We’ve been having the best time learning through a Valentines theme so far! Grace was beyond excited to help decorate for our next holiday, and even placed a few items where she thought they would look the best. She definitely takes after her Mama as far as decorating goes. Here’s all the rest of the fun we’ve been having:
Our books for our Valentine theme all have a theme centered on love. They may not be Valentines day specific, but they all help to explain what love is and how we feel love. Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors is one of my favorites. I grew up listening to the song, and have loved the meaning behind Dolly’s words for many years. This book is beautifully illustrated as well, and I love the message behind this book. LOVE from the Little Engine That Could, is a cute little tale about recognizing the people that help you along the way to where you are going. It’s a short and simple read, with a big message. Grace received The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn this past Christmas, and it’s such a sweet read to remind little ones, that they are loved and thought of even when you aren’t around them. I could see this particular title being very helpful for little ones headed off to school for the first time. We snagged Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli at our local library. This book shows readers what a simple gesture of love can do to change someone’s mindset, and I especially loved the kindness displayed in this story. I’ll Love You Forever by Owen Heart and I Love You More & More by Nicky Benson are both beautiful stories from a parent’s perspective to a child. Fun fact: I Love You More & More is Grace’s most loved book. She received it her very first Christmas, and I had to read it to her so many times, I ended up memorizing the entire story. At one point, the only thing that would calm her down when she was a baby was the words to this book. To this day, I still know this book by heart.
We’ve been listening to several songs and even a book in the car about Valentine’s Day & Love. Skidamarink by Super Simple Songs has been a favorite of ours for a few years now, and Valentines is the perfect time to listen and sing a long! We’ve also enjoyed listening to The Kiboomers’ Heart Song for Kids and Sesame Street’s Elmo & Abby’s Valentine’s Day Song. We even have a book we’ve listened to in the car on on list: The Littlest Valentine on The Joyful Bookshelf’s Channel. As for screen time, Grace has enjoyed watching Sesame Street’s Valentine Street Story & a Daniel Tiger “Would You Be Mine?” DVD we picked up from our local library. Other than the DVD, you can find all of the songs, the book, and Sesame Street’s Valentine Street Story on YouTube. We’ve linked our playlist containing all of them to the photo above!
We worked on patterns using simple supplies from our local dollar store for one of our first activities for our Valentines theme. I grabbed a pack of felt stickers and a piece of card stock and made simple patterns for Grace to complete. We haven’t done too many activities with patterns in the past, and to my surprise she quickly recognized the patterns displayed. Regardless of how easy this appeared to be for Grace, we continued to work on patterns for a few days.
There were a few times Grace would try to go to fast and mess up a time or two. I would just remind her to slow down and say the colors for that line, and she would get it correct. Added bonus: after a few days of play, I let Grace peel the backs off of the heart stickers she was using to complete the patterns and stick them to the card stock, giving her some fine motor practice, and me a cute piece of Valentine art!
In addition to patterns, we worked on another early math concept for our Valentines theme: more vs. less. Using a bag of conversation hearts I grabbed from our local dollar store, I placed different amounts in two jars. I labeled both jars (A & B) and asked Grace which jar she thought had more hearts. She quickly told me “A” had more hearts.
Expanding on our more or less jars, I used colored cardstock and made strips using numbers 1-10 to make counting cards for Grace to use with those conversation hearts. I just wrote 2 numbers on each card with a sharpie. Grace had to count out hearts for each number, and then tell me which number was more or less. Not only was this activity working on more vs. less but Grace was also getting in counting practice and working on number recognition. We even practiced some simple addition by counting all the hearts on several cards.
We enjoyed using our Valentine’s Activity Pack from our Etsy Shop for our Valentines theme too. And, I currently have all five of the activities in a basket in our living room for easy grab and go play for the rest of this month.
Grace enjoyed mashing play dough on the numbered chocolates that corresponded with a six sided die she rolled, with our Valentines Roll & Cover Game. She matched Valentine shape cookies to the cookie sheet with our Valentine Shape Cookie Match activity. Grace has also played numerous rounds of memory with our Valentine Card Deck and we plan to play a few games of Go Fish with this deck as well. We’ve been working on matching upper and lower case letters and pen control recently, so our Valentines Letter Matching activity has been put to good use! Grace especially loves putting the stamps on and taking them off! Last, but certainly not least, Grace has made at least a dozen cupcake creations with our Valentine Play Dough Mat, and this Mama has to “eat” every single one. If you’d like to snag all these activities for your little one(s) to use too, you can find our Valentine’s Activity Pack here.
We saw a pretty cool kitchen experiment via Instagram by @birdieandbug. They have some pretty awesome content, so be sure to check them out! As soon as I saw this Blooming Hearts experiment, I knew Grace would love it (because Grace loves anything with water). We grabbed a pack of paper heart doilies from our dollar store and filled our kitchen sink with water. I added in some sparkly heart table scatter too I had lying around from years past, just for a little more festiveness.
After filling the sink with water, I started folding each of the doilies’ point to the top center, then folded the rounded sides over to create a triangle. Make sure you’ve only folded one as the thicker the paper, the longer it takes to bloom (trust me, we had a few fails).
Then Grace got to drop them in the water folded sides up, and watch the hearts bloom! Seriously it’s that simple! This activity lasted us a good while. Thank goodness that pack of doilies came with so many because Grace wanted to watch ALL the hearts bloom (and of course play in the water).
We worked on letter matching again for our next activity. Grace has been working really hard here lately on her letter recognition, specifically trying to match upper case letters to their lower case counterparts. Using card stock, I cut out 26 hearts, wrote the upper case and lower case of each letter of the alphabet on a heart, then cut them in half, placed them in a bowl, and gave them a little toss.
They didn’t last long in the bowl, as Grace much preferred to dump them all out so she could see them. Grace started with A, and began matching the hearts together. This lasted for about 3 letters, and the “I don’t knows” and “I can’t find it” started. She was having a hard time focusing on individual pieces with all them strewn about. So I started circling areas for her to look, and that helped some. When that still didn’t work for a few of the letters, I would ask her to show me what that letter looked like and she would draw it in the air, and I’d ask her if she could find what she just drew, and most of the time she could. A little over half the way through the alphabet she started finding the letters without my help.
I was so proud of her when she put the Z’s together! I even offered her several breaks, and she wanted so badly to complete the activity, she only agreed to a break once when her Daddy came home. I do plan for us to use these heart puzzles again, but next time, I think I will split them up and let her work on the first half of the alphabet, then the second half, and see if that helps her focus a bit better.
Last year, Grace made DIY Valentines for family. They turned out so cute, and I knew this year I wanted us to do DIY Valentines again. We are in the age of cutting and pasting, and I have loved seeing all of the “Love You to Pieces” printables for a few years now on Pinterest. But they were all full page printables, and we needed cards. So, I designed some for us to use. I printed them out, cut out the cards, and all Grace had to do was apply glue to the hearts with a glue stick and place small pieces of pink and red card stock to the glue.
Y’all, they came out way cuter than I could imagine, and they are so simple to do! And now, we’re sharing the love: You can download these printable cards for FREE at the link below!
As you can see, we’ve had tons of fun learning through our Valentines theme so far, and we will continue the fun most likely through the end of the month, or when miss Grace decides she’s had enough of all the pink, red, and hearts. We hope each one of you has a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of ALL the love! ♥️
Need an idea for Valentines class parties or a non-candy alternative for little ones? Check out our MINI Valentine Play Dough Mats. Simply pair with a tub or two of play dough in a favor bag, and attach the included gift tags with ribbon.
We’ve already listed our St. Patrick’s Day Activity Pack and MINI Play Dough Mats in our Etsy Shop, in preparation for March. It will be here before you know it, check out these brand new listings today: