Creative Valentines Day Card Box Ideas

Getting Valentine’s Day cards is oh, so much more fun for kiddos when they have a special mailbox in which to hold their love notes. And whether you’ve got a few minutes to cram or a few hours to spare DIY-ing with your little cupids, here are a few fun Valentine mailbox projects to try this year.

photo: Giggles Galore

Don’t have time to run to the craft store? This silly Valentine’s Monster is easy to make and uses items that you probably have in your house right now (Got a tissue box? An egg carton? Some pipe cleaners? You’re almost there!). Head over to Giggles Galore to get the scoop. And, be sure to scroll all the way down and you’ll see her other crazy-cute creation, a Pretty Little Piggy Valentine box made out of an empty bleach container.

r2d2-valentine-box-finalphoto: Joys of Boys

Head to your local Dollar store, pick up a white swivel-top trash can and you’re halfway to making this simple R2D2 Valentine Box. Joys of Boys Blogger (and mother of FOUR boys!) Kara Lewis has the instructions here. Bonus: If your Star Wars fanatic want to send some Force-ful Valentine cards, check out her free Star Wars Valentine printables.

cereal-box-mailboxphoto: Punkin Patterns

It’s a little bit traditional, a little shabby chic—this Valentine Box from Punkin Patterns lets you put your own special stamp on your project by wrapping a carefully folded cereal box with whatever scrapbook paper fits your kiddo’s personal style. Go to Punkin Patterns to find out more.

cereal-box-valentinephoto: Plaid Online 

Your Valentine will be ready to pack up and head out with this easy project that makes a suitcase-style Valentine box. What’s more, the case is just a repurposed cereal box (with a whole lot of decorations on top). Kids will love collecting their loot and then whisking their box away by the handles when the end-of-the-day bell rings. Get the instructions at Plaid Online.

monster-valentine-box-2photo: One Creative Mommy

Let’s be honest: Not all parents have it in them to pull off a Pinterest-worthy project every time their kids have a special occasion. For moms and dads who don’t have a lot of time (or money) to prep their kids’ projects, this Valentine box is uber-simple (with a free printable!) and totally adorable. Head to One Creative Mommy to get the instructions.

feed-me-valentinephoto: Small Fry

For kids who want to get noticed, this “Feed Me” Valentine box is sure to do the trick. Your little ones will love seeing their silly faces magnified for this mailbox craft that uses your kids’ wide-open mouths as the letter slots. Find out more from the crafty Mamas at Small Fry Blog.

pokemon-valentine-boxphoto: Ansley Designs

Got a Pokemon fanatic? He’ll be catching some serious Poke-looks with this homemade Charizard Valentine box. A shoebox, colored construction paper, and a little bit of artistic finesse are all you’ll need to create the famous Pokemon dragon. Ansley from Ansley Designs walks you through the project here.

little-pink-mailboxesphoto:  Make And Takes

Sometimes, the best Valentine mailbox is simply, just… a mailbox. This Little Pink Mailbox project may take a little bit of thrift-store scouring to score the perfect mini mailbox, but once you find it, all you need is a fresh coat of paint to make it Valentine-ready. Plus, this little beauty can be used all year long (because, really, any day is a good day for a love note!). Get some inspiration from Kami at at Make and Takes.

youve-got-mail-boxphoto: Camp Clem

Your kids will love the real postal box look of this “You’ve Got Mail(box)” created by southern mama Gina Cleminson at Camp Clem. The faux USPS box may look complicated, but it’s all made with a shoebox, some carefully cut slabs of cardboard, and a printed logo. Get the surprisingly simple instructions here.

Happy card-collecting!

Do you have any fun Valentine’s Day traditions? Share them with us in the comments section below!

—Melissa Heckscher

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Easy Dragon Crafts for Kids

They soar through your little adventurer’s imagination breathing fire, challenging knights of the realm and guarding magical eggs against would-be thieves. In short, dragons are epic. And your half pint can’t get enough of them. Indulge her fiery dragon dreams with one of our favorite crafts. We’ve got all you need to know below.


1. After you decorate dazzling dragon’s eggs, pretend to be Harry Potter whisking it out from under the Hungarian Horntail’s nose, while your Gryffindor team cheers you on. Sian at can get you started with this one!


2. Bet you can’t guess what gives this Chinese dragon craft its scaly design. Find out at, where easy step-by-step instructions walk you and the Littles through this serpentine creation.


3. Cut and paste this adorbs no-sew dragon mask that’ll transform your mini spitfire into one fierce fire-breather. The ultra-talented crafters over at can fill you in on the deets.


4. Take to the skies when you engineer flying dragons. To complete this simple project, you need paper plates, paints or markers and a downloadable template designed by Print, cut, color, play!


5. Shield your mighty mini when he goes out to slay imaginary dragons with this cardboard project. Anna at walks crafters through the process to put it all together.


photo: Allison Sutcliffe

6. Paint gleaming dragon’s eyes with this painless craft. We love the big payout this quick, arty activity has for tiny dragon lovers. To make your own, check out the how-to vid Our Peaceful Planet posted on YouTube.



7. Create a fire-breathing dragon with leftover toilet paper rolls. spells out the need-to-know info to make this manually activated, monstrously fun craft.



8. Educate your preschoolers with this Dragon D craft. Designed by Allison at, it’s as simple as A-B-C-D to make!


9. Colored construction paper is the main ingredient for this delightfully easy-to-put-together dragon hand puppet, designed by Sarah at We love these playful guys!


10. Cut and paste a wearable dragon spine so your sidekick can really be in character while she plays through the day. is where you’ll find the necessary project deets.

Which one of these crafts are you going to try? Tell us how it goes in a comment.

—Allison Sutcliffe

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How to Play With Snowflakes in Any Weather

Whether your sidekick playfully carves out angels in the snow or sits at the window longing for some of that white stuff to actually fall, she’s all about the frosty flakes. And while play is her main motivation, she’s got serious questions about this wonderful winter phenomenon. Like, how do snowflakes form and what do they really look like up close? Dig deep with a flurry of experimental activities we’ve outlined below to find seriously scientific answers to all her snowflake questions.

girl-building-snowflake-molecule-allison-sutcliffephoto: Allison Sutcliffe

Piece it Together

We hate to break it to you, but those adorably sweet snowflake cutouts your mini-me has been bringing home from school this winter don’t pass scientific muster. Because even though folding paper to make four or eight-sided flakes is super easy, Mother Nature’s snowflakes showcase six-sided symmetry exclusively.

Before diving into your own masterpiece, introduce your scientifically-inclined sidekick to the principle that helps explain why six is the magic number for snowflakes: When the water/oxygen molecules bond during freezing they make hexagons. Recreate this microscopic lattice phenomenon on a larger scale using mini marshmallows and toothpicks with your Little (Click on the link above to find a handy-dandy diagram from Ohio State University!)

cutting-out-a-snowflake-allison-sutcliffephoto: Allison Sutcliffe

Cut it Out

Now that your kiddo’s got the six-sided thing down, it’s time to make some of your own scientifically accurate snowflakes from paper. We’ve found an easy way for the tot lot to get the signature six-sided look they’re going for (hint: it’s all about the fold). Simply follow this illustrated instructional to make paper snowflakes that are true to life. And if you’re looking to bypass the mess, the Make-A-Flake digital option is definitely the way to go. Your tech-savvy tot can cut and save all her frosty creations and save trees too!

snowflake-in-hand-samuel-chou-flickrphoto: Samuel Chou via Flickr

Get Real

Observation is the next step in this scientific process. It’s time to seek out snowflakes in the real world. If you’ve got some of the fresh white stuff on the ground outside, go to it. If not, you’ve got to get creative and make your own: Leave your freezer door open for a couple of minutes and then close it for 20. When you open it again, your inquisitive cutie should find frosty snowflakes lining the interior.

Now that you’ve got snow to work with, it’s time to get an up close look at some of Mother Nature’s most delicately beautiful creations. To do this, you’ll need a magnifying glass and a dark piece of paper or, if you’re outside, you can also capture snowflakes on clothing like your gloves or jacket sleeve. Gather a few freshies and use the magnifying glass to examine them in detail (If you’re working with freezer snowflakes, melting is an issue, so leave those tiny miracles in the freezer while you magnify.).

Reassure your little scientists that it’s true, no two are alike, and let them know that just one can be made up of over 200 tiny ice crystals! While you’re looking, have your mini-me count up the sides and use this chart to match what you’ve got in hand with standard ice crystals.


Watch and Learn

You’ve figured out a snowflake’s molecular structure, cut out creative and accurate examples of your own, and examined the real deal through a handheld magnifying glass. Now it’s time to take it one step further. Go behind the scene with rad videos that explain a ton of science behind snowflakes, like their formation and life cycle.

Science Friday’s Snowflake Safari follows Kenneth Libbrecht—CalTech’s resident snowflake expert—a scientist who’s spent a lot of time looking into these chilly chips, as he examines snowflake basics. Be sure to augment your own magnifying experience by flipping through some of Libbrecht’s spectacular snowflake slides online. They’re a great way to demonstrate many of the concepts you and your kiddo have already explored.

Finish up your viewing session with the National Science Foundation’s video about photographing snowflakes. It starts with the man who pioneered the field, Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, and ends with the discoveries made by the Present Weather Imager, a high tech camera that captures snowflakes in action. Lights, camera, learn!

growing-a-crystal-snowflake-allison-sutcliffephoto: Allison Sutcliffe

Make Your Own

Wrap up what you’ve learned by making a crystal snowflake with your wee one. Use pipe cleaners to create a six-sided snowflake that gets suspended in a Borax solution overnight. What’s created is a larger-than-life snowflake that’s just as sparkly as the ones that fall from the sky. Click here to find out more.

Which one of these activities do you want to try? Tell us how it goes in a comment.

—Allison Sutcliffe

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DIY Mailbox for Kids

Is there anything more exciting to kids than a cardboard box? Yes: a cardboard box that’s been painted and lettered to look like their own personal mailbox! Read on for the super-easy instructions that’ll get your kids going totally postal… all in good fun, of course.

mailbox craft supplies

What you’ll need:

Cardboard Box


Box cutter

Acrylic paint (we used blue) and paintbrush

Packing tape

Large letter stickers

Felt, velcro stickers, glue, and scissors (optional, for making “envelopes”)


Step 1: Tape up your box on all sides
Use packing tape to tape up your empty box so that all sides are solid and sturdy. Go ahead and give your little helpers some tape, too. They may not tape it on the right place, but they’ll have fun trying (and you’re going to paint over the whole thing anyway).

Step 2: Make some cuts
Use a pencil to make lines on your box where you’d like the mail slot, package slot, and mail retrieval slot (on the back end) to be. Then, use a box cutter (way easier than scissors — we tried!) to cut your box along the lines.


Step 3: Bring on the color!
Paint your mailbox. Several coats will probably be needed to cover the cardboard as well as hide any stickers, patterns, or writing. We wanted our mailbox to look just like the one on the street corner, so we opted for a few coats of royal blue; however, there are no rules! Want to go rainbows and polka dots? Go for it! You can even sprinkle glitter on the paint while it’s still drying if you want to make a “magical” sort of box (this might be a great way for the Tooth Fairy or any other, otherworldly friends to deliver gifts and trinkets to wishful kiddos).


Step 4: Add some stickers
When the paint is completely dry, use the letter stickers to label the “Letters” and “Packages” slots on the front of your mailbox. We also spelled out “MAIL” on both sides of our mailbox. If you want to get really formal, you could instead slap on a real U.S. Postal Service logo on the sides of your mailbox. You can find a large one to print here.

Note: It helps to use a ruler when you apply the letters, just so you get them all on a straight line.


Step 5: (Optional) Make some play “mail”
After my overeager little mail-sender crushed a few too many paper envelopes trying to squish letters into the mail slot, I realized it would be better to make a pliable envelope that she could easily stuff into the slots. To do this, take a piece of felt and fold it in half with one side extending longer than the other so it can be folded over to make an envelope shape. Use a hot glue gun (if you have one) to seal the sides of the envelope together; then, cut the overhanging “lip” to make a triangle(-ish) shape. Use Velcro stickers to fasten the letters shut.

hannah-putting-mail-in-mailboxDo your kids like to send letters? Share your mail-worthy ideas with us in the comments section below! 

— All copy and photos by Melissa Heckscher

*This post was inspired by a similar mailbox craft project at

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How to Create a 2017 Vision Board

You’ve started off 2017 like a boss, but what about your long-range dreams for the year? Round up your little dreamers and some basic art supplies to make a real life vision board! From learning a new skill to going on an amazing trip, there’s no end to the awesome things ahead. Scroll down for the easy tutorial.

What You’ll Need

Painting canvas in any size

Old magazines

Mod Podge (or similar decoupaging paste) 



What to Do


If you can see your aspirations on a daily basis, they are more likely to become a reality. Start by writing down goals and ideas, and have your kids do the same! 


Browse the old magazines for words, phrases and images that represent each goal. 


Use the Mod Podge to paste each clipped item onto the blank canvas. Be sure to brush a coat of the gloss over each image. Don’t worry, it will dry clear!


Once it’s done, your kids can decide where to hang or place their vision board, and remember, it should be a place they can see clearly!

Have you ever made a vision board? Share with us in a comment below.

Thanks to The Artful Parent for inspiring this post.

—All images and copy by Gabby Cullen

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Fun DIY ime Capsule Project for Kids

The year’s almost over—what was your favorite part? Have your kids ask themselves that question and others with this easy DIY time capsule. Of course, while building a time capsule makes a fun New Year’s Eve craft project, it can be done any time of year. Give your kids the gift of nostalgia! Read on for the simple instructions.

What you’ll need:

Two 16 oz plastic soda bottles
Box cutter or craft knife (XActo knife)
Clear packing tape
Paper, pens, paint, ticket stubs, knickknacks, etc. to help fill your time capsule with memories


Step One: Cut your “capsule”
Remove the labels from two clear plastic soda bottles. Then, using a box cutter or X-ACTO knife, (parents!) cut the bottles where the flat side meets the sloped top as shown.

Step Two: Cut notches in one of the bottles
Use scissors to cut four notches in the rim of ONE of the bottles. This will make it easier to squeeze one bottle into into the other to make the capsule shape.


Step Three: Now, freeze time!
Now that the capsule is prepped, it’s time to find ways to fill it. Talk to your kids about their favorite moments from the year — then see if you can find small items or photos to represent those moments. Some recommendations: Have your little memory-makers put their handprints on paper; it’s a fun way for them to see how they (and their hands) grow from year to year. Also: A simple questionnaire is a must for recording your kids’ current faves. Not sure what questions to ask? Try this easy printable from Uncommon Designs Online.

You could also have your kids write a letter to their future selves, give advice to their future selves, or make a hypothesis as to what their future selves will be doing in exactly one year (or whenever you’ve decided to open your time capsule). Have fun with it!


Step Four: Gather all your materials
Make sure you’ll have enough space to fit all your year-end goodies into your capsule. Our capsule included: Handprints of all three kids; a 2016 questionnaire; four pages of thumbnail-sized photos of our year; some Pokemon cards and figures; and two self portraits.

Step Five: Pack it up!
Roll up your papers and photos and slide it into one end of the capsule. Insert any small items in the middle. Then, close the capsule by sliding the two bottles together (the notched side should squeeze right into the other side). Seal your capsule with clear packing tape.

Step Six: Label and decorate
Label your time capsule with the year and the appropriate instructions as to when the capsule can be opened.

time-capsule-on-shelfStep Seven: Hide (or bury) it somewhere until next year
Want to bury your time capsule? Go for it! As long as your capsule is completely sealed, it should last underground for a year or two without a problem. Not up for digging, or don’t have the proper yard for burying? Place your time capsule high on a shelf or drawer, out of reach of prying hands. Open it next year… in five years… whenever you’re ready for some instant nostalgia.

Happy New Year!

Do you have any New Year’s Eve traditions? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

— All copy and photos by Melissa Heckscher

*This post was inspired by a similar Time Capsule project at Our Peaceful Planet

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