I just looked at the calendar with wide eyes. It is almost February. That means that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. This year I want to do something different and special with my kids: a 14 Days of Valentines Activity Challenge.
I plan on doing a different 10-30 minute activity with my kids each day from February 1-14.
Since my kids are two and four years old, the activities I do will be geared for toddlers and preschoolers. The activities include crafts, games, exercises and cooking. I think you’ll find that most of the activities will also work with older children. If not, adapt them so they do.
I have planned tentative activities for each day. This is because the activities are subject to change and may end up on a different day than scheduled.
I will periodically post an update for each activity to let you know how the activity went for us. Please join us if you can! It will be a blast!
14 Days of Valentines Activity Challenge Schedule
Feb. 1st- Make Valentine Necklaces
The kids and I will make necklaces using the following clay dough recipe.
*3 cups flour
*1 cup salt
*½ cup vegetable oil
*red and/or pink food coloring
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add water, oil and food coloring slowly. Knead the day thoroughly then roll it into balls. Give a ball to each of your kids. Have them flatten it (help them if needed) and use heart cookie cutters to cut out the shape of a heart.
Punch a hole in the top of the heart with a straw. Etch your child’s name or some other design on the heart with a pen or pencil. Bake the hearts at 225 degrees F (110 C) for 2 hours. Make sure you turn the hearts several times while baking so they won’t curl. After baking, put them in a warm place to dry turning them periodically. When they are dry, attach yarn and wear!
The kids loved helping add the dry ingredients. They had so much fun pressing out the dough and cutting out the hearts with the cookie cutters. We made two batches. The first one we left white and the second batch we added red food coloring to make the necklaces more festive.
I punched holes etched some sayings into some of the hearts before popping them into the oven for a couple hours. They are now in the process of drying out and hardening for a couple days before we can add yarn and complete the necklaces.
Feb. 2nd- Heart Felt Learning
I plan to help the kids cut out different hearts that are different sizes and colors from felt. I will use the hearts to practice identifying colors, positions and body parts.
Activity Update: We cut out small hearts from thin colored foam I bought at the dollar store. I gave my toddler daughter commands such as “Put the heart on your foot” or “Put the orange heart on your nose.” She was able to locate most of the body parts I said. She had difficulty identifying colors.
My son was able to tell me the colors of the hearts and put them in different positions that I requested.
This activity only took about 10 minutes and was a simple way to review and practice basic skills.
Feb. 3rd- Play a Valentine Game
I will probably play a heart matching game with my preschooler and a seek and find heart game with my toddler.
Activity Update: Time got away from us and we only had time to play one game with the hearts. I hid the hearts in the kids’ bedroom and then had them go find them. I purposely hid some in plain sight so my toddler daughter could easily find them. A few of the hearts I hid in the cupboards of the play kitchen they have in their room. After locating all the hearts hidden in plain sight, my preschool aged son eventually decided to look in the cupboards.
This game is quick and super easy! It can be easily adapted for different skill levels of your kids. If you have a baby, put the heart near enough that he can reach for it or crawl to it. For school aged children, hide all of the hearts out of sight.
Feb. 4th-Make Love Plants
- Clay Pots or a cottage cheese or yogurt container.
- Pipe Cleaners or paper straws
- Red and Pink construction paper, felt or foam
- Scrap paper
- Play dough
Cut the hearts from the construction paper, foam or felt. Write messages and/or decorate the hearts for Valentines Day. Staple the front and back of the hearts together on a pipe cleaner.
Decorate the clay pot using a Sharpie Marker if desired. If using a cottage cheese or yogurt container, cover the outside with festive wrapping paper or tissue paper.
Put play dough in the bottom of the pot. Press the pipe cleaner stems into the dough. Fill in the pot with thin strips of scrap paper.
Activity Update: This activity took longer that I expected to prepare and complete. It was also not as easy for my toddler and preschooler to assemble as I thought it might be. I ended up wrapping the containers in paper and taping the hearts onto paper straws. We tried using pipe cleaners, but they weren’t very stable and kept moving.
My kids had fun picking out what hearts they wanted to put in their pot, but that was about all they were able to do. This activity is better suited for older children. You never know until you try!
I do like how they turned out and may use them for centerpieces. Or, add another straw with a gift card attached to it and give it to a teacher or friend for a gift.
Feb. 5th-Heart Healthy Exercise
Teach the kids what our heart is and what it does. Explain how it needs exercise. Do simple jumping, hopping and running exercises. Compare heart rate before the exercise with heart rate after the exercise.
February is American Heart Month. If you live in America, it is the month to spread awareness about having a healthy heart. If you are looking for more activities and resources, check out this Healthy Kids page on the American Heart Association website.
We mainly just ran around for this activity. Jumping and hopping were also accomplished, but my kids had more fun just chasing their mommy.
After running, I had them put their hand on their chest and feel their heartbeat. I explained briefly what they were feeling and that it is where their heart is. Since they are younger, I didn’t elaborate much more than that.
If your kids are older, you may want to explain a bit more about the heart and why it is important to exercise.
Feb. 6th-Make Valentine Fish
Cut out one big heart and three small hearts from different colored construction paper. Turn the big heart so that it is facing sideways. Glue a little heart where the big heart indents for the fish’s tail. Glue one small heart on top of the big heart. Attach the other small heart on bottom of big heart. These two hearts are the fins. Draw an eye and a mouth if desired.
The kids had a blast making these fish. They love the book “The Pout Pout Fish.” The heart lips on the fish reminded us of the fish smooching at the end of the story. If you haven’t read that book to your kids yet, I highly recommend it. It is a great story to read right before you kiss your kids good night.
Feb. 7th- Read a Valentine Story
Whew! You are half way through the Valentines Activity Challenge!
Slow down a bit today and read a valentine story to your kids such as “The Biggest Valentine Ever.” This fun story is about two mice who can not get along making a valentine together. They each decide to make their own homemade valentine, but it doesn’t turn out right. Something is missing! They decide to try working together again and this time they make a huge valentine that looks like a mouse to give to their teacher, Mrs. Mousely.
Another cute option is “Slugs in Love.” This book tells the story of a slug named Mary Lou who is in love with a slug named Herbie. He doesn’t even know her and so Mary Lou proceeds to leave “slimy” love notes around the garden to let Herbie know of her existence and affection.
We ended up reading both “The Biggest Valentine Ever” and “Slugs in Love.” The kids enjoyed both books so much that we read them more than once.
Feb. 8th- Valentine Finger Play
Practice counting with this Valentine Finger Play. Attach small hearts to each finger if desired. Use the word valentine instead of heart if you would like.
The first little heart said “I love you.” (Hold up 1 finger).
The second little heart said, “I love you, too.” (Hold up 2 fingers).
The third little heart said, “Will you be mine?” (Hold up 3 fingers).
The fourth little heart said, “I’ll be your valentine.” (Hold up 4 fingers).
The fifth little heart said, “Who’ll love me today?” (Hold up 5 fingers).
“We will!” said the other hearts “It’s Valentine’s Day!”
Kids love finger plays and my kids were no exception. They loved watching and listening to me perform it. Then they liked holding up their fingers and acting it out with me.
Read my post on why you should start using finger plays with your kids today.
They truly are a fun and simple way to interact with your kids!
Feb. 9th- Make Smelly Valentines
Have your kids sew two paper lace hearts together by pulling yarn through holes. Leave a small opening at the top. Spray perfume on cotton balls and stuff them in the top opening. Finish sewing and tie the ends together in a bow. Write a Valentine’s Day message on the front with a crayon or marker.
Activity Update: There was a family emergency that came up during this challenge that prevented us from completing all the activities. This was one of them. Maybe next year!
Feb. 10th-Visual Discrimination Game
Place two hearts of the same color and one heart of a different color in a row. Ask your kids to tell you which one doesn’t belong. To make it more challenging, place several different hearts out for your kids to see. Have them close their eyes while you remove one. Then have them tell you which one you removed.
Activity Update: My son does visual discrimination activities at preschool and so this was easy peasy for him. I didn’t really attempt it with my toddler daughter. She is still a little young for this concept.
Feb. 11th-Make Homemade Valentines
Use construction paper and other art materials to create homemade valentines for your friends and family.
Activity Update: Unfortunately, we were not able to do this activity either. We had to rely on store bought Valentine cards to give to friends and family this year.
Feb. 12th-Make a Valentine Holder
Decorate a white paper sack with paper hearts cut out of construction paper to hold the Valentines you will receive on February 14.
Activity Update: We didn’t get to make these paper sack valentine holders at home. My son did make one at preschool. He dipped cookie cutters in red, pink or purple paint and then pressed them down all over the front of the sack. It made a neat looking bag to hold all the Valentines he received from his school friends.
Feb. 13th-Make Heart Shaped Cookies
Use a sugar cookie recipe to make cookie dough. Cut out the cookies with heart shape cookie cutters. Bake and then decorate with frosting, red candy and sprinkles. Eat one cookie today and save the rest for tomorrow!
Activity Update: Sigh! Another project we just weren’t able to accomplish! That is why this 14 days of Valentine projects is called a challenge. I found out that it really is a challenge to complete all of the activities. Hopefully, you and your kids had better luck than we did.
Feb. 14th-Valentine’s Day Party Time
Pass out the Valentines you made to your friends and family. Eat cookies and any other special Valentine snack to celebrate with your loved ones!
Activity Update: We were able to pass out Valentines to family and friends even if they weren’t homemade. We ate lots of chocolate candy.
What about you? Did you finish the Valentines Activity Challenge? Leave a comment and let me know!
Happy Valentine’s Day!