Fun Learning Sensory

Easy Preschool Candle Craft – a Valentine’s Day Sensory Activity

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An easy preschool candle craft combined with a Valentine’s Day-themed sensory activity all in one. Your toddler will be so proud to see their artwork displayed in your house!

decorated candles for a preschool valentine's day candle craft

This is a super easy candle decorating activity that you can do with toddlers and kids age 2 and up: Decorating a candle jar!

By the way, I have another Valentine’s Day themed activity here, this one is even easier and can be done with young babies AND toddlers: Valentine’s Day Sponge Painting.  Or try this Fall-themed sponge painting activity!

And if you’re looking for even MORE sensory activity ideas for toddlers, check out 52 Weeks of Sensory – it’s a year’s worth of sensory activities, one for every week of the year. 

Here’s what you need to make a lovely decorated candle:

  • glass candle jars from the dollar store (or any plastic or glass jars, it doesn’t even have to be a candle!)  – get at least two so you can each work on your own candle
  • crepe paper
  • construction paper or colorful stock paper
  • glue stick and/or glitter glue
  • washable finger paint and paint brushes
  • other accessories, such as craft pom poms, stickers, googly eyes, ribbons, dried flowers – anything really!

 

You’ve already got most of these things, right??

jar candle ready for toddler crafts time

Make sure you read the post and the How-To Activity Card below for lots of tips on this activity – what to do, how to adapt it for younger and older kids, safety tips, as well as tips for turning this into a sensory activity.

We went all-out pink and red for this activity. Yes, I know I have a son, but I encourage him to play with all kinds of toys and color (read my blog post about why boys should play with dolls).

Candle jar craft:

If you have an older toddler or older child, let them take the lead and decide how to decorate this jar!

If you have a younger toddler, sit down with your kiddo and show them how to glue on crepe paper or construction paper around the candle jar. I find that crepe paper goes on best when using a glue stick, but construction paper requires white school glue to really stick.

Crepe paper looks nicer when the candle is lit and the light is flickering through it.

Paint the lid with whatever color your child likes. I was able to convince my son to use red and pink to make this a Valentine’s Day themed craft.

toddler painting a jar lid

Then add any other accessories you like! We ended up with a few pom poms and googly eyes on the jars because my son refused anything else. I added some glitter glue decorations as well.

You can’t go wrong with this!

Here are some more beautiful jars to use as inspiration, if you don’t want to go all pink and red on these bad boys:

collage of toddler crafts - decorated candles

The sensory aspect of this activity

I did this activity primarily as a sensory activity for my son. As you can see from our pink and red candles I am not super craftsy.

As part of 52 Weeks of Sensory (aka my commitment to doing lots of sensory play and activities with my son!), I am trying to think of every way possible to get him involved in touching with different textures, such as sticky glue, slimy paint, rough crepe paper, soft pom poms, sticky googly eye stickers, etc. 

He doesn’t always like getting messy and sticky, so these activities are often a challenge for him even though he loves getting involved and trying to do things himself.

For example, we did a similar crafts activity in his preschool and he had a meltdown when I tried to get him to glue the crepe paper on. This is the best we were able to do:

So if your child struggles with sensory issues, definitely don’t PUSH them to do any of this if they are not comfortable. They can just watch. Or they can hand you the craft supplies without getting messy at first.

The important part is that they enjoy doing this with you, feel like they are a part of it, and want to get more involved next time. 

So get your child involved, even if he or she don’t want to touch things. Talk to your kid while you do this, explaining what you’re doing. Thank your child for helping you, making them feel important. Show off your creation and tell daddy (or grandma or auntie) how good your child did with helping! They will feel so proud.

toddler decorating a candle

Safety tips for doing this craft with a toddler

  • If you’re using a glass candle or jar, be careful not to drop it. In fact, you might want to do this activity on the floor, over a cheapo plastic table cloth to protect your floors from the mess
  • If you have a toddler who likes to put things in their mouth, don’t use small google eyes or pom poms, and make sure your paint is non-toxic and made for toddlers (such as this one)
  • If you do light the candle, make sure it is out of reach from your child, and never leave them alone with the candle. They might have more interest in this candle since they helped make it and might want to try to grab it!

Know someone who would love this easy craft activity for toddlers?? Share it with them using the share buttons at the bottom! Or save it on Pinterest:

valentine's day toddler craft pinterest graphic

Yield: 2 Valentine's Day candle jars

Easy Preschool Candle Craft - a Valentine's Day Sensory Activity

decorated candles for a preschool valentine's day candle craft

An easy preschool craft - decorating candle jars for Valentine's Day! A great craftsy activity for your toddler and you that doubles as a sensory activity.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 2 glass candle jars from the dollar store (one for you, one for your kiddo)
  • crepe paper (any color, try pink or red for Valentine's Day!)
  • construction paper or colorful stock paper
  • glue stick and/or glitter glue
  • washable finger paint
  • other accessories, such as craft pom poms, stickers, or ribbons

Tools

  • paint brushes
  • scissors

Instructions

  1. Paint the jar lid and let it dry. toddler painting a jar lid
  2. Glue the crepe paper or colorful paper around the jar. A glue stick works best for gluing crepe paper. White school glue works best for construction paper. toddler decorating a candle
  3. Add any other decorations, such as stickers, googly eyes, pom poms, ribbons, or glitter glue designs. preschool jar craft - decorated lid
  4. Display your candle art proudly!

Notes

  • Get the cheap candles from the dollar store, not the fancy expensive ones! If your dollar store doesn't have candle jars, get a mason jar and glue a tea light candle to the bottom. Or just use a plastic or glass jar.
  • Please be safe! Take care not to drop glass on the floor, not to let your little one put any of the crafts supplies in their mouth, and not to let them near the candle if you choose to light it

Did you make this project?

Share your photo on Instagram and tag me - I love seeing your creations! @highchairchronicles

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