Valentine activity

Cute Valentine Monster Cards

The weekend before Valentine’s Day many young children will be printing their name on Valentine cards to exchange with friends at daycare or preschool. Doing cards helps with kindergarten readiness skills such as practicing writing names, using writing tools, the names of letters, and more. Sometimes, kids write left to right but not always. Preschoolers are often still learning that letters go in a line. When they run out of room, at the end of the space the letters can wrap around in any direction.

homemade Valentine cardsNo matter which way kids write, Valentine’s cards are usually the first ‘mail’ that they are sending and receiving themselves. If they know some of their friends names, they might be able to recognize and read them too. Valentine cards are more than just an exchange of greetings. They are a step into the world of reading and writing. Plus, giving cards to each other helps build relationships. Even babies are starting to learn about give and take and will play the game of giving something to us and then we give it back. This is a basic social skill that kids need to learn for school and life.

homemade Valentine cardsIn a recent Learn and Play with Mrs A radio show with artist and art therapist, Karen Wallace, she explained that very young children begin scribbling and making marks about the age of a year and half old! For them, the interest is in what they are doing with their bodies rather than what’s in the drawing. Toddlers become interested in naming what they create, and about the age of 3 or 4, kids are more eager to try and draw what something looks like. Many children love to explore what they can draw and paint and create with colors, shapes, and lines.

homemade Valentine cardsTutus and Tea Parties had a really cut idea for making cards. Using paint dabbers, these monsters were lots of fun to do. We added some googly eyes because the monsters say “I only have EYES for you!” Kids can use any color, any shapes, and make as many lines as they want because monsters can have lots of eyes, arms, and legs. Do you have any other cute sayings or ideas for Valentine cards for kids?

Valentine Color Sort and Repetitive Patterns

1 Little, 2 little, 3 little valentines. At the thrift store today, we found a bag of 28 plastic hearts in 3 colors that gave us a whole afternoon of fun and learning, and let Big Sister and Little Sister practice some thinking skills kindergarten readiness skills while they played.

valentine sorting activityBig Sister noticed the bag of hearts first and played with them during Little Sister’s nap. Carefully, she took each one out of the bag. The lids had popped off some of them, and she had to really wiggle the tops to get them back on. Although it was difficult, she was quite determined. Then, she lined them all up in 3 rows, sorting them by color. The red ones made the longest line. When I asked why the red line was so long, she said because there were more. While that answer is obvious to us, that’s a tricky concept. In order for there to be more of something, it must be compared to something else.

valentine patterning activityAs I looked at the rows, I said “red, almost white, pink. That could be a pattern.” Big Sister liked that idea, and began a pattern, although her order was red, pink, dirty white. When she ran out of room one way, I suggested to keep going from the other end. She couldn’t build from the other end, because “The pattern doesn’t work that way.” Adults know that patterns can go from either end, but kids do not see that until they are ready. Patterning is an important higher order thinking skill and helps the brain deal with large amounts of information.

valentine counting learning activityLittle Sister woke up and wanted to play too. She practiced counting, skipping a few numbers, but has connected the idea of saying a number and pointing to one item. Afterwards, she clutched a heart in each hand and wandered around with them for awhile. Big Sister hid some of them for Little Sister to find. She wasn’t particularly interested, so Big Sister found them herself. She invented some rules for her personal game and enjoyed both the hiding and the finding. Then she hid some tiny things inside them.

Children will play with toys or other objects at their own level of understanding. The occasional question or comment may have extended their play, but only as they were ready. These little items came with a big amount of learning and fun. We thrift stores. Do you and your child too?

Valentine Fun and Learning with Slime or Playdough

valentine slimeSometimes the toys kids ask for most are the homemade ones, like playdough and slime; while these are inexpensive to make they are valuable in fun and learning. Big Sister asked for some this week. Unfortunately, we’d used up the red food coloring at Christmas but we had some lovely cinnamon hearts.

To make slime, first mix 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of white glue. We popped several of the candy hearts into the warm water and waited for them to turn the water a lovely red. Most of the hearts melted leaving only a little bit of the candy center to take out. When we added the glue, the red water became light pink.

In a second bowl,  mix 1 teaspoon of borax and 1 whole cup of warm water. Get ready for the next part, which changes very fast! Now, pour the gluey stuff into the clear water/borax and stir. Right away, the two solutions combine to make a polymer. There will likely be some extra water in the bowl which you can just pour off, leaving the wonderful goo.

As kids play with slime and playdough, they are developing:

  • fine motor dexterity and strength, and hand-eye coordination,
  • the ability to visualize, that is making pictures or images in the mind,
  • language skills, such as vocabulary and descriptive language to talk about what’s happening,
  • some basic math strategies like measuring and counting,
  • their senses, especially the sense of touch as they learn to discriminate texture, temperature, and size,
  • higher level thinking skills, such as planning, problem-solving, imagining and creating.

playdough learning and funChildren are using more than their hands to play. They are also expressing themselves and how they feel. Playdough or slime can help children release pent-up emotions and tensions. The world isn’t always a friendly place for kids, and with these materials, they can feel more in control. Slime adds an unexpected element, because it’s so much more flexible. Even though this can be a little bit frustrating, it’s also exciting. Kids soon learn that cookie cutters will not work with slime, like they do with playdough.

Using either one, can you and your child squeeze some fun and learning into your day?

Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine’s Day Fun and Learning

Being able to share, play, and celebrate with others is more than kindergarten readiness for young children and it will help them when they become part of a group at playschool, preschool, daycare, and kindergarten. Plus, Valentine’s is lots of fun. Many kids’ groups will have special songs, stories, games, treats and other activities for … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine’s Day Fun and Learning

Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Snack Attack

Kindergarten readiness learning and fun sometimes needs a snack; here is a super idea for a valentine snack for kids that they can eat anywhere and anytime. It’s no-cook cooking with kids. In the cupboard, look for small, finger food items such as puffed wheat or rice, Cheerios, fishy crackers, craisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Snack Attack

Kindergarten Readiness: Grocery Store Valentine Fun & Learning

A simple trip to the grocery store can include some kindergarten readiness fun and learning. Are you picking up some items for Valentine’s Day? Sometimes, those who are organized, take along a list. This gives kids the message that writing has meaning. Little eyes are often very good at finding things on shelves, so give … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Grocery Store Valentine Fun & Learning

Kindergarten Readiness – February Fun: Valentine Science

Today’s kindergarten readiness fun and learning play-of-the-day has been inspired by a conversation with scientist and author of children’s science books, Dr. Rebecca Keller. Science is all about exploring and wondering and kids do both of those things naturally! The following very simple science experiment, for kids 3 years old and up, helps encourage two … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – February Fun: Valentine Science

Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Cards Fun and Learning

Those who work with young children get amazing cards and just as amazing is all the fun and learning that kids have when making and playing with them. For kids in playschool, preschool and daycares, they often make and decorate cards to exchange with others but kids at home can do a few for the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Cards Fun and Learning

Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Movement Game

Kindergarten readiness fun and play ideas sometimes come from inspiration and sometimes from desperation, as in “desperate to think of an idea to use up some energy so the little ones would be happy to take a sit-for-a-minute break.” This one even includes hugs. To start grownups can ask the questions and kids can answer … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Movement Game