Need an easy project to represent a group for Valentine’s Day? I came up with this for the kids at the Boys & Girls Club here, but it can work with as few as two. Kids and grown-ups can join in this Hearts & Hands Project! The linking hands represent togetherness, teamwork, sharing, support. Form them into a heart shape and it represents caring, friendship love, any good qualities you want to express. We worked on the Hearts & Hands Project for weeks, but that involved dozens of kids & staff! It can be done in less than an hour with fewer people. And it’s fun joining Hearts & Hands!
What you need:
1) Poster board: We used white, but use what you like. If you have only a few hands to put up, another piece of construction paper may be enough to use as background. Or a small piece of cardboard.
2) Construction paper of varying colors (large enough for the biggest hand you’ll make)
3) Washable markers, scissors, glue, damp wiping rag (for glue drips)
What you do:
1) Everyone choose a color of paper you like. Don’t go getting all “That one clashes with Tiarra’s color!” As long as it shows on the poster board, it’s fine. With a not-too-blunt washable marker, trace the hand. Really young kids need help. Remind everyone to lay the hand they don’t write with on the paper, so they can trace it with whichever is their dominant hand. It helps when you’re linking them, if a bit of the wrist is there, too.
2) Decorate the hand with markers or crayons. Write names across the palm, not on the wrist. It will be partially covered by someone’s fingers. Encourage kids to draw rings, fingernails, hearts, (skulls, daggers), any symbol that makes it more personally represent them!
3) Cut out the hands. Obviously, really young kids can’t do this step. Older kids may like to help, but don’t be TOO fussy if the fingers get strangely shaped or nipped. (I had to re-attach a whole thumb!)
4) Before gluing, lay the hands in a more-or-less heart shape pattern on the poster board. This takes a little maneuvering. The two bottom hands (the “point” of the heart) will face up & out in opposite directions. The fingers of one hand should touch the wrist in front of it. [See attached photos for ideas.] If you make only two hands, see the close up picture showing how two hands can link in a way that forms a little heart with the thumbs & pointing fingers. You could even put a teensy photo in there, rather than the tiny heart!
5) Carefully lift edges of hands, one at a time, squeezing a little glue underneath. Make sure to get some under the wrist, the palm, and the fingertips. I made sure our Hearts & Hands were totally glued, since we wanted to display them, & kids will pick & pull at anything loose! But for a small group or family, you may not need to get glue under every molecule of the hand. As long as it sticks to the background for a few days…
6) Now everyone gets to cut out paper hearts! Remember the trick? Fold your paper in half. Starting at the edge of the fold, trace half a heart. Cut it out & when you open it up, you have a heart… more or less. Don’t be such a perfectionist! Practice makes perfect, & the Hearts & Hands Project gives plenty of practice. Lots of little hearts in varying colors & sizes can be glued inside & outside the Hearts & Hands shape you’ve made.
7) For a really nice effect, make one big heart for the center. But cut the middle out after you make it. A gruff, grumbly 12 yr. old boy at the Club came up with this & made lovely delicate hearts of all sizes! He did all the center hearts. Who knew he was such a sensitive artist? I wrote words that represent ideals at the Boys & Girls Club in the center of each poster. The heart outline frames the word in the middle and emphasizes the shape of the Hearts & Hands Project.
Remember to add ideas or adapt this to whatever works best for your group. It’s for Valentine’s Day, and it’s all about putting Hearts & Hands together!