Valentine’s Day is a fun winter holiday. Kids love the opportunity to show their friends and family how much they appreciate them. It’s also a holiday that inspires creativity. For preschoolers, Valentine’s Day is all about kindness, love, and having fun. Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to help your kids practice creativity as well as academic and social skills.
We’ve got five Valentine’s Day inspired activities to keep you kiddos engaged and excited about this LOVE-ly holiday.
Decorate a “Mail”box
One of the most timeless and treasured Valentine’s Day activities is giving cards to friends and family. While crafting those cards is a fun activity in and of itself, for a twist, try decorating a box to hold all the Valentines your little one receives.
Any shoe box or old shipping box will do. You can help your preschooler wrap the box in construction paper, gift wrap, or even tissue paper. Once it’s gone from boring cardboard to their favorite colors or pattern, give them a few supplies to customize the box. Stickers, cut out hearts, strips of paper, and markers will help inspire them. Encourage them to write their names and have an obvious opening to receive valentine notes.
If your child will not be receiving notes at school, leave the box in a central place at home and occasionally drop notes or surprises (drawings, stickers, or little toys) for your little one. At the end of the week, have them open their box.
Preschoolers should practice their fine motor skills as much as possible. Holding pencils, crayons, and markers is always a good idea, but also give them opportunities to trace and cut as well.
In this activity, preschoolers will learn how to trace and cut out hearts. They may even get the hang of drawing and cutting free hand! Make a few hearts in various sizes out of a sturdy paper like construction paper or cardstock. Show your kids how to use these as tracers.
Give them some blank paper to try and make their own heart-shaped cards to send to relatives and friends.
You can also show your kids how to make hearts by folding paper in half and drawing a half heart on one side. (Start by having them fold while you draw the half heart line as this can be tricky for preschoolers.) Then have them cut around the line with kid-friendly scissors. They’ll love unfolding to reveal the heart.
Don’t forget to show them the original paper too which will now have the outline of the heart that can be used as a stencil.
Make heart posters and frame them. Laminate them to make place mats. Or hang several hearts from a string to decorate their walls.
Another great craft to celebrate friendship while also practicing those fine motor skills, is by making friendship bracelets. There are a variety of materials you can use depending on what you have on hand and your child’s preference.
You can certainly buy a bead or bracelet-making kit, but you could also probably find supplies in your home. Traditional beads and gems are always bright, colorful, and easy to string onto ropes of various sizes. But don’t forget miscellaneous items like buttons, sequins or even shapes cut out of card stock. (Cut out stars, circles, and hearts and punch a hole through the center.)
You could also use brightly colored yarns and help you child weave a simple (and even imperfect) braid. This is a very forgiving method! They’ll just love to see the pops of different colors that they can tie together and gift to friends.
If all else fails, you can’t beat jewelry made from dried pasta. Practice making patterns and repeating them. Or try dipping the pasta in paints and leaving them to dry before stringing them together.
All kids learn numbers and number sense at different rates. You can customize this activity depending on how well your kiddos understand numbers. Start by cutting out paper hearts. Take each heart and cut it in half (either on a straight or jagged line).
In the simplest version, draw dots, tally marks, or boxes from one to ten (or twenty) on one side of each half-heart. In the other half-heart write the matching numeral. Shuffle the hearts and spread out on the table or floor. The kids will then match the numeral to the correct representation of that numeral to make each heart whole again.
· Write out the numbers and match to the numeral.
· Write only single digits on each half and then have kids tell you the double-digit number it becomes when matched together.
· If they are ready to start adding, have them add the numbers on each side of the heart.
If you’d rather practice letters, this matching game follows the same basic setup as the number version above. You can draw or print simple pictures on one side. Then match the picture to the letter that word starts with. (“A” gets matched with an apple.)
· Match lower case letters to uppercase letters.
· Leave one half blank. When they pick up one letter, on the other half, they practice writing the same letter.
· Match the letters in the correct order. The first heart would have “A/B.” The second heart would have “C/D” and so on.
There are so many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day — especially for little kids. It’s a great way to break up the winter months and spread more love and kindness. These activities will help home important skills all preschoolers need to practice. We hope you find some both you and your kids LOVE!