Squeezing isn’t just a fun way to burn off frustration, it’s also a wonderful exercise to build hand strength. The reason we want to encourage activities that build hand strength is that stronger hands leads to an easier time with handwriting, cutting, and even things like buttoning shirts and zipping jackets. This is especially true for doing any of those activities for a long time. Just like training for a marathon requires some strength training our little ones to write for a long time requires it as well. Working on developing hand strength doesn’t need to be work though. Using tools and materials that you squeeze with the whole hand is a great way you can encourage this at home or in your classroom. Tape resist is nothing new but instead of finger painting over the tape grab a few squeeze bottles and go to town. You can do this art project with kids of all ages and it’s a great option for multi-age groups. Here is how we made this squeeze painting Valentine’s Day wall art while working on hand strength.
Start by pouring your paint into the squeeze bottles and writing out the word you want on your canvas. You can do a shape if your child isn’t interested in letters yet. My daughter helped me with the letters telling me if I needed a long strip or a short strip of tape next for the letter.
Next it’s time to paint. Do NOT worry about how this looks ( or how anything on this whole blog for that matter). This is really a process heavy project and I encourage you to try this simply with a canvas and no tape after. I try to make all our projects process heavy even if they have a product at the end.
After all the paint was out of the bottles she continued to squeeze by blowing the air from the bottles and moving the paint around with the force of the air. I wanted to get closer photos but the thought of the little specks of paint on my camera lens kept me at a safe distance!
Valentine’s Day Books For Kids
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Day It Rained Hearts
by Felicia Bond is a sweet story that in my experience is a better bedtime story than circle time story especially for 4 and younger. The story is moving and lovely but in groups of children it just doesn’t grab them the way it does when they are snuggled up with someone they love. The story is about a little girl who collects hearts that fall from the clouds and makes incredibly touching gifts from them for special friends. The pace is just too slow for an active class that needs a hook, but perfect for bedtime when you want kids to be slowing down.
by April Jones Prince is one of my favorite Valentine’s Day books for 2 and 3 year olds. It’s simple, sweet, and has a great message about teamwork. The text is short enough for a circle time with very young children but the book isn’t baby-ish so older children will enjoy it too. The friends in the book all work together to make Valentine’s day treats and readers are left with the message that working together is a treat in itself.
10 Valentine Friends
by Janet Schulman is one of my daughter’s favorite counting books along with the other books in this series. While the rhymes are ta times forced the book itself is fun and it kept the attention of my 2-3 year old classroom who all participated in counting the valentines on each page. My daughter who is 4.5 likes picking out the details in each page and making up stories about the characters. I like that the children are all trying to make valentines for each other using the knowledge they have about the recipient. It’s a wonderful lesson about gift giving and how you should tailor gifts to the recipient and not just make something you’ll like.