Sweet and Sensory-Friendly Valentine's Day: Cookies and Crafts for Kids


Valentine's Day is all about love, appreciation, and sweet treats. For families with children who have autism or sensory sensitivities, celebrating this special day can be a delightful and meaningful experience. In this blog, we'll share some tips and creative ideas for making Valentine's Day sensory-friendly and enjoyable for kids of all abilities. We'll also provide gluten-free and natural cookie recipes that you can bake together for a heartwarming celebration.

Tip #1: Sensory-Friendly Decorations Create a sensory-friendly Valentine's Day environment by using soft, soothing colors like pastel pinks, purples, and blues. Consider decorating with heart-shaped objects made from various textures, such as felt, fabric, or foam. These tactile decorations can provide a calming and engaging sensory experience for children who enjoy touch-based exploration.

Tip #2: Craft Time Engage your child in Valentine's Day-themed crafts that enhance their creativity and fine motor skills. Try activities like making handprint hearts, creating textured Valentine's Day cards, or crafting sensory-friendly "love bugs" using pompoms, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. These projects are not only fun but also offer opportunities for sensory stimulation and artistic expression.

Valentine's Day Cookie Recipes: Now, let's move on to the heart of the celebration – delicious gluten-free and natural cookie recipes that you and your child can prepare together. These treats are free from artificial additives and can be tailored to suit various sensory preferences.

Recipe #1: Gluten-Free Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Hearts Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • Gluten-free chocolate chips (for dipping)


  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, then gradually mix in the gluten-free flour blend until the dough forms.
  3. Roll out the dough on a gluten-free floured surface and cut into heart shapes using cookie cutters.
  4. Place the hearts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
  6. Let the cookies cool.
  7. Melt the gluten-free chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
  8. Dip each heart-shaped cookie into the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off.
  9. Place the chocolate-dipped cookies on parchment paper and refrigerate to set.

Recipe #2: Nut Butter Thumbprint Cookies Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural nut butter (e.g., almond, peanut, or sunflower seed)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • All-natural fruit preserves (flavor of your choice)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the natural nut butter, pure maple syrup, egg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. Scoop out small portions of the dough and roll them into balls.
  4. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each.
  5. Use your thumb or a small spoon to create an indentation in the center of each cookie.
  6. Fill each indentation with your preferred all-natural fruit preserves.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool before serving.

Recipe #3: Gluten-Free Raspberry Almond Bars Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam (all-natural)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the gluten-free flour blend and almond meal, mixing until a crumbly dough forms.
  4. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to form the base.
  5. Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the dough.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the jam layer.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  8. Let the bars cool before cutting them into squares.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with sensory-friendly decorations, engaging crafts, and these delightful gluten-free and natural cookies. Spend quality time together as a family while nurturing creativity and sensory exploration. Embrace the love and joy that come with this special holiday, making it a memorable experience for every member of your family.




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