Valentine Books

by Carrie Anne
Can you feel it in the air? No not cold germs or frost bite. I’m talking about love. February is all about love in our house and yes Valentine’s Day plays a big part in that. We’ve been busy drawing hearts and writing love letters this month, along with reading books about love, all sorts of love. Here are a few to share with your little loves.
what+do+you+love
What do You Love?
published by Harcourt
written by Jonathan London, illustrated by Karen Lee Schmidt
boardbook
This fun read-aloud rhyming boardbook asks the simple question ‘What do you love? A mamma and baby pup joyfully answer throughout the book. They spend from morning until night time doing the things they love together, including spending time with each other. The illustrates are fun and colourful, taking-up the whole page. The copy is simple and large for easy reading. Kids will enjoy reading this rhyme and perhaps it will inspire you to spend an afternoon together doing what you love with your little one.
My Furry Valentine
My Furry Valentine
published by Blue Apple Books
written/illustrated by Deborah Zemke
picture book (age 4+)
This delightful rhyme asks the question How do you say, ‘Be my Valentine’? and the animals answer: we say it in spots, wing to wing. The simple illustrations show animals exchanging love with their mates. Although the poem references animals and their unique characteristics (fire flies ask in lights) the words could easily be transferred to how we celebrate our own love. Along with a cute use of word and illustrative play, Deborah includes fun flaps and folds and cutouts to add to the secret valentine fun. This was a new release sent to me by Raincoast Books.
olivemylove
Olive My Love
published by Harcourt
written by Vivian Walsh, illustrated by J.Otto Seibold
picture book (3-8)
From the creative team behind Olive, the Other Reindeer (a wonderful Christmas story), Olive is taken on another journey. Her friend and flying dog Dexter (like cupid) drops a large heart at her front door. Olive, worried that Dexter dropped his heart by accident, decides to return it to him. She fills a sack with fresh biscuits and heads out. Along the way she befriends a squirrel named Handler and a spider named Weaver. Together the three friends work their way back to Dexter’s house only to find out that Dexter wanted to give Olive his heart, to keep. The friends end their adventure with a wonderful picnic of bonbons, biscuits, nut chews and fly wings. This is a wonderful story about the love found in friendship. You can’t help but love Olive’s warm and open character.
slugs in love

Slugs in Love
published by Marshall Cavendish
written by Susan Pearson, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley
picture book (age 4-7)
Margaret loves Herbie but she’s too shy to tell him herself. One day while in the garden Margaret’s mind filled with thoughts of Herbie so she wrote him a love poem. Herbie found the poem and wanted to meet Margaret, so he wrote her a poem back but Margaret never found it. Margaret keeps writing notes and Herbie continues to respond only having his notes washed away or moved. Eventually the two connect and stay together. This is one of my seven-year-old’s favourite books. She loves the cute little poems the two slugs send back and forth to each other.
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Yuck, a Love Story
published by Stoddart Kids
written by Don Gillmor, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
picture book (age 4-10)
Austin Grouper is a boy with a dog a best friend and a bike. His life is full. Then a little girl named Amy move in next door. Yuck, is Austin’s response. In typical boy style, Austin thinks everything about Amy is yucky. But everyday he visits her. For her birthday he wrestles the moon from the sky to give her. The wonderful interaction between Amy and Austin is wonderful and so true; parent and children alike will enjoy their conversations. I love how Austin decides he doesn’t like Amy for no real reason but ends up being her friend in the end. Some friendships sneak up on you like that.
Mr Pusskins
Mr. Pusskins
published by Atheneum Books
written/illustrated by Sam Lloyd
picture book (age 3-6)
Emily loves Mr. Pusskins. She plays games with him, brushes him, praises him and reads him a special story each night but Mr. Pusskins is bored and wants more. One night he leaves through the cat flap in search for something new. At first he enjoys his naughty life without Emily, yeowling at the moon and playing in the trash, but soon things change and he starts to feel lonely. Just when he thinks there’s no hope to return to his old life, Emily finds him and takes him home. Mr. Pusskins is a new cat. Both Mr. Pusskins and Emily realize how lucky they are to have each other. My kids are partial to cat stories because of the love they have for their own cats. Although Mr. Pusskins is a story about a cat, the actual story about appreciating the love and friendship around you is one both kids and parents would enjoy.
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Carrie Anne is our contributing writer, a blogger to many ,  a mom to 3   and lover of great books you can read more at her blog Another Day, Another Thought ….Or Two

Napkin Ring Necklace

Napkin Ring Necklace

We were at the dollar store getting art mats ( the plastic place mats I use) when I spied these napkin rings. Perfect for beading when hands are still not nimble enough for smaller beads. This is a quick craft to make but one that is fun to play with long after. Make one for grandma or mama for Valentine’s day or use it as a basic patterning lesson.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some napkin rings, ribbon and scissors. Napkin Ring Necklace
  2. Start by cutting your ribbon into a piece log enough to comfortably fit over your child’s head.
  3. Tie one ring on to make a stopper for your rings. Make sure to leave enough room to have some ribbon to tie.Napkin Ring Necklace
  4. Thread them on.Napkin Ring Necklace 003
  5. Loop the last one through is you want, this is just a astetics thing for me I like them all squished together . Napkin Ring Necklace
  6. Invite your child who announced that ” I am too big for this craft.” to model the necklace for all the “Other kid’s mommies”.Napkin Ring Necklace

Books

Norman Noggs

A Valentine For Norman Noggs by Valiska Gregory is a quite cute , it is about a new girl in school who has caught the eye of all the boys. Normal hopes and dreams that she will look at him and fall in love, but all the other bigger, stronger boys seems to be catching her attention. He is kind to her in class though, offering help without being boastful and although he doesn’t notice she does notice him. When he is made fun of by the bigger boys about a Valentine he made her she comes to his rescue. I like that her character was strong but didn’t like that she physically hurt the other boys. This is a longer picture book , my son zoned in and out while reading it, but would be great for 4-5 year olds.

IfYou'llBeMyValentine

If  You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant is a great book for preschoolers because it doesn’t just focus on romantic love or love of a parent and child but rather love of all the things this little boy is grateful for. He writes little valentines to his family members, teddy bear, even the bird and tree outside. It’s very sweet and cute without making you cringe one bit!  My son loved this one , it was perfect for a 3 year old.

Heart Craft

Collage Heart

Heart Collage Craft

My son was aching to use this crinkly red paper that came in a gift basket last week. So I gathered it and some other random red materials for some “messy art” which is my son’s name for a collage.  He loves pretending he is a garbage truck dumping the materials into the landfill. I am all for pretend play during art time! Collages are a fun way to use up scraps, and make beautiful art.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, scissors, a marker, glue , red paint and /or glitter glue, and a mix of red materials like tissue paper, foam, construction paper and fun red paper like these fillers.Heart Collage Craft
  2. Start by having your child if they are able to cut the paper into smaller pieces. Scissor skills are very important so working it into a project like this is easy , logical and saves you step!Heart Collage Craft
  3. While they do that cut open the cardboard and draw a heart.Heart Collage Craft
  4. Paint it red!Heart Collage Craft
  5. Add glitter.Heart Collage Craft
  6. Add glue. I wiggled the paper as he held the glue, which he thought was hilarious and it prevented big globs.Heart Collage Craft
  7. Add your materials.  This step took 3o seconds- he drizzled a few then he dumped them on and smashed them down.Heart Collage Craft Heart Collage Craft
  8. Let dry and cut out.Heart Collage Craft

My son liked doing this so much when I took his heart to dry he grabbed the extra materials and made one all by himself! Both are proudly displayed !

Heart Collage Craft Heart Collage Craft

Valentine’s Day Playdough Cupcakes

valentine's day playdough activityWe love cupcakes, but who wants 24 cupcakes when only 2 people in your house will be eating them( which means 22 for me and 2 for my son … not good). So instead of baking them we decided to play with them. This pretend play incorporates sensory, learning shapes, and color mixing too. Not to mention it was really fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some red and white playdough, some fun cupcake liners, cake picks ( is that what they are called?), a cutting board and heart cookie cutters.  You can also add sprinkles, fancy plates and muffin tins!Valentine's Cupcakes
  2. Start by mixing some of the red and while to make pink playdough. Normally I make my own playdough but I wanted this color mixing lesson as part of the play, so I bought white and red dough, it’s hard to make true white playdough at home. If you want to make your own here are my favorite recipes.Valentine's Cupcakes
  3. Let em at it! My son kneaded the dough ” I squish it until it’s yummy!”Valentine's Cupcakes
  4. We rolled it into balls and popped it in a liner.Valentine's Cupcake
  5. Made hearts for the top – I did one to show him all the options while  and he ran with it.Valentine's cupcakes
  6. Don’t forget a pick!Valentine's Cupcakes
  7. Keep playing- this cupcake cost me $38 dollars! Good thing the playdough , liners and pics together only cost $3.99!Valentine Bakery
  8. There is no right or wrong way to play – just explore, have fun and remember to keep playdough far away from carpet, it’s such a pain to get out. Valentine Bakery 007

Book

Mr. Cookie Baker was an instant hit at our house. The book is about who else, Mr. Cookie Baker and it shows the reader how he makes cookies from scratch, ices them and sells them. It’s a great book to explain baking and bakeries. My son loves the part where Mr. Cookie Baker eats a cookie after a long hard day and then says goodnight. I like the illustrations, they are bold and detailed without being cluttered and can almost tell the story all by themselves. Be warned though reading this will almost definitely make you crave a cookie or two.

Valentine’s Day Crafts Galore!

I have been working on an exciting project which required some extra crafting from my son and the last thing I wanted to do was overwhelm him so today’s post will include a letter of the week craft as usual, but also some fun Valentine’s Day themed crafts from years past! What I love about Valentine’s Day crafts is that you can use them when you are learning shapes too, not just for this one time of year!

Heart H ( pictured above)

Valentine Dump Truck

Heart Tortilla Pizzas

Friendship Wreath

xoxo Cupcakes

Apple Print Valentines ( one of our very first posts!)

Valentine’s Day Crafts … yes even more!