Simple Service: Valentine's Card Playdate for Assisted Living Center

Service Project: make cards to give to folks at an assisted living center

Prep time: just enough to round up some craft supplies for cards

Cost: Free (just use whatever art supplies you have); maybe a $1 plastic tablecloth from the dollar store to make the mess easier to wipe up and toss if you're doing it with messy kids

Duration: 15-45 minutes plus delivery

Lesson(s) learned: No matter how young I am, I can brighten up someone's day

Snacks to go along with the theme: lunch meat and cheese cut into heart shapes with cookie cutter served with crackers, heart shaped pieces of fruit (really easy if you buy spears of melons and pineapple and then cut a divit to form a heart shape and slice), etc.

How we did it:

Remember Janna and Jordan from a Spotlight on Service post last year?  They still go to that same assisted living place by their house.  Since they have such a good relationship with the folks there, we thought it might be nice to make some Valentine's cards for them and then deliver them.  We'll deliver them later this week but I wanted to share how we made the cards today so you would have plenty of time to make and deliver some cards of your own before Valentine's Day.

We had a bunch of toddlers over to help make cards.  I wanted the toddlers to be the ones making them but wanted them to look nice so I picked 2 easy types of cards that would look nice no matter what the toddlers did.  If your kids are different ages, adapt to their abilities.  

First up was heart-stamped cards.  Mold a toilet paper roll into a heart shape, stick some tape around it for stability, place a small amount of paint on a tray/plate, and let the kids stamp hearts onto the paper.  I used big sheets of paper which I cut and folded into cards once the paint dried but any size would do.  Most kids stripped down to their diapers/undies to make things a little easier to cleanup.

Most of the toddlers ended up with paint all over them so they took a little break to clean off in the tub while I wiped up any spilled paint on the plastic tablecloth (which I would later toss but I didn't want them getting paint on them again when they returned to the table).

Next up was watercolor cards.  Parents wrote a simple message on a piece of watercolor paper (normal heavy-weight drawing paper or even regular white paper would work too) with a white crayon and then the kids went to town with the water color paints.  The crayon created a water resist situation so the message showed up once the paint dried.  

One issue we ran into: Some of the crayon messages didn't show up very well and I finally figured out that it was the ones made with the ultra-washable toddler crayons (since that's what I had and I didn't even think it being an issue) so learn from my mistake and use a regular crayon!! 

Hope this inspires you to create some of your own Valentine's cards!  One thing that I loved about this project was that I knew the cards were going to people who we (well, Jordan and Janna especially) had a relationship with so the cards would be more meaningful than just cards made by a stranger.  If you know anyone that could use a little cheer to their day (who doesn't need that?!) then make some for them; they will love it!