Computer Skills Through Valentines


There are basic computer skills that every student needs to learn: opening, saving, and closing files; placing and sizing images; typing and choosing styles for text; editing text. Why not make a Valentine card and practice all those skills?

Here’s an easy way to create your project using a simple graphics program like MS Paint, which you probably already have on your PC:

  • Open the program and create a new file.
  • Choose File>Open and browse for an image. We’ve used copyright-free images from Dover here. Students can also make their own images or search for “Creative Commons” images. While you certainly can use any image you find online for a practice project and then throw it away without publishing it, we don’t like to do anything that gives students the idea that plagiarism is sometimes acceptable.
  • Place the image and change the size or other aspects if necessary.
  • Click and drag to make the canvas large enough for your text.
  • Click on the text icon (the letter A) and choose View>Text Toolbar to pick a font, size, and color.
  • Type in the text. We used a classic piece of love poetry, but you can have students make their own. If they quote from someone, have them cite the source correctly.

Turn the project around by uploading an image of poetry — we got ours from Dover again — and using the drawing and painting tools to decorate it:

  • Open Paint and create a new project.
  • Get the poem just as we got the picture in the first version of the project.
  • Click on a color and then on the paint bucket to set the background. If this covers all the words, just click Edit>Undo use the spray can instead.
  • Click on colors and then on tools from the toolbar and use them to make a picture, design, or other decoration on the poem. Encourage students to experiment with all the tools in the menu, setting their colors and sizes to get a sense of all the options. This helps students become familiar with the icons, the use of multiple menus, and the Edit options.

Get to know a few more parts of Paint’s menu and toolbar by doing a classic folded heart valentine:

  • Open the program and create a new file.
  • Think of the white space as a piece of paper and draw half a heart on the “folded” edge.
  • From Edit on the menu, choose Select All, then Copy, then Paste.
  • Click and drag to make the canvas bigger, and then use Image>Flip/Rotate>Flip Horizontal to flip the top copy of the half heart. Line up the two halves by clicking and dragging.
  • Once your heart is in place, use the drawing tools to decorate it. You can also decorate the first half before the Copy and Paste steps if you prefer, except that the Paint Bucket won’t work on open shapes.
  • Add text and save.

MS Paint valentine

We’ve done all these projects with Paint because you probably already have it. However, if you have another graphics program, such as Adobe Photoshop or Learning Company Kid Pix, you will find that the basic steps are very much the same. You will have more options with a more robust program and a kids’ program may have cuter variations on the icons, but these are transferable skills, so use what you have on hand with confidence.


Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.