Valentine's Day Makes Learning Fun!
Valentine's Day is on February 14th. Little kids seem to intrinsically understand a day set aside each year to celebrate love. Here are some fun and educational Valentine's Day activities to do with your little ones...
Read Valentine's Day Books Young Children Love!
There are lots of books about Valentine's Day, and the following titles were recommended by parents of preschoolers who subscribe to our Unpreschool Discussion List. Some of the books include information about the origin and history of Valentine's Day, and others explore the sentiment and traditions of Valentine's Day. Your local library or bookstore should have a selection of good books on the theme too.
- Clifford's Valentine's Day by Normal Bridwell
- If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
- The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll
- Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit
- Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
- Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda
- Silly Tilly's Valentine by Lillian Hoban
- The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson
- The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
- The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing
- The Story of Valentine's Day by Clyde Robert Bulla
- The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting and Jan Brett
- My Fuzzy Valentine by Deborah Reber
- Scooby-doo Reader #10: Valentine's Day Dognapping by Gail Herman
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie's Valentine by Sheila Sweeny Higginson
- Valentine's Day Is... by Naomi Kleinberg
Recite Valentine's Day Poems, Stories, and Songs!
Your child is sure to enjoy these Valentine's Day poems. Visit Bethany Robert's Valentine's Day Library to find more Valentine's Day poems, along with stories and songs. Or check out the book, Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and Girls by Helen Ferris Tibbets. The kids are sure to giggle out loud when they hear these Silly Valentine Poems including:
Love is like a Cabbage
My love is like a cabbage
Divided into two,
The leaves I give to others,
The heart I give to you.
After reading some books and poems about Valentine's Day, talk with your child about the meaning of Valentine's Day. Tell them how important it is to tell the people we care about, just how much they mean to us.
Make and Exchange Valentine's Day Cards!
Do you know of a better way to say, "I love you" than with a homemade valentine? Make a list of family and friends to whom your child would like to send a Valentine. Then, make your own Valentines using these ideas...
Stinky Valentines -- Make two hearts of equal size and shape out of red construction paper. Let your child decorate one side of each heart with stickers, glitter, markers, etc. Put the undecorated sides of the two hearts together. Using glue, tape or staples seal the edges around the hearts, leave a small opening. Spray some perfume or cologne on cotton balls. Put the cotton balls in between the hearts through the unsealed opening. Seal the opening. Now you have a "Stinky Valentine!"
Paper Plate Valentine People -- These little Valentine People are whimsical and lots of fun to play with, once you make them.
Take a paper plate and draw a heart on it that takes up most of the paper plate. Cut it out. Show your child how to glue on candy conversation hearts to make eyes, a nose and a mouth. Next, take four narrow strips of red or pink construction paper and fold them accordion-style. Use glue, tape, or staples to attach them to the heart-shaped paper plate to make arms and legs. Then, trace your child's hands and feet on red or pink construction paper. Cut them out. Attach them to the accordion-paper arms and legs.
These make fun Valentines to send to grandparents, and they look really cute suspended from the ceiling with nylon string for decorations. Make an entire family of Paper Plate Valentine People by varying the sizes. You can substitute little heart stickers for the candy hearts making it easier to store and transport your Valentine People.
Free, Printable Valentine Coloring Pages can be used to make Valentine cards or decorations!
Make a Folded Heart Valentine -- You may remember these from your school days. You'll need: Red, white, or pink construction paper, and red and pink markers or crayons, and/or valentine-themed stickers, scissors, and a pencil.
Show your child how to fold a piece of paper in half. The fold line will be the center of your heart-shaped Valentine. So, starting at the fold line, show your child how to draw half of a heart-shape with a pencil. Then, show him/her how to cut along the line you've drawn. Once the shape is cut out, open the paper up, and you should have a complete paper heart. Let your child draw a design or decorate the front of the heart and then ask your child to write a message on the back. Alternately, you can write a message for your child and ask him/her to write their name.
Note: Jagged hearts are endearing to loved ones! It takes time for young children to learn how to master a pair of scissors. Your child's skills will improve with practice; encourage them to do their very best, but never force them to do more then they are ready for!
Suggestion: If your child has been practicing writing the alphabet, he/she may be ready to write some words. Ask your child if they have a special short message they would like to write, write it for them on a separate piece of paper, and let them copy it. If your child is not ready, then let them "write" their own message in their own special way.
Bonus Activity: Using the directions above, help your child cut out 3 hearts, 1 large heart in red, 1 medium heart in pink, and 1 small heart in white. Next, ask your child to tape the hearts to a length of yarn or ribbon, and tape or hang it up as a decoration.
Valentine Mail Box!
Children love to get mail! This fun, cut-and-paste activity will not only help your child develop small motor skills, it will give your child a special place for their valentines!
You'll need: A rectangular milk or juice carton, construction paper, scissors, glue, and crayons.
Directions: Before beginning this activity, an adult will need to cut the top off of the carton, so that when placed on its side, the container resembles a mail box. Help your child to cover the container with construction paper and glue it to the sides of the carton.
Next, give your child safety scissors and manageable size pieces of construction paper; ask them to cut the paper into shapes. Shapes may be pre-drawn by an adult or older child, or your child can draw their own shapes and cut them out. When your child has finished cutting the shapes, ask them to glue the shapes to the carton any way they want. When your child is finished, he or she will have a special place to put their valentines! Make this a family project so that everyone can have his or her very own mailbox!
Valentine's Day Math!
Make a Heart Wreath
You'll need: Small, wrapped, chocolate hearts or other wrapped candy hearts, poster board, two traceable heart shapes (one smaller than the other), glue, hole punch, ribbon, and scissors
Directions: Trace a large heart on sturdy poster board. Help your child to cut it out of the poster board. Then trace a smaller heart inside the large heart. Next, an adult should cut out that smaller heart shape from the center of the large heart shape, forming a heart-shaped wreath design. Note: The heart wreath should be about an inch wide or more when cut out. Ask your child to glue the candy onto the wreath. Punch a hole in the top of the wreath and use a ribbon to hang it. This can be used as a decoration or as a gift.
Variation: Pasta in different shapes and colors can be used in place of candy.
Before gluing the candy to the heart wreath, do a few of the following activities:
- Sort the candy by color and/or size.
- Count how many pieces of candy you have.
- Make shapes out of the pieces of candy. Ask your child to make a heart, triangle, square, or circle!
- Find out how long a line they can make with the candy if they put each peace side by side.
- Find out how many piles with 2 pieces of candy in each you can make. How many with three pieces each, four pieces each, or more can be made.
Make Valentine Crafts and Gifts!
Use your parental discretion to determine which of the crafts listed below suit your child's ability level. Keep your young chid's attention span in mind and try not to pick projects that take a long time from start to finish. Choose activities that are developmentally appropriate for your child -- for example, avoid projects that require more manual dexterity and coordination than your child is capable of doing. Keep it simple -- it will satisfy your child and help maintain your sanity.
One more thing...gather all of the materials you'll need for craft projects before you begin. Nothing is more frustrating to a small child then to get started on a fun project and have to stop because you don't have the right supplies. Don't risk losing momentum or enthusiasm - plan ahead! There are lots of wonderful things to make including: Popsicle stick treasure boxes, God's Eyes, dried flower projects, and even potholders. Your imagination is the limit. Here are some more ideas ...
Note: Constant Adult Supervision is required for all craft activities.
- Make Heart Animals! Heart-shapes make a great base to create wonderful creatures. At DLTK you'll find printable pages that your child can color, cut out and paste together to form fun heart-shaped animals. If your child loves animals, he/she may enjoy the book, Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff. It is a fun story about a little mouse that makes a valentine's for his friends! In the story children take on semi-parental roles with unexpected, demanding animal guests. Numeroff is an expert at silly situations, catchy verses and stories that absorb and engage.
- Enchanted Learning provides terrific craft ideas, like the Waxed Paper Stained Glass Butterfly. You can create these beautiful butterflies with your child and you probably have everything you need on hand already.
- The Child Fun website has a huge selection of Valentine-themed crafts, activities, games, songs, poems, and finger plays.
- Get Valentine's Day preschool activities, crafts, letter "V" practice pages, and Valentine coloring pages.
- Hand In Heart Valentine Craft - You'll need:
Red poster board, white, non-toxic tempera paint, scissors, pencil, hole punch, white
or pink yarn, and markers.
Directions: Cut a heart out of poster board. (The heart should be larger than your child's outstretched hand and still leave some space around the edge to punch small holes.) Paint the palm of your child's hand white. Gently press your child's outstretched hand into the middle of the heart to create a handprint and let that dry. Using the hole punch, punch holes (spaced about two inches apart) around the outside edge of the heart.
Next, wrap a piece of tape around one end of the yarn to make it easier to thread through the holes. Knot the other end of the yarn with a large knot that will not pass through the holes. Show your child how to "thread" and then "sew" the yarn around the edges of the heart.
When finished sewing, cut off any excess yarn and secure the loose end in place with tape or by knotting it. Ask your child to write their name on the back of the heart. If he/she knows how, have them print the word love before their name. What a wonderful word to learn how to write! :) Don't forget to date the card as well.
Tip: Paint and print several at a time if you are planning to give these out to family and friends. Keep one for yourself!
More Fun Valentine Craft Projects
- Stained-glass Hearts -- melted crayon shavings become colorful valentines
- Jar Of Hugs & Kisses -- what parent could resist these
- A Sweet Valentine Party -- lots of neat party ideas the kids will love
- Penguin Craft -- with heart shapes
- Felt & Ribbon Bookmarks -- a valentine for your favorite bookworm
- Hearts Headband -- decorate with puffy hearts
- Heart Rubbings -- sandpaper and glue make bumpy, beautiful valentines
- Activities, Crafts and Cards -- create heart mobiles and lollipop valentines
- Valentine's Day Crafts, Lessons and Activities -- create bright valentines banners and flowering hearts
Make Valentine's Day Goodies!
Candy is often the predominant form of sustenance on Valentine's Day. But there are lots of nutritious ways to celebrate Valentine's Day too. Here are a few ideas to make every meal on Valentine's Day a healthy celebration with your little ones...
Valentine Pancake Breakfast -- Make regular, whole-grain pancakes. Once they are cooked, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the pancakes into heart-shapes. Top with sliced strawberries, maple syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt.
Note: In a hurry? You can use whole-grain frozen toaster waffles too. Just use the cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes, toast as directed, and garnish with strawberries, syrup, and whipped cream.
Heart-Shaped Sandwiches -- Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of sandwich bread. Spread one heart-shaped bread slice with nut buttter or cream cheese and strawberry jam. Top it with another heart-shaped bread slice.
Heart-Shaped Pizza -- If you make your own pizza, form the dough in a heart shape before you add the toppings and cook it. Or, if you use pre-packaged pizza dough (i.e., Boboli), use a knife to trim it into a heart shape.
Heart-Shaped Hamburgers -- Form hamburgers into heart-shapes before cooking and use a cookie cutter to cut buns into heart shapes as well. (You can use a cookie cutter to cut tofu-burgers into heart shapes too.) Serve the burgers with a platter of homemade french fries -- but use a squeeze bottle of ketchup to make X's and O's (for kisses and hugs) all around the rim of the plate for a decorative touch.
Think Pink -- You can tint regular food pink (with a drop or two of red food coloring) to make it more festive. Pink milk, pink cream of wheat, pink scrambled eggs, pink dip for chips and vegetables, pink mashed potatoes, pink mineral water, pink sparkling apple cider, pink cream cheese on celery sticks or crackers, pink sour cream, pink biscuit mix, pink applesauce -- your imagination is the limit!
Gourmet Touch -- Sprinkle organic, edible rose petals on a fruit or veggie salad. Available at some natural food and gourmet food markets.
More Goodie Ideas & Recipes!
- Easy Valentine's Day Treat To Make with Your Child -- You will need: 1-pound cake, sliced strawberries, whipped cream, heart shaped cookie cutter. Directions: Pre-cut the pound cake into 1 inch thick slices. Show your child how to use the cookie cutter to make heart shapes out of the cake. Place a cake-heart on a plate, and top with clean, fresh, sliced strawberries. (Show your child how to slice the berries with a butter knife). Add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and enjoy.
Play "Hugs and Kisses!"
Play Tic-Tac-Toe with your child! The O's are the hugs and the X's are the kisses. Your child will learn how to write two letters of the alphabet and develop critical thinking skills as they learn the strategy behind this game!
Thinking of Others
You can help your preschooler get into the spirit of giving and thinking of others on Valentine's Day. Prepare some crafts or low-sugar treats. Then, brighten the day of senior citizens by paying a short visit to your local nursing home. Be sure to call ahead and coordinate your visit with the Activities Director. They can give you advice on what kind of crafts or treats would be welcomed (many residents have special diets that limit the kinds of treats they can eat). Time the length of your visit to suit your child's age and attention span.
Money Saving Tips For Future Valentine's Days!
Save the valentine cards your child receives from friends and relatives, and put them away for use in craft projects next year. These work well for collage or decoupage projects, and are a great way to recycle the cards.