Paper Hearts – Crafts & Activities

I love my heart paper punch and my kids do too. It’s fun to make hearts for Valentine’s Day Crafts but you can also use them for math, write letters on them and play match.. the variations are endless. These three activities are just a few of the ways we have used punched out paper hearts lately.

 

Shake Painted Valentine

I love painting in new ways and this was a great craft for my 19 month old who as you can see even helps me make a mess with a low mess activity like this. For another version of Valentine shake painting check out  Hands On As We Grow- older kids will dig how they did it for sure!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic food container, some punched hearts( or cut out from construction paper), a piece of card stock, glue and paint of your choosing.Shake Painted Heart
  2. Punch out some hearts from construction paper.
  3. Place them and paint in the food container. shake painted heartIt’s easier to put the paint in first, they shake better that way. If you are nuts enough to hand your toddler the bottle of paint like I was be ready with a washcloth or my favorite- wipes.shake painted hearts
  4. Put the top on and shake.shake painted hearts
  5. Open and be amazed! shake painted hearts
  6. Fold the card stock and add glue .shake painted hearts
  7. Add hearts to glue and let dry. After seeing how cool the hearts looked someone else wanted in on the fun. shake painted hearts

Heart Patterns

paper heart patterns for math

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to only be about arts and crafts, we love math and made this super easy patterning activity.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need your paper hearts, a cookie sheet ( check out the dollar store), some double stick tape , a paper cup and a sheet of construction paper.
  2. Start by taping the paper down on the cookie sheet and adding double stick tape to the hearts. Heart Patterns
  3. Make some simple patterns. I like to start simple then slip a harder one or two in before getting easier again. I want my son to feel successful but challenged. Heart Patterns
  4. Place the extra in a cup . I make sure there aren’t too many extra hearts but that there is more than the few he needs to finish the pattern.heart patterns
  5. Complete the patterns.

After we were done with this my daughter ( who is all about hearts right now)painted over it for a valentine for my husband. I love when we reuse tray table activities like that.

Heart Color Match

Heart Color Match

This is another easy tray activity. Using a silicone pan I placed a different color paper heart in each and had the corresponding colors in a pile waiting to be matched up. This was too hard for my daughter at 19 months and my son would be bored to tears with it. It’s smack in the middle between their abilities so no pics of their participation but I still wanted to include the idea for the older toddlers and younger preschoolers who would love it.

Heart of Hearts Collage

I made this last year over at my other blog Craftitivity Corner on FamilyEducation.com pop over to see the tutorial.

 

Food Matching Game

by Kim

This post is not intended as a way to try to get sneak math into snack time. If you would like to use it for that reason, by all means go ahead. It would be a fun learning game. I am writing this to try to help make trying new foods fun for you and your child. My biological children love eating healthy foods. They usually request a healthy snack, even when I am offering a convenient (for me) junk food alternative. But fostering children has exposed me to problems I had not experienced before. How to get a child to eat healthy foods? Heck, how to get a child to try anything new?! Here is a fun game we came up with. Grab something that is not transparent or translucent. I like to use clean emptied yogurt containers. Cut up pieces of familiar food and new food into sizes that will fit under the containers. In this instance I used one familiar food that he liked along with two foods he refused to try before. Be sure to place two of each kind on the tray or plate. Cover the food with the containers. Now play the good ‘ole match game. When your child gets a match they get to eat the reward! It really feels like a reward for your child. While this is not guaranteed to work for every food, it sure is fun. You can watch your child get excited about matching. It is fun to see them study the tray and try to match it up. Their minds are focused on the game and not on “having” to try new or healthy foods. Are your kids picky eaters? ___________________________________________________________________________________

Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Jar Lid Letter Game

baby food jar lid letter match

When my son started eating solids I made all his food… you can guess that is not the case with my daughter as I have this many baby food jar lids waiting to be made into something. I am just happy we made something useful and fun with them since they can’t be recycled like the jars can. This took me 5 minutes to make and $1 for the foam letter stickers. Frugal, Educational, Earth Friendly-ish ( foam letters are probably not eh?) and fun! Oh and super simple for the uncrafty or crazy busy .Oh and if your child is not ready for letters yet do colors, if they are way past letters try sight words. This idea can be adapted to any ability.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam letter stickers and  many jar lids (or milk jug caps would work too). You may want to do the whole alphabet but I didn’t bother letters work in all different combinations and you don’t need the whole alphabet each time you do activities with letters. You may also want a wet cloth to wipe any lids that didn’t get washed as well as you’d hoped.
  2. Peel and stick letters into the insides of the lids.
  3. Add them for each lid.
  4. Play. For beginners play with the letters facing up saying only “Can you find…” giving hints using the color and what letters it’s next to.
  5. For more experienced kids play face down. My 4.5 year old needed more help than I thought he would, not naming the letters but understanding he needed to remember where letters were. He also had a hard time flipping the lids with Grandma’s gloves Batman gloves on.
  6. Yay a match!

Alphabet Books

Quilt Alphabetby Lesa Cline- Ransome is a really pretty alphabet book that makes me think of autumn afternoons, my husband’s grandma ( she quilts) and crave caramel apples even though it’s not a strictly autumn book. Every page is devoted to a letter and the short poem that accompanies it never tells readers exactly what the letter represents, instead readers must figure it out. It’s not too hard though because the stunning illustrations in bright warm colors wonderfully give it away for every letter. My kids both liked it although my son was hoping that S would be for Superman explaining that he grew up on a farm in Kansas.

A Was an Apple Pie by Eitienne Deslessert takes the classic nursery rhyme and adds odd dinosaurish aardvarky  creatures to it. I personally thought the creatures were odd to the point of distraction but my son gobbled up this book and loved the creatures . Yet another reason I don’t just read the books themselves , just cause I think something is odd doesn’t mean kids will. I really like the text to this because it’s simplicity is as brilliant as how it uses both all the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet easily. Also because it’s such an old rhyme there are words we don’t often see in children’s contemporary literature and offers some new additions to your child’s vocabulary too.

“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold bright colors kept my daughter who is 10 months old wide eyed the whole time and the playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read allowed tongue tying me at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must have in my opinion.

Matching Rainbow

by Katy

This post is about a learning activity I did with my son, Charlie, but it’s also about working with special needs kids in general and how sometimes you might have to look at something differently to get the desired result. I wanted to share this activity with you all because it involved some problem solving, but in the end it was completely worth it. Working and teaching a special needs child can have it’s challenges, but when you can it right, you’re on top of the world.

For this activity we used:

  • A piece of poster board or card stock
  • markers
  • colored dot stickers (Available on the stationery aisle almost anywhere)

For this activity, I wanted to do something with a rainbow and colors. After spotting some “dot stickers” on the stationery aisle, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I drew a rainbow with a black marker on half a sheet of poster board. I then used those markers to color it myself–my son hates markers. Did spend a lot of time on it–just enough to make it very clear where each color should be.

We then took out the stickers and began places the stickers in the matching section of rainbow.

We started off guiding Charlie through the motions, waiting for him to start initiating some himself, but we weren’t getting a whole lot out of him. Then my husband remembered that Charlie has gotten very interested in other people’s hands–he likes to touch them, move them around, etc. So we switched things up. My husband held the sticker and asked Charlie where he should put it. Charlie immediately grabbed my husband’s hand and moved it to the correct place.

He did this nine times in a row–until it was clear to both of us that he had no trouble understanding matching. We were so excited to see that he not only understood the activity, but that he was pretty good at it too!

Working with a special needs child sometimes forces you to think outside of your comfort zone–consider different ways. Would it be great if my son could do this activity with no help from his parents? Of course, but in the mean time I want to keep stimulating his brain until his body catches up.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Color Wheel Match!

by Kim

Allie did a color matching activity very similar to this one over a year ago, but I recently this variation at a daycare when I went to pick up my friend’s child. I had to make it as the perfect multi-level learning activity for my home.

All you will need are clothespins, paint, marker, scissors, and posterboard.

I traced an upside down large mixing bowl to get my big circle. Then I sectioned it into 8 pieces, but you can do as many as you like. I painted each section a different color.

As I painted the sections I made sure that I painted a clothespin for each color as well. You will see two of each in the photo because I made two sets (and then had to make a third).

I wrote the names of each color in the section. I also wrote the names of each color on the clothespins.

I gave the kids the circles with the clothespins already attached to the appropriate sections. I asked them to pull off all of the clothespins and put them in a pile. They loved pulling them off, maybe a little too much.

Then I told them to match the clothespins to the colors on the wheel. I demonstrated one match up to really show them, too. After all I was dealing with 2 two year olds. My daughter started right at it.

This activity is great for matching, learning colors, and motor skills. Our foster child has trouble doing the pincher hold, so this activity was more for him to work on motor skills and hand-eye coordination (not so much on color matching). Oh, and it is working. He is getting better every time we play this activity. Eve his therapists have noticed a big difference. We will get the color matching down, one day. ;-)

My daughter is learning to match and get more familiar with her colors. But it doesn’t hurt to build those motor skills, either.

This activity is requested constantly at my house. The littler ones have so much fun playing with it that I had to make one for my four year old son, too. I am hoping we will have our colors down as sight words. We should as much as we play this.

So there you have it, an activity that can be done by different ages and developmental stages (including special needs). Here is my daughter so proud of her completion. I know that you can’t tell from the picture, but she is very happy and proud.