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
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
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
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
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
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…
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…
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…
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!
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