Simple Heart Craft for Toddlers

simple valentine's day craft for toddlersThis is one of my favorite classic Valentine’s Day Crafts for little kids and toddlers. It’s simple for toddlers , fun for older kids and is gorgeous no matter how you do it. I also love that working with eye droppers requires some great fine motor and coordination skills so it’s more than just a pretty craft !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some coffee filters ( 2 per heart) , ribbon, markers, double stick tape, scissors ( ours are pinking shears) , eye dropper, water, dish, something to protect your table and something absorbent like paper towels or a old cloth towel.toddler valentines day craft
  2. Start by cutting your coffee filters but folding them. toddler valentines day craft bI love using pinking shears because they make it that much prettier.toddler craft for valentines day
  3. Time to color. My daughter did dots but go wild any design will work. Make sure kids know that their designs will change.toddler craft for valentines day s
  4. My daughter colored a bunch .toddler heart craft for valentines day She was just in that sort of mood. Usually toddlers are quick to be done so if your child does 3 dots and declares they are done do not fret. That happens here all the time too. A trick to make many of these when attention spans are still on the short side is to not separate the filters keeping 2-4 all in a pile and coloring those. The color will bleed through . Another way to extend the activity without forcing is to offer a new color of marker as the interest starts decreasing.toddler heart craft
  5. Add water! toddler heart craft for valentines dayTalk about it spreading and the water mixing with the color and how the dry filter absorbs it like a towel absorbs the water on their body after a bath. Using every day references to learn new words and explain new experiences is a great tool for learning.toddler hearts craft
  6. Let dry .
  7. Choose pairs. You can even sneak in some simple math ” Can you find 2 hearts?” She was gleefully helpful with this. You can’t tell from the pictures but she was actually really taking her time making pairs. I was fascinated in a way only parents can be fascinated with their own kids ;) toddler heart craft 55
  8. Add tape and ribbon.toddler heart craft for kids
  9. Sandwich together and repeat.  Find the right place to hang them to add a little love to your home. Ours are in the window that faces the driveway and every time I drive home they are the first things we see from the car.toddlers heart craft for kids

Easy Kid Designed Valentines

easy calssroom valentinesMy son is in kindergarten and his teacher asked for each kid to address and sign each valentine for their class.  I think this is great because it is great real world aka purposeful writing for this age group. Little store bought valentines are usually well little and hard to fit kindergarten sized hand writing in without major frustration and potential set backs in confidence of their writing ability. I wasn’t planning on posting this but when I saw how into it my son was I knew others might benefit.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some graphics program – I use picmonkey.com It’s easy to use ( I barely helped my son after giving him a quick tour).  If you are going to print it out on regular printer paper like we did you may also want some construction paper and glue to make a backing. You will also want a class list and a sharp pencil with eraser.
  2. Start by playing around with picmonkey deciding on the design. I showed my son options and he chose the font, did most of the typing and moving the items around the page. * Disclaimer this picture is a recreation of the real events. We did this last night in a dark living room while my youngest and husband cleaned up after dinner. He’s actually admiring a picture of himself on pinterest… but you get the idea! kid designed valentines for friends
  3. This is his design.kid designed valentine
  4. Print. I printed ours at a 3.5×5 size 4 to a page.
  5. Glued them on the construction paper and cut them out.  kid designed valentine cardsSet them out with the class list and invited him to choose 4-5 friends to write them to. I like doing them in batches because it makes the task manageable. Writing is hard and I think because we do it so effortlessly we forget how much effort it once took us. Do it in little bits and it will be much easier. My son loved designing these and with a bunch of birthday parties coming up he can’t wait to make more . Kid Designed Valentines

 

Love Potions – Valentine’s Day Science Play

love potions valentine's day scienceWe love to play with vinegar and baking soda at our house . We explored it with squirt guns, at a play date and even pretending to be mad scientists. This time we made potions but really we just made a really awesome fun mess!   We made these after school this week and already my 2 year old has asked to make so many I am out of vinegar and baking soda. Kids love to pretend and mixing imagination with scientific inquiry is a great way to get them interested in asking questions and testing their theories out. We pretended we were making love potions but not the way that maybe a teenager would think about it. Instead we were making potions to make everyone feel loved, not to fall in love with us and even that fell by the wayside . Bottom line, have fun and make sure you have towels ready!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some baking soda, vinegar and then we added  food color and food flavoring ( strawberry and cherry) . You will want clear containers, spoons, and whatever you need to protect your house from food color. love potions preschool scrience play
  2. Set out the ingredients and let them explore. While they started I talked about how some people think that potions and spells will make people fall in love and they both thought that was crazy talk! We pretended we were making people feel love but soon they just got into making a potion and the love bit was lost. This is fine the goal wasn’t to teach about love potions so much as simply explore. love potions science for kids valentine's day activity
  3. My son saw the baking soda and immediately got excited about the prospect of a fizzy overflowing potion. Only he couldn’t remember what made it bubble and discovered it was not the cherry flavoring.love potions for kids
  4. My daughter followed her brother’s lead and absolutely adored every minute. love potion science play activity for kids
  5. Once they figured out it was the vinegar they made potions over and over.love potions  In all different color combinations and with as much excitement every time. love potions 2It soon turned into making predictions about if it would overflow or not. love potion number 5

Letter Memory Game – Alphabet For Starters

heart shaped upper case & lowercase letter memory game

I am still calling this an alphabet for starters activity but really my little girls is graduating to just plain alphabet activities. Matching upper and lowercase letters is not really a beginner activity but the playful way to learn with a memory game still meets the goal of this series . Playful alphabet activities. This game would be a cinch to adjust for more novice learners. Simply stick to only one case of letters or scrap the memory game and try something more straight forward like my friend Jamie did a few days ago on Hands On As We Grow. To make it tougher skip using the scaffold of the matching colors and use only one color of hearts.  To see our other Alphabet for Starters activities see our list here.

  1. Gather your materials.  You will need a sharpie and some colorful foam hearts. I got both at the dollar store for a buck each.heart shaped letter memory game
  2. Write out letter pairs with one upper and one lowercase letter. I didn’t do the whole alphabet , I rarely do. I choose letters I know she knows ( M, A, J) and some I know she struggles with ( Q, G, ) and fill in the gaps randomly. Also each pair is done in the same color. When we played I told my daughter to find the same color. This made the game much more accessible for a 2 year old and gave her color recognition work to boot. heart shaped letter match game
  3. Lay out your hearts face down.heart letter memory game for learning
  4. Play. She was enthusiastic immediately. I demonstrated once and she was off. heart shaped letter memry and match gameWe left our letters face up in their own spaces when we matched them up. She was thrilled when her letter ( M) was flipped overheart shaped upper and lower case memory game and even happier when she made a match. heart letter memory gameThe first time we played she called the Q a “funny O” we tried to figure out what letter is was and I ended up labeling it for her and we kept playing. The next day ( we’ve played daily for 5 days in a row so far) she called it a Q and matched it to it’s lowercase letter without any prompting. No drill needed , just a fun game.
  5. Celebrate with each match heart letter match for valentine's dayand hoot and holler when you have completed the whole game!heart shaped letter match game for kids I often gets asked if I play against my kids for memory games. Sometime I do but usually I don’t. We play as a team . For my daughter with a game like this I will narrate with her after she identifies a letter unprompted I will say ” Hmm I wonder which heart the lowercase B is under ?” or some such thing. If she is having a hard time with a letter. I will try to ask questions to help her instead of just telling her. Like with the Q I said ” What letter do you have ?” and she answered ” A funny O.” then I said ” What makes it funny?” ” It has a tail Mama!” . To which I replied ” Do O’s have tails.” and she giggled  saying “No!” and I said ” That is a an uppercase Q.” Even at such a young age kids can help figure things out and when we engage them like this they learn to ask questions , answer others and not just guess at the right answer.

 

Dinner Conversation Hearts – Family Meal Activity

conversation hearts dinner time activity for familiesDinner isn’t always peaceful at our house. With a 2 year old who pops out of her chair and a negotiating 6 year old who’s food taste changes more often than his socks it sometimes feels like it’s kids vs. parents. That’s not how I want to spend my evening and I don’t like to view my kids as the opposing team either . To change the focus from getting  of  her chair and getting out of eating whatever is on his plate we often play games. This Valentine’s day themed dinner table conversation starter does double duty as decor as well!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam hearts in various colors ( dollar store!), a red marker, pen, ribbon and clothes pins.conversation hearts at dinner activity for families
  2. Start by writing the classic conversation hearts sayings all in uppercase letters on your hearts.dinner conversation hearts
  3. Next write out interesting and conversation provoking questions on the opposite side.  No yes or no questions!dinner conversation hearts questions
  4. Hang your ribbon close to your dinner table. You could make a garland, wreath or even pop them in a bowl too. Get your kids interested in this before dinner.dinner conversation hearts activity for families
  5. At dinner have a child choose a heart and read both sides. dinner conversation hearts activityWe went around in a circle giving our answers and letting others comment and ask questions about each answer.conversation hearts dinner talks
  6. My daughter wanted to read too – we aren’t sure what her’s really said but she asked us ” You like candy?” We all shared our favorite types of candy . We will keep this up until Valentine’s Day and hopefully have as enjoyable dinners ( most days) as we did tonight.conversation hearts dinner conversation starters

A preschool board meeting prevented me from posting this when I had planned and we have now had 3 dinner with these conversation hearts. All have been fun, informative and really great family time. My kids have been racing to the table to be the one chosen to pick the first heart. My daughter has chosen the same heart every night but asks us new questions that we can usually decipher.  Tonight I learned that my son loves a new book , my daughter loves her brother more than princesses, that my husband loves math more than sports and when it comes down to it I like reading about educational psychology more than art history, even if the pictures aren’t as pretty.

Here is the list of questions I included:

What is your favorite game to play?
What is your favorite subject to learn about?
What do you want to get better at?
What is your favorite book?
What is your favorite sport?
What character from a book/movie or TV show would you like to be?
What was your least favorite ride at at Disneyland?
What is your favorite food?
How old do you have to be to get married? ( My son said ” Well the law is 18 right? So I’ll stick with the law.” I almost choked on my dinner.)
What is your favorite room in the house to read in?
If you could visit any country in the world where would you go?
what do you want to be when you grow up?