Love is in the air! February is sure to be filled with red, pink, and lots of heart-shaped fun. At AppleTree & Gilden Woods, we love to learn and have fun at the same time - we hope the following activities will be fun ideas for you and your child to love. Some activities are only listed under one age but would be appropriate for multiple age groups.
Happy Valentine's Day!"
0 - 3 Months
Hold your baby against your heart so that he or she can hear your heartbeat. Sing the following rhyme to the tune of "Rock-A-Bye Baby." You can optionally change the names of the family members depending on who is singing and can also change "baby" for your baby's name for personalization.
"Mommy loves you, yes she does
Mommy loves you, yes she does
Mommy loves baby, Daddy does too
Yes, little baby - we both love you"
3 - 6 Months
When getting your baby ready to sleep, tell him or her all of the reasons that you love him or her while rocking or slowly walking while holding him or her in your arms.
6 - 12 Months
Talk to your baby about the things that you love about them from their head to their toes. Name parts of their body by pointing them out and saying that you love them. For example, say "I love your cheeks" and then gently kiss him or her on the cheeks.
12 - 18 Months
Use names of family members to customize the following rhyme while using coordinating finger movements (i.e., holding up the correct number of fingers, bending one down at a time).
"Five little valentines, waiting in the store
_____ bought one, and then there were four.
Four little valentines, for you and for me
_____ bought one, and then there were three.
Three little valentines, wondering what to do
_____ bought one, and then there were two.
Two little valentines, think up some fun
_____ bought one, and then there was one.
One little valentine said, "Buy me and run!"
_____ did that and then there were none."
18 - 24 Months
Cut sponges into heart shapes and allow your toddler to carefully dip the sponge into paint and stamp on construction paper to make homemade valentine cards.
24 - 30 Months
Find an empty chocolate box or other similar box. Cut shapes - squares, rectangles, circles, and hearts - out of colored paper and glue them to the bottom of the box. Coordinate colored pieces of felt cut into the same shapes and allow the child to match the colors and/or different shapes as they fill their chocolate box. (Note for Parents: Consider your child's allergies or sensitivities when selecting a box that used to hold candy or other foods)
2.5 - 3 Years
Make Chocolate Play Dough (recipe below) and provide your child with the play dough, heart stamps (used with fondant frosting on cakes), rolling pins, small cookie cutters, and an empty chocolate box or other similar box. (Note for Parents: Consider your child's allergies or sensitivities when selecting a box that used to hold candy or other food and when making the chocolate play dough recipe).
Chocolate Play Dough
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
- 3 cups water
- 3 Tbsp oil
Whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and cream of tartar in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add water and oil. Stir constantly over medium heat. (Note: Mixture will be soupy and then will suddenly stick together, able to be stirred into a ball.) When thickened and in a rough ball, remove from heat and continue stirring. Turn the hot ball of dough onto a floured surface and knead it as it cools. Add extra flour if too sticky. Knead until flour is incorporated and dough is no longer sticky. Enjoy with rollers, cutters, and other play dough tools. Store at room temperature in a large zip-lock bag or other air-tight container.
3 - 5 Years
Family Love Prints—Trace each family member's hand - allow the child to do this if they are able. Ask the child why each family member is special and either have him or her write - or scribe for them - the responses onto the hands and allow each family member to decorate their own hand.
Tie-Dye Hearts—Fold a coffee filter in half and draw half of a heart shape on one side in pencil. Cut through both pieces to make a symmetrical heart. Fold the bottom of 1/2 heart up along the crease (makes a triangle with the tip of the heart on the top). Fold in half again and use bingo dabbers or dot markers to create a colorful pattern, being sure to do both sides and pressing hard so it soaks through. Be careful - this activity is messy, but worth it!