I love you, I appreciate you, you are important to me
Press different sizes of construction paper hearts on a wall next to your daycare entrance. Invite parents to write a message for their child (or for their child’s early childhood educator) on a heart. Others will enjoy reading these messages. They will brighten everyone’s day.
For a magical décor, hang plastic hearts from the ceiling within your daycare. You can easily find small heart-shaped containers and boxes in big box stores. Simply insert a piece of string or ribbon in each one and hang them from the ceiling for inexpensive decorations.
Organize your writing area to ensure children have the opportunity to explore words and different forms of writing.
- Use Valentine’s Day illustrations and words to identify toy bins and storage areas.
- Identify activity corners using posters containing illustrations and words.
- Label children’s belongings using a logo, their name, and a loving adjective.
- Create an environment that contains many forms of writing by adding printed material in different play areas (ex. magazines, books, posters, word flashcards, etc.).
- Write children’s names on drawings and crafts.
- Display a special Valentine’s Day alphabet.
- Write a brief description of your daily activities on a bulletin board and add messages for parents.
- Delimit your reading area with kind words associated with Valentine’s Day.
Thematic poster-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open thematic poster-Valentine’s Day-Love Letters) Print, laminate, and display on a wall for parents (and children) to see. At the end of the theme, add the poster to a binder. At the end of the year, you will have a picture book that children will love to admire. It will help them remember the themes you explored together.
Educa-theme-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educa-theme-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate. Use the different illustrations to decorate a corner of your daycare and present the theme to your group (and their parents).
Educa-decorate-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educa-decorate-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print, laminate, and cut out the various items. Use them to decorate your daycare and set the mood for the theme.
Stickers-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open stickers-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper and use them to create original stickers.
Love letter mailbox
Create a special mailbox area. Each morning, children can check the mailbox to see if your Valentine’s Day puppet left a message, a challenge, or pictures for them.
(Open loving memos) Print and use the memos for various activities.
Good morning routine
This tool was created in response to a special request received. (Open routine-Good morning) Print, laminate, and display the routine in your daycare entrance. Encourage a child to welcome his peers. Children can select the method by which they wish to be greeted.
Explore puppets for their creative aspect. Use them to model conversations. Hand each child a puppet and encourage them to use them to participate in these conversations. You will find several puppet models in the Educatall club.
Collect several empty tissue boxes and have children decorate the boxes with Fun Foam hearts. Insert a note, a Valentine’s Day illustration, or a trinket inside each box. Every morning, present one or several boxes to your group and invite them to discover what it contains.
I love my friends
(Open stickers-I love my friends) Print twice on adhesive paper. As children arrive, press a sticker on their sweater, making sure two children end up with each sticker. During circle time, invite children to sit next to the child wearing the same sticker. Encourage children to talk about friendship. Write the words used by the children in your group to define friendship on small pieces of pink, red, and purple construction paper and display them on a wall.
Animated discussion-Feelings wheel
(Open feelings wheel) Print, laminate, and cut out the arrows. Use a fastener to secure the arrows in the center of the wheel. To solidify it, you can simply glue it in the bottom of a paper plate. Use the wheel to spark a conversation. Invite a child to spin the wheel. Ask children questions about the illustrated feeling or have them name situations they associate with it.
The picture game may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. The pictures may also be used simply to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate. Store the game in a “Ziploc” bag or in your thematic bin.
ACTIVITY AND WRITING SHEETS
Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets-Valentine’s Day-Love letters)
Creating a homemade activity booklet
Print and laminate several activity sheets and writing activities. Arrange them in a binder and provide dry-erase markers. Leave the binder in your manipulation area and invite children to complete the activities during free play. The use of dry-erase markers will allow you to use the booklet repeatedly.
Educa-spots-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educa-spots-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. Use bingo markers to add color to the different circles. If you don’t have bingo markers, children can add stickers or cereal inside the circles.
(Open writing booklet-The letters of the alphabet) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker. Encourage children to trace the words with red, pink, and purple crayons.
Educa-nuudles-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educa-nuudles-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. Have children color the sheet and use Magic Nuudles to give it a three-dimensional look. If you don’t have Magic Nuudles, simply ask children to fill the spaces with bingo markers or stickers.
To order Magic Nuudles
The flashcards may be used during circle time to spark a conversation with the group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) (Open giant word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) letter, love, heart, pen, paper, card, envelope, ink, perfume, picture, ribbon, stamp
Educa-chatterbox-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educa-chatterbox-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate the cards. To create your chatterbox, decorate a shoebox or a small bin as you wish. Fill it with items, pictures, illustrations, and accessories related to the theme. Add the printed cards. During circle time or a waiting period, have children take turns picking an item out of your box. Encourage them to name the various items.
Song and rhyme envelopes
Cut several hearts out of construction paper. On one side of each heart, glue a Valentine’s Day picture. On the other side, write the words to a simple Valentine’s Day song or rhyme. Children take turns picking a heart to determine which song or rhyme you will sing.
Say a series of words related to the theme (use two words at first and increase the number of words per children’s capacity). Children must repeat the words in the same order. Ideally, use words that belong to the same category.
(Open word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) (Open giant word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate the word flashcards. Have each child pick a flashcard and take turns presenting the item to the group. Discuss each item to see what children know about the theme.
(Open word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) (Open giant word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print many copies of the word flashcards and encourage children to use scrabble tiles to write the words. Manipulating the small tiles represents a great fine motor skill exercise. At the same time, children will notice which letters make up the different words.
Word association-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) (Open giant word flashcards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print two copies of several different word flashcards. On a large piece of cardboard, stick one copy of each flashcard vertically to create a word column. Cut the second copy of each word flashcard so you have the word on one side and the illustration on the other side. Attach Velcro behind each part as well as to the right of the uncut flashcards (on the cardboard). Arrange the cut flashcards on the table and encourage children to look at your flashcard board to identify a matching word and illustration. When they succeed, they may stick them next to the corresponding flashcard, on your board. This exercise will help children associate words with pictures.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Illustrated love letters
Collect several pictures of words and love letters. Press them on your daycare walls, cupboards, and floor. Children will enjoy discovering them throughout the day.
Cut several pieces of cardboard to represent postcards. Let children draw on them and decorate them using heart-shaped stickers. Write a short message on the back of each card and deliver them to another daycare group.
Felt hearts at lunch
Cut medium-sized hearts out of felt. Place each heart inside an envelope and deposit the envelopes on the table. As children wait for lunch to be served, let them manipulate the envelopes and discover the felt hearts. Show them how they can use the hearts as coasters.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
A letter in the mail
Ask parents to provide the address of a person who is very dear to their child, a grandparent or an uncle for example. Have each child prepare a Valentine’s Day card and insert it in an envelope. Write the address provided by each child’s parents on his or her envelope. Let children press a stamp in the top right-hand corner of their envelope. Drop the envelopes in a mailbox during your morning walk with your group.
Paper and envelope manipulation exercise
Fill a plastic bin with different types of paper and envelopes that children can manipulate freely. Show them how they can insert pieces of paper in the envelopes. They will enjoy filling and emptying the envelopes.
Invite children to use a rolling pin to flatten modeling dough to strengthen their wrists. Next, ask children to press their fingers in the dough one at a time to leave their fingerprints in the dough.
Invite children to move their fingers in a variety of ways.
Love-filled finger painting
Provide finger paint, whipped cream, or pudding and let children “paint” hearts.
Use chalk to write letters on a chalkboard. Have children erase them by tracing the letters with a paintbrush dipped in water.
Invite children to hang Valentine’s Day pictures and drawings on an indoor clothesline. Use this activity to foster language development and encourage them to use the pictures to create a story.
Encourage children to use their body to represent letters.
Provide necklace beads with letters printed on them and invite children to use them to create special Valentine’s Day necklaces.
Love letters for movement
Use letters to recreate traditional games such as Twister or hopscotch.
Fishing for love letters
Fill a small swimming pool (or bin) with magnetic letters. Make your own fishing rods by gluing a piece of metal to the end of old broomsticks and encourage children to fish “love letters”.
Bowling-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open bowling game-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and press the stickers on empty plastic bottles to create bowling pins. Set the bowling pins on a table and have children try to make them fall using a tennis ball. Each child may have three tries.
Pyramid-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open stickers-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and use the stickers to create games. Collect empty metal cans (different sizes) and decorate them using the letters of the alphabet. Use the cans to build a pyramid and let children attempt to make it fall by throwing a frisbee towards it.
Playing cards-Valentine's Day-Love letter hunt
(Open playing cards-Love letters) Print and laminate. Give each child the same number of cards. They can take turns hiding their cards in the daycare. When they are done, let the hunt begin! Children race to find as many letters as possible.
Modeling dough activity placemats-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
String activities-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open string activities-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. Children trace the outlines with white glue before covering them with colourful string.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and cut out the letters. Hide them within your daycare. When you give the signal, children search for them.
Invite children to trace the letters of the alphabet:
- In flour
- Using chalk
- In Paint (using a paintbrush)
- On dark construction paper using a paintbrush dipped in water
- In finger paint
- In modeling dough
- Using Wikki Stix
Activities that can be done using letters printed on paper:
- Create an alphabet book by looking for pictures in catalogues.
- Trace the letters of the alphabet with Magic Nuudles, yarn pieces, modeling dough snakes, Wikki Stix, etc.
- Trace letters printed on paper that has been laminated using dry-erase markers.
- Have children trace letters in sand, flour, couscous, etc.
- Have children color, paint, or decorate printed letters. You can also do the same using wooden letters.
- Encourage children to integrate letters in a drawing. For example, a C turned on the side can become an igloo.
Hop, hop, hop
Use adhesive paper to arrange letters on the floor. Invite children to sing the alphabet as they hop on the letters in the correct order.
Searching for letters
Have children search for toys that have words or letters on them. As they show you their findings, name the letters with them.
Go for a walk in your neighborhood with your group and encourage children to notice the signs that you see. Afterwards, print the logos that you saw. The next time you go for a walk, have children search for the printed logos.
Set a plastic tablecloth on a table. Using a permanent marker, write the 26 letters of the alphabet on it (large characters). Have children toss a bean bag on the tablecloth. They must name the letter the bean bag lands on and, depending on their age, try to find a word that begins with this letter.
Fill a small pool with magnetic letters. Make homemade fishing rods by attaching a small piece of metal to the end of broomsticks. Children can fish the letters out of the pool. You can encourage children to “catch” the letters needed to write their name.
Provide Popsicle sticks and encourage children to use them to draw letters and words in sand or snow. This can also be done with chalk.
Pick a letter
Fill a bag with letters. To the sound of music, children must pass the bag around a circle. When the music stops, the child holding the bag picks a letter out of the bag and tries to name it. Help the child if necessary. Ask children if they know any words that begin with the letter before starting the music again.
Use adhesive paper to press letters on your daycare floor. Play music and encourage children to walk around the daycare. When the music stops, name a letter that children must find. The first to succeed selects the letter at the end of the next round.
Gather a variety of musical instruments and invent a new alphabet song with your group.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Our group project
Hang a large white paper banner on a wall and invite children to paint on it, press stickers here and there, or simply draw together.
Mail for the group
Set a large box that you have decorated to make it look like a mailbox in the center of your daycare. Encourage parents, children, and other daycare workers to drop letters for the children in your group in your mailbox. Each day, invite a different child to be the mailman. He or she can sort and distribute the mail.
Mail from the heart
Each child prepares one or more drawings for each of his peers and inserts them in a special mailbox. A mailman distributes them.
Use adhesive letters to create silly faces. Letters can be used to represent eyes, a nose, a mouth, etc. Add hearts for a special Valentine’s Day touch.
Give each child a magnifying glass and invite them to use it to search for letters in their environment (on posters, games, etc.). You could also hide letters throughout your daycare and have children “capture” them using butterfly nets.
Magnetic love letters
Encourage children to use magnetic letters to reproduce Valentine’s Day words written on a poster.
Pick a word before starting to read a book. Children must clap every time they hear it.
Print and laminate several Valentine’s Day illustrations. Insert each one in an envelope and hide the envelopes throughout your daycare: between the pages of your storybooks, in cubbyholes, under stuffed animals, in bins, etc. During the day, children will have fun discovering the illustrations as the play.
Counting cards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open counting cards-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate. Prepare a series of wooden clothespins on which you can paint or draw numbers 1 to 9. Children count the items on each card and place the corresponding clothespin on the correct number.
Roll and color-3D-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open roll and color-3D-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. This game can be enjoyed individually or as a group. Children take turns rolling the die and coloring a part containing the number it lands on.
Have each child draw something for one or more of his peers. When they are done, they can add their artwork to your mailbox. At the end of the theme, have a “mailman” distribute the mail. If you prefer, pick a drawing out of your mailbox and invite the child who drew it to present it to the group. This activity can be done throughout the week or on a continuous basis.
Color by number-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open color by number-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. Children must color the picture per the color code.
Bingo-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open bingo-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print, laminate, and cut out the pieces. Play bingo with the letters of the alphabet.
Snakes & ladders-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open snakes & ladders-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate. Children use a die and small figurines to represent playing pieces.
Hunt and seek coloring-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open hunt and seek coloring-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and laminate. Children must find and color the different items.
Educ-trace-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educ-trace-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. Children must trace each line using a crayon of the corresponding color and then color the item at the end of the line.
Instead of a traditional rice bin, fill a container with alphabet pasta or cereal.
Hide Fun Foam letters in a rice bin.
Prepare Jell-O in a cookie sheet instead of in individual bowls. Once it is set, use letter-shaped cookie cutters to cut the preparation.
Cook small alphabet pasta. Let children manipulate the letters. Offer Alpha Bits cereal as a snack or dessert too.
Give children carrot or celery sticks and encourage them to use them to represent letters.
Roll out store-bought cookie dough and invite children to use alphabet cookie cutters to create letter cookies.
ARTS & CRAFTS
My hat-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open educa-decorate-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and cut out. Glue the items on a hat or headband.
Crumpled paper love letters
(Open models-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print one letter per child. Children must crumple tiny pieces of torn tissue paper and use the paper balls to fill the letters.
Sculpt letters in modeling dough or salt dough and leave them out to dry. Let children paint them.
Variation: You may also use Magic Nuudles.
Use a hole punch to make a hole in several Fun Foam letters. Give each child a long piece of string and invite them to thread letters on it to create a necklace. If you prefer, have children work together to create a single necklace. They can take turns wearing it during the theme.
String of words
(Open models-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print and have children decorate the items. Cut them out and hang them within your daycare, forming a garland.
Mandalas-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
(Open mandalas-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child. Have children color them using Valentine’s Day colors.
Valentine’s Day love letter display
Print a variety of Valentine’s Day stationery. During the week, encourage children to draw on the pretty paper. Display their drawings in a hallway for everyone to see. Write “Valentine’s Day Love Letters” above their artwork.
Cut a few potatoes in half and carve letters out of them. Show children how they can press the letters in paint and then on paper to create prints.
Sponge letter painting
Cut sponges to represent letters and have children use them to paint letters.
(Open mobile-letters) Print, trace the number 8 figure on cardboard, and cut out. Cut out the letters and insert different lengths of string in the holes at the top of each letter. Hang them from the number 8 figure. Add three pieces of string in the holes shown on the figure 8 to hang your mobile from the ceiling.
(Open letters-black and white) Print the letters and cut them out. Children can decorate them as they wish. Glue them on Popsicle sticks or drinking straws to create letter puppets. Children will use their imagination and bring the letters to life.
Love letter collage
Give each child a piece of black construction paper. Have them glue alphabet pasta on it. If you wish, you can mix 1 pint of dry pasta with 2 tablespoons of food coloring and 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Shake everything together then spread the letters out on a baking sheet to dry.
Provide magazines and newspapers. Let children cut letters and use them to write words on a piece of construction paper.
Purchase Fun Foam letters and encourage children to use them to make a collage along with other arts & crafts materials.
Provide finger paints and invite children to trace letters with their fingers.
COLORING PAGES THEME
(Open coloring pages theme-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print for each child.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE THE COLORING PAGES
Identical coloring pages-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
Print the same coloring page for each child and an additional copy for your model. Color only certain parts of your picture. Present the model to your group and ask them to color their picture to make it look exactly like yours.
Coloring binder-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
Print and laminate several coloring pages and arrange them in a binder with a few dry-erase markers. Leave everything on a table for children to explore.
Musical drawing-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
Play musical drawing with your group. Give each child a coloring page. Have children sit around a table. When the music starts, they must pass the coloring pages around the table. Every time the music stops, they must color the picture in front of them until the music starts again.
Homemade puzzles-Valentine’s Day-Love letters
Give each child a picture to color. When they are done, cut each picture into pieces to create unique puzzles.
SONGS AND RHYMES
(Open songs & rhymes-Valentine’s Day-Love letters) Print.
By: Patricia Morrison
I L-O-V-E you
I L-O-V-E you
This Valentine’s Day
I must say
I L-O-V-E you