Materials needed: Several bowls filled with different heart or Valentine’s Day related items (be sure to include different textures, shapes, colors, patterns, etc.), mats for the children to place the items on (we used placemats, but the children could use recycled cardboard pieces or any plate, bin, or platter that is appropriate for children to handle), tweezers, clothespins, string or yarn, and/or a magnifying glass for explorations. *This activity works well for small groups.
Place all the bowls with different items in the center of a table or on the floor. Have the children choose any items from the bowls they wish to explore and place them on their individual mats. Allow ample time for the children to look, feel, smell, taste (if appropriate for items used), and listen to the different items. Are there items in the bowls that the children did NOT like? Ask the children WHY they didn’t like that particular item. What items did the children LIKE? Ask the children WHY they liked that item. Is there ONE item that seemed to be a favorite among all of the children? Help the children develop and explore questions of their own with their peers (i.e. are there SOFT, LOUD, SWEET, MAGNETIC, SQEAKY, etc. items on the mats?). To make a different activity, ask the children to match items from their own mat to items from the mats of their peers.
Family Handprint Valentine Craft
Materials needed: Assorted colors of scrapbook or construction paper (one color for each family member), background paper, glue sticks, and scissors.
Have each family member trace and cut out one handprint (assist younger children with tracing and cutting skills). Place the handprints in descending order (overlapping slightly) from oldest to the youngest family member (see photo above). Glue the handprints in place on the selected background paper. Be sure to date the picture as little ones hands grow quickly!
Materials needed: One empty cereal box for each child, assorted papers/ribbons/stickers/decorations, tape, glue, scissors, pencil, and the heart template - Heart Template
Have the children tape the end of the box with masking tape or scotch tape to help reinforce the cardboard bottom. Print the Heart Template (linked above) to heavy paper and have the children cut it out. The template can be used as a heart-shaped “mailbox” slot or simply as a decoration. It is easier for younger children to cut off the cereal box tops and have peers drop Valentines into the box. Older children may wish to trace the heart on the front of the cereal box and cut out the heart-shaped opening. Let the children decorate their boxes with any papers, ribbons, stickers, etc. that are available at school or at home. Hole punch each side of the cereal box to make a yarn or ribbon handle for the Valentine’s box.
For more Valentine’s craft or sensory ideas, see the Valentine’s and Friendship Thematic Unit at The Preschool Toolbox!