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One of my favorite things about having kids is experiencing the world freshly again. Through their eyes everything is so wonderfully new! Holidays have been particularly fun this year, my daughter, Aurora turns four soon and Grayson just turned two. They’re finally at an age where they understand what is happening, while still questioning why we’re doing whatever silly traditions we’re taking part in.

As Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, I told them the story of St. Valentine and how he helped people get married even when the emperor told him not to. He helped love grow, and because he signed his letters “from your Valentine” we have since adopted the custom of sending our own love letters on February 14th.

In honor of St. Valentine, and just because I think it’s always fun to find creative ways to say “I love you,” we made a few sneaky love notes for our friends and family. These special cards are going to take a little bit of detective work if you want to break our secret codes!

To make these crayon resist cards, help your pre-schooler follow these steps:

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half, draw the outline of half a heart, and then cut it out.
  2. Use a white or clear wax crayon to write a secret message.
  3. To decode the letter, paint with watercolors all over the surface of the heart.

The wax in the crayon repels the watercolor, so anywhere you draw will remain white, it’s always fun to work in a mini science lesson in when you can! Here are Rora and Gray’s paintings, I think they turned out beautifully!

Another great Valentine themed learning activity is using invisible ink to learn letters! Aurora is working on writing the alphabet, and what has been the hardest for her is keeping track of uppercase and lowercase letters, so I thought this craft would help her practice!

  1. Have your child write one letter on each side of the fold by dipping a q-tip in to the lemon juice and painting.
  2. After the lemon juice dries, hold the paper up to a hot lightbulb (if you don’t have any that get hot enough, you can use a stove burner too).
  3. When the lemon juice is heated, it oxidizes and turns brown. A chemical reaction takes place before your very eyes and you’re left with the secret message revealed!

The last activity we did was the kids' favorite… as anything involving candy generally is! We wrote affirming love notes and used lollipops to decode them! This activity was inspired by Toddler Approved’s decoder cookies.

  1. Gather popsicle or sucker sticks, red Jolly Ranchers (they must be red), and an oven safe pan or silicone mat. Unwrap the candies and place them in groups of three.
  2. Bake the candy for 10 minutes at 200 degrees. Once they’ve melted, remove them from the oven and place the sticks on them, twirl them around a bit to make sure they’re completely covered.
  3. While they cool, use a blue crayon to write a love note.
  4. Use red and purple colors to draw squiggles all over your note!
  5. Decorate your card with a heart frame or other embellishments!
  6. When you place the red candy over the card it cancels out the red crayon marks and only the blue shows through! Once you’re done decoding, enjoy the homemade sucker!

These turned out really cute, the kids are very excited to give them to Daddy when he gets home! If you liked these decoding activities, be sure to check out my blog, Life Lesson Plans, where I write about more activities that combine science, art, and sensory play for preschoolers!

Brigette from is blogging for us from Germany, but is an Omaha native. She keeps her two little ones busy with a variety of learning activities.

Check out the rest of Brigette's ParentSavvy posts.


from Life Lesson Plans and The Gossamer Girl

Brigette was born and raised in Nebraska, but ever since her husband joined the Air Force, she has traveled around the world with him and their two young kids. First living in Hawaii, and then in Germany, their family has soaked up all sorts of cultural experiences that she loves to weave in to her writing. She and the kids are now back home and are rediscovering their roots. Recently, Brigette started writing a personal blog called The Gossamer Girl where she shares lifestyle stories about h ...

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