Making Valentine Cards for Preschoolers

Making cards with kids is almost as much fun as getting valentines; some simple ideas and creativity turn it into a play-of-the-day. These three examples may inspire you and your kids.

potato-printsThis year, a friend’s really big sister used some potatoes in an experiment for a science fair. Her little sister used the left-over potato halves to make some potato print valentines. To make these, cut a notch in potato to make a heart shape. Kids hold the potato and dip it into paint, then stamp onto a card or paper. If the potato is too big for a little hand to grasp, stick a fat popsicle stick into the potato to use as a handle. This looked like so much fun, that the really little one came to check it out. When dry, kids only need add their name.

monster cardsHere are two other suggestions for cute valentines. Last year, Big Sister made some monsters on cards and we glued on googly eyes. The caption was “I only have eyes for you.” Monsters can have any number of eyes, legs, and arms, and be any color. Scribbling with paint or crayons makes great monsters.

dinosaur valentine cardsFor some dynamite valentines, find some small dinosaurs at the dollar store. Adult hands print “You are dino-mite.”  Kids print their name. Attach the dinos with a twist tie poked thru the card or just with tape.

Children start scribbling and making marks on paper (or walls) as early as a year and half old. At this stage though, the interest is the action of their bodies rather than the action of writing. Older toddlers and preschoolers are figuring out how these marks and print have meaning. They need lots of experiences communicating with something in print to understand what the process is about. The long valentine is by a 5 year old who knows print goes in a line and has the letters in his name.

pre-writing valentine

Valentines is a tremendous way for children to be involved in writing and sending messages. Have you some other suggestions for making valentines with kids?

5 Ways Kids Can Say Thank You for Christmas Gifts

Do your kids groan that it’s too hard when you ask them to say thank you for their Christmas gifts? Do you think preschoolers are too young to say thank you? Children 3 years old and up can say thank you and here are 5 fun ways to do just that.

ways kids can say thank you1. PHONE. Talk with your child beforehand about a particular gift and who gave it. Then, you can phone that person and let your child say thank you on the phone, or Skype, or Face Time.

2. NOTES: Kids can send notes.To make the activity more fun, let kids make notes with colored pens, markers, or sparkly crayons. Older preschoolers may be able to print their name on a page or maybe even the words Thank You. Adults can write the words thank you if kids can’t. Or kids can use the secret thank you code: 10 Q. If you say “Ten Q”, it sounds like t’ank you.

ways kids can say thank you3. PHOTOS or VIDEOS: Take a photo or make a short video of your child playing with a toy and send it to the giver. Or, modelling the new clothes, if they fit.

4. PICTURES: Pictures can say thank you without words. Kids can draw, paint, decorate a page with stickers and stamps, cut out and glue, trace, or anything else they might like.  Sprinkles are exciting and a bit of revenge on those well-meaning relatives that sent toys like a drum or ones with a thousand parts. They can also make one digitally and email it.

ways kids can say thank you5. COOKIES or KISSES: For family and friends that live close by, kids can help bake some thank you cookies. After the cookies are done, they can color or decorate a paper bag, pop in 2 or 3 cookies, and then give them out. for people farther away, instead of cookies, they can blow some kisses into an envelope, and maybe add a sticker or two on the outside. Adults write the address on the envelope, kids lick the stamp, and then together they mail it. The person receiving it needs the information that the envelope contains kisses and thank yous, it’s not just empty.

Saying thank you for Christmas gifts can be part of the fun instead of another chore that kids have to do. Although it is a simple activity, it helps children learn a tremendously important social skill that is valuable for relationships. Secret codes, cookies, and sparkles add fun for everyone. Do you have some other creative ways that kids can say thank you?

Why is it Called Boxing Day? So Kids Can Play with Boxes!

Christmas might be over for another year, but the fun isn’t, because now comes Boxing Day, the day when kids get to play with the boxes! Sometimes, the new toys are put aside and the adults wonder why the kids are more attracted to the boxes or wrapping paper tubes. The answer involves two things that kids need and seem to be opposites.

kids playing with boxesWith all the excitement and stimulation of the holidays and Christmas, kids can easily be overwhelmed and overstimulated. They need to reestablish their space. One way to do that is with a box. Because the box is contained, kids feel safe and secure. They can determine the conditions for play themselves and set the limits and rules. Within a box, kids can control the movements of their bodies and also the range and depth of their emotions.

Not only does a box meet the need for children to be able to control a space, it also allows kids to venture out little by little. Using their imaginations, the box can be a room, a house, or a whole new world. The possibilities of a box are huge while the space of a box is small. A box can be anything a child wants, but the child gets to choose.

(thx Explorations Early Learning)

Boxes permit kids to be endlessly creative. The potential for play is unlimited. New toys are unfamiliar and kids are less able to explore and invent. Inside–or outside–a box kids can allow their imaginations to travel anywhere while staying right at home. Author and scientist of Brain Rules For Baby, John Medina advises that “The greatest pediatric brain-boosting technology in the world is probably a plain cardboard box, a fresh box of crayons, and two hours. The worst is probably your new flat-screen TV.”

For boxing day, are there any boxes that your child can use for play?

From Sticks to Scissors and Other Learning Tools

Every occupation and career has its own set of tools and play is children’s work; for kids early learning tools include sticks, rocks, mud, and toys, as well as crayons, chalk, glue, and scissors. Letting your child play and experiment with these tools is not just fun, it’s also helpful before starting kindergarten or preschool. … Continue reading From Sticks to Scissors and Other Learning Tools

Kindergarten Readiness: Fun with Rainbows

Kindergarten readiness comes in all the colors of the rainbow. Today, for some rainbow fun and learning here are some ideas, including eating one! Sometimes, does light hit an object inside your house making little rainbows that capture your child’s attention? With spring rains have there been any outside lately? Oil floating on a puddle … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Fun with Rainbows

Kindergarten Readiness/Christmas Drawing and Coloring

Children can have fun with crayons and colors –and paper and walls– any time of the year and develop some important kindergarten readiness skills and strategies. Christmas has super ideas of things to draw, some easier for younger children and some harder for those older and especially interested in drawing. Drawing a circle sounds simple … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness/Christmas Drawing and Coloring

Kindergarten Readiness – Play & Learn with Paints & Crayons

Adults think of paints and crayons as tools for creating art. For kids, paints and crayons are more than that. They are tools for discovering and learning through play. What are some of these learning and kindergarten readiness activities? The most obvious skills developed are fine muscle control and eye-hand coordination. This helps little ones … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Play & Learn with Paints & Crayons