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10 Toddler-Friendly Valentine’s Activities

So I know that ‘toddlers’ and ‘Valentine’s’ in the same sentence may seem a little weird, but what we’re really doing here is using creative play to explore both the senses and feelings! Here’s 10 activities for you to try…

1. Make a Love Potion 

Ahh potion making. Practically everyday of the long summer holidays was spent making some type of potion. Potions lend themselves particularly well to a Valentine’s theme because it’s usually easy enough (in our case, anyway) to find fallen petals in the garden. If flowers aren’t as easy to access in your corner of the world, you could always try freezing the petals from an old bouquet of flowers!

2. Create a Valentine’s themed squish bag

When Zoey was very small, squish bags were our ‘go-to’ craft. They are both a safe and contained way to try painting with a baby but toddlers can have just as much fun with them too. Here I squirted pink and purple acrylics onto a piece of spare cardboard, then placed the card into a sandwich bag before letting Zoey have some squishy fun. The end result was quite striking!

3. Make some shaving foam hearts

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Have you tried shaving foam marbling? It’s such brilliant sensory fun! The beauty of this activity is that you can make a craft for a loved one and squeeze in some sensory play too. You can find out how we made these hearts by visiting the blog post Heart Mobile 

4. Introduce a pink and red sensory bin

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This sensory bin was one of the first activities I posted to Teach Investigate Play over on Instagram. I simply dyed some rice red, then added in sequins, glitter and pompoms. The kids then used scoops, spoons and tongs to investigate the sensory bin. You can find out how to dye rice by clicking the link here. 

A 2018 version of the sensory bin will be featuring on Instagram soon!

5. Make process art stamps out of cardboard tubes

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A few months ago, we were asked by the amazing Red Ted Art to make a Valentine’s themed project for the 31 Days of Love Project. These cardboard tube hearts were part of the process art wall hanging we created, but could just as easily be used as a standalone project.

6. Make a felt busy bag

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I’m pretty addicted to making felt busy bags for Zoey! Get on board the felt train if you’re not already because this stuff is ace! Simply cut one background piece of felt to A5 size of smaller, then cut out hearts in different colours and sizes. The beauty of felt is the fact it sticks together without the need to glue or sew. I’ve done a few different felt busy bags for Zoey now and they’re a great occupier in cafes!

7.  Talk about scents with a sensory jar

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We used lavender as it grows in our garden, but you could just as easily try dried petals – or even both! Simply place the lavender into a bottle (we like the plastic Voss variety the best) and let the aroma take hold. Incidentally, this works really well for herbs too so it’s a great activity for exploring scents.

8. Read some books…

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There’s no denying that we LOVE our books! We have a few Valentine’s themed books, but this is also a great opportunity to talk about feelings too. In My Heart by Jo Witeck is our choice pick but we’ll also be featuring some more in an upcoming ‘Discovery Table’ series post about love.

9. Go crazy with a sponge stamper…

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This is so simple, yet effective! I first did this activity with Zoey when she was one, but will definitely repeat it again this year. You can cheat a little and buy a sponge stamper like I did (this came in a pack of 4 different shapes) or you could cut your own. All you need to do is provide paint and paper too, then you’re good to go!

 

10. Make it super-simple with chalk…

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Everyday, come rain or shine, we get outside to play with our bumper box of chalks. Zoey currently likes to request drawings (like the heart shown here) and she will copy what i’m doing. She relates objects to the size of the family so I will get requests for daddy, mummy, Harrison or Zoey sized hearts – cute!

 

For more related ideas, check out:

Fingerprint Hearts

Simple Mother’s Day Crafts 

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Heart Mobile 

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it can be easy to get caught up in the annual panic of ‘what the heck do I buy?!’

I personally find that handmade objects are much more special than any shop bought alternative. So it got me thinking about inexpensive crafts that kids could make themselves.

This post forms part of a series throughout the week. First up, this heart mobile made from natural and recycled materials.

You will need: 

  • Shaving foam
  • String
  • Recycled paper or card (we used a white paper bag for the hearts)
  • Small tree branch
  • Food colouring or liquid watercolours
  • Cocktail stick or needle
  • Scissors

We started off one day in advance by making the marbled hearts. Of course, if you have the real kit, go for it but we used a mix of shaving foam and food colouring to create ours. Here’s how:

First off, spread a layer of shaving foam onto a plate. Use the back of a spoon to create an even surface.

The white paper bag pictured was used to make the hearts.

Next dot the food colouring onto the plate (depending on the type of product used, you might want to use a pipette.)

Using a cocktail stick, swirl patterns into the mixture, like this:

You will then need to press your paper hearts (or shape of your choice) into the foam. It’s best to press firmly so that the colours get absorbed into the paper.

Once you’ve completed the previous step, scrape off any excess foam. A pretty marbled pattern should be revealed! We left the hearts to dry over night before moving on to the next step of making the mobile.

For the mobile itself, you will need a branch. We checked ours for weaknesses and any sharp edges first.
The next part can be rather fiddly so younger children may need some assistance. Our seven year old found it to be a great fine motor skills workout!

Using a cocktail stick or needle, puncture a small hole into a corner of the heart:

Here’s where sewing skills come in handy because you then need to thread the string through the tiny hole and tie a knot to secure. Keep repeating this step for all of the hearts you made.

Finally, decide on how you want to display the hearts before tying the string to the branch. You should have one heart mobile for your efforts!

I personally love the contrast between the natural colours of the branch and string alongside the bright marble patterns of the hearts:

If you like this activity, please hit follow so you can keep updated on our crafts! 

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Fingerprint Hearts

When we found this box canvas in Riot Art and Craft, we were inspired to do something special. We initially did this as a Valentine’s Day activity, but it could just as easily work for Mother’s Day or even a birthday.

Our finished result has pride of place in our lounge as it just looks fantastic!
In actual fact, without the box, you could even send this to someone special who lives far away!

You will need:

  • Acrylics in complimentary colours
  • Mini canvas
  • Scrap paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Paint tray or similar
This mini canvas cost less that $5! 

It’s advisable to practise the heart shape first. All you need to do is dab the paint onto your forefinger and print diagonally in one direction, then the other to make the heart. We found that you only need a little bit of paint on your finger to avoid big splodges:

We tried out our hearts on scrap paper first!

Once you’re happy, you should be able to move on to the real deal. Here’s our final product:

And it’s as simple as that! If you want more activities for kids, please hit follow. Here’s how: