Valentine’s Day Activity for Toddlers – Discovery Box

valentine's day for toddler

Toddlers love digging through things. Kitchen cabinets, boxes of blocks or my daughter’s favorite the DVD drawer. I roped in that inherent desire to dig and find for this love themed Valentine’s Day activity for toddlers an easy discovery box.  Besides the silk flower petals inside there are paper hearts and family photos of people she knows and loves cut into hearts. As we played I’d ask her to find someone and she would search and search until she did. Great for families like ours that are spread out, or for any that are separated due to work or deployment.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a container, some silk flower petals, printed card stock, double stick tape , family photos and a heart paper punch.
  2. Start by punching out paper hearts. The reason you want so many is that you want the toddler to pick each up and look on both sides to see if there is a picture. If the ones without the pictures over frustrate your child remove them. This builds concentration and memory.
  3. Cut out your pictures and using double stick tape stick them to some of the paper hearts.
  4. Add them to a container with the silk flowers.
  5. Add a toddler. She loved finding pictures of her brother as a baby the most.
  6. If they get up keep playing yourself, it doesn’t mean the activity is a flop they might just want some goggles… I had a hard time not laughing hysterically when she put the goggles on. She was happy and moved the box to the floor so maybe she was just more comfortable on the floor. I ran with it.
  7. Label things as you go but don’t interrupt too much, be there to help along not to direct.

My Toddler’s  Favorite Valentine’s Day Book

Where Is Baby’s Valentine?: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Karen Katz.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read this book since I brought it out of storage after Christmas. Countless. Every time we sit and lift the flaps together I get a serious craving for chocolate. Karen Katz is a toddler’s dream come true. Her illustrations are big and bright and filled with happy babies. Her text is short but still meaty enough for young preschoolers and the flaps to lift and open are perfect for this age when a static book often is just too static for a dynamic toddler. I can see why my daughter brings it over to me everyday. It’s the perfect book to go along with this activity and you could even slide a few of the hearts with photos under a few flaps while you read.

 

Natural Valentine’s Day Crafts

I have been meaning to make an easy bird feeder with my son for ages, but the problem was all the ones I knew or have done in the past used peanut butter. My son isn’t allergic but he is completely repulsed by the smell.  So when I found this one on Pinterest and saw that it uses gelatin I squealed ( yes really) and added gelatin to my grocery list immediately. We had some left over gelatin so we made some yummy all natural gummy treats too. Two easy heart shaped treats made with 1 box of gelatin, that’s rad!

  1. We doubled the recipe that Bargin Hoot  uses here.  And instead of cookie cutters we used a silicon mold .
  2. They had fun  mixing .I had fun vacuuming after. But it’s easier to vacuum bird seed up than try to sweep it, those little seeds roll and hurt to step on!
  3. Press into the mold. We filled it halfway popped our string in then filled it up.
  4. A few hours later – voila!

The best part of this activity wasn’t making it was finding the right spots in our yard to place them.

We put them in the apple trees in the front yard, the pine trees in the back and some random bushes too . Clearly I am not a gardener. Since we hung them up we have gone outside every day to see which ones have had birds nibble away at them. It’s been fun to see my son concerned about the birds and I think the hearts add some natural sparkle to our wintery yard. Just today we noticed the birds ( or perhaps raccoons?) already have a favorite. We will continue to observe them in the upcoming weeks.

After we hung those up we noticed a recipe on the back of the Knox Gelatin box , adjusted it for our serving size and made some heart jellies! Why haven’t we been making these for years? My son loved helping me make them and I loved that there are no artificial colors like the store bought gelatin desserts.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 envelopes of gelatin, 1/2 cup of cold juice, 1.5 cups of juice brought to a boil and a dash of sugar. You will also need a heart cookie cutter, a sauce pan , casserole dish( ours is 8x8x2) a spoon and a big bowl for mixing.
  2. Pour the cold juice into the bowl and drizzle the gelatin on.
  3. Boil the other juice.
  4. Pour into the bowl and mix . I added just a dash of sugar since the juice we used was already low sugar. I had my son gently mix and I got the bottom bits. Once dissolved let cool for 2-3 hours.
  5. Using the cookie cutter make heart shapes.
  6. He loved the leftovers!

Note about the juices we used – we used mostly natural lemonade with just enough natural strawberry kiwi to make it red. Any juice will work though, I may hit up the natural market for some pomegranate juice before Valentine’s Day.

 

Puffy Heart Wreath

I love wreaths almost as much as I love garlands! This Valentine’s Day craft is fun ,  easy to make and easy on your wallet. The foam hearts are super light and I was able to tape the wreath to a door in our house using only blue painters tape . Also if you want you can turn it into a patterning lesson as well or just randomly glue the hearts on.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, glue, foam heart picks ( got mine 9 for a dollar at the dollar store), red markers and scissors. 
  2. Start by coloring the paper plate with markers. We used red but use whatever color your child wants to.
  3. Start by having your child pull the tops off the heart picks. I twisted them so they were easier to pop off. This step was really fun.
  4. While they do that cut the middle out.
  5. Add a lot of glue. If you don’t normally let your child do the glue because they use too much, let them with this one. You need a lot of glue so let them at it!
  6. Add your hearts.  Randomly or in a pattern. I just let him do it however he wanted and he quickly settled on a pattern and sang it out as he added it. You can also sneak counting in here if you want.
  7. Let dry.

Musical Hearts Game

musical hearts gross motor game for kidsWe aren’t stuck in a snowstorm but we are stuck waiting for our furnace to be fixed and moving keeps us warm and having fun.  You can write anything on your hearts from numbers they need to identify, to physical tasks like we did to something trickier for older kids. Customize it to your child and have fun.

  1. Gather your materials. I am using foam hearts because they stand up well to being stepped and walked on, but paper would do in a pinch, just dont’ expect it to be used more than once.  You will also need a marker and some music you can pause easily.Preschool Movement Activity
  2. Write out different tasks for your child to do when they come to this heart – mine were mostly physical things: Jump on one foot, crab walk, 5 push ups, break dance etc.. I also included sing the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Preschool Movement Activity
  3. Lay the hearts out face down in a circle. Preschool Movement Game
  4. Start the music and play. It’s just like musical chairs only when the music stops you do the task on the heart that you were standing on when you stopped. We had a blast! He preferred Bon Jovi to kids music so we were rockin’ out!

I would let them walk ( to the music) longer than we did for the video, we were trying to get a good snapshot for the post. After I put the camera down we all played for another full round.  Fun family time !

Sort and Shape Heart!

Marshmallow Valentine's Treat

My son will do anything for marshmallows and he loves sorting. Since this craft itself is super simple I made things more challenging by creating a pre-activity of sorting the colors with bamboo tongs.  Yes many were eaten, we did this on a no nap day and the sillies were at an all time high but we still had fun.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a divided tray, mini marshmallows, some paper or foam , glue and tongs.Valentine Marshmallow Treat
  2. Start by sorting a few of the marshmallows in a tray. I put a few in each section to provide a guide.
  3. Hand your child the tongs and let them sort.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  4. And eat.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  5. When they are all sorted ( and yes I asked if I could help and sorted a few as well) add glue to the foam/paper in a heart shape.Valentine's Day Marshmallow Treat
  6. Start adding the pink marshmallows.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  7. Count as you go! We did 13, 5 and 9 before gobbling up a few yellow and green ones.Valentine's Day Marshmallow Treat
  8. Let dry. Build Your Own Snowman 002