I love you a little, I love you a lot
Activities for toddlers and babies
A Valentine’s Day theme with a few twists that will make exploring quantities, affection, and hearts possible with little ones.
Hang pink, purple, white, and red hearts from the ceiling using different lengths of pretty Valentine’s Day ribbon.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Diaper change tickles
During diaper changes, tickle children to create a tender moment that children will appreciate. Tickle them slowly as you say, “I love you a little.” Tickle them more intensely as you say, “I love you a lot.” You could, for example, tickle their feet very gently at first and then tickle their tummy more intensely.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Discovery bottles for exploring quantities
Create Valentine’s Day-themed discovery bottles. Insert several items in some bottles and very few items in other bottles. You could, for example, add a few heart-shaped candies to one bottle and completely fill another bottle with candy. Seal the caps with hot glue. Let children explore the bottles (supervision required). Use the bottles to introduce the notion “a little” versus “a lot”.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, smell)
Flower petals…a little and a lot
Use flowers to create pretty centrepieces. Be sure to use non-toxic flowers. Babies and toddlers will enjoy observing the flowers during lunch time. Once they are done eating, take a few flowers and invite children to smell them one by one. Let them touch the flowers and pull on the petals. Let them manipulate a few petals and tell them there are “a little”. After a few minutes, add several more petals and tell them there are “a lot”.
ARTS & CRAFTS
A loving picture
Invite children to draw on a piece of cardboard and encourage them to decorate it for Valentine’s Day as they see fit. Stick a picture of each baby and toddler on his or her piece of cardboard. At the top, write: I love you a little, I love you a lot”. These pictures will make great Valentine’s Day gifts for parents.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A heart-filled surprise
Make a giant greeting card with your group. Cut several tiny paper hearts using a small hole-punch. Insert several hearts in the card. Find an accomplice, a parent or the cook for example. Deliver the card to your accomplice with your group. When your accomplice opens the card (with a sudden exaggerated movement), the hearts will fall to the ground. Encourage your accomplice to exclaim, “Wow! There are a lot of hearts!”
Invite older toddlers to sit on the floor. Pull the petals off a variety of pink fabric flowers or use pink feathers. Give each toddler one or two petal(s). Supervision is required. If there are children in your group that have a pacifier, give it to them. Let children manipulate their petal(s) before suddenly making the remaining petals fall on their head, like rain. Help children notice how there are now “a lot” of petals. Let them manipulate the large quantity of petals as they wish.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Tiny heart distribution
Organize your own little Valentine’s Day mail distribution. Cut several tiny hearts out of cardboard. Let babies and toddlers decorate them as they wish. Walk around the daycare, distributing the hearts. If you go for a walk with your group, you can deliver hearts to neighbours or to the children in other daycare groups that you often cross paths with when you are out and about.
Early childhood educator
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