Valentine activity

Valentine Heart Art for Fun and Learning

coffee-filter-heart1Q. What did the painter’s valentine say?
A. I love you with all my art.

Painting is today’s play-of-the-day for some kindergarten readiness and Valentine fun and learning. Kids can paint with anything: brushes, hands, feet, fingers, marbles, wheeled toys, q-tips, rollers, dabbers, and salad spinners. Paint can be practically anything too: food coloring, water paints, candies soaked in water, fruit juices, and vegetable peels. This time of year, any art cut into a heart shape looks great for Valentine’s.

coffee-filter-heart2We used some paint dabbers on coffee filters to make a sort of tie-dye valentine. Because the paint soaks thru, it’s really important to protect the table with some newspaper or plastic. First, adult hands cut out a heart shape and then child hands folded the heart in half, and then half again. Little Sister needed some help, but Big Sister did it by herself. Then came dabbing on the paint. When held still for just a few seconds the paint soaked right thru to the other side. While they were drying, we sang 1 little, 2 little, 3 little valentines, all the way to 10 and back again.

As children are painting, they are:


  • experimenting with ways to express themselves and their creativity,
  • exploring their own ideas and stretching their imaginations,
  • strengthening small muscles in the fingers, hands, and arms,
  • building concentration and attention skills,
  • practicing making pictures on paper and in their minds (visualization),
  • discovering what happens when colors are mixed together,
  • learning new vocabulary such as lighter or darker, swirls, zig-zag, etc,
  • and extending language to explain what they are doing.

coffee-filter-heart4This activity was pretty short and it took longer to dry the hearts than to paint them. When dry, it was a surprise to unfold the hearts and see what they looked like. They are so colorful, we can use them on the window. What can of heart art is happening at your house?

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

Sometimes 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, … Continue reading Valentine Fun and Learning with Slime or Playdough

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