how about baking some tasty heart shaped biscuits topped with yummy red icing? They do say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!
Homemade Valentine’s Day cards
What you will need (all child friendly versions):
• Red and white card
• Water based paint
• Glitter pens
To create gorgeous Valentine’s Day cards like the ones you can see in the picture above, you will need all of the materials listed here. Then it’s just a case of assisting your child as they get creative! Show them how to draw heart shapes and cut them out using scissors. They can stick their hearts on the backing card and colour in their creations using paint, crayons and glitter pens. If your child is older and is learning to write, this is a great chance to let them practise their writing skills. And what could be more heart-warming than a personal message hand written by your little treasure!
Heart shaped Valentine’s cookies
Preparation time: 1.5 hours-2 hours.
What you will need:
• Greaseproof paper
• Heart shaped cookie cutter
• Icing piping bag
• 340g butter
• 4 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 400g caster sugar
• 625g plain flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 125g icing sugar
• 110ml water
• 1 drop red food colouring
• 1 drop white food colouring
How to make your cookies:
1. Get a mixing bowl and cream the butter, then add the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Continue creaming your ingredients.
2. Keep combining the mixture while you add 500g of flour in 125g measures, followed by the salt. Keep 125g of flour for later.
3. Add the baking powder – make sure your measurement is exact as this will enable your cookies to rise.
4. Slowly stir in the final 125g of flour.
5. Place your greaseproof paper on a flat surface and knead the cookie dough, before wrapping it in the paper. Leave it in the fridge to chill for around 45 minutes to one hour.
6. Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 (160°C/gas mark 3 if it’s a fan oven).
7. Get your cookie dough out of the fridge and spread some flour on a flat surface. Knead the dough until the texture is firm and springy like play dough. If it’s sticking to your fingers, add some more flour until it feels ready to be rolled.
8. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out flat until it’s about 3mm thick.
9. Use your heart shaped cutters to create your cookies and spread them 1cm or 2cm apart on a baking tray.
10. How long you bake your cookies for depends on how you like the texture. The team at My Mum’s Diary likes them soft and bendy so we bake them for around 10 minutes, but you can do them slightly longer if you prefer them to be crunchy. Once they’re to your liking, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool down.
11. To make the icing sugar topping, add water to the icing sugar and stir until it’s smooth. Make one batch red using your red food colouring and the other white using the white food colouring.
12. Use a spoon to drop the red icing sugar onto each cookie and spread it neatly over the top. If you wish to add decorations – such as hearts, hugs and kisses – add the white icing to the icing piping bag and decorate as required.
Good luck with your creations! We hope our ideas help you to have a very special Valentine’s Day.
Image courtesy of: K.ristin