Hooray! We survived the Holidays! All of the recycling from the Christmas toy explosion has been taken away, that Elf is stuffed somewhere in the garage, and the tree is on the curb (or maybe it’s still up…this is a Judgement Free Zone). While it’s tempting to start a countdown to summer, there are a few great holidays and special occasions coming up that are still super fun to celebrate with your little ones.
We spend the month of February focused on Valentine’s Day, and our house is taken over by all things red, pink, and white. I wanted to share with you my five favorite V-Day activities that are easy yet engaging, and have me feeling like a Pinterest Mom without making me go broke or crazy.
1. Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin
My kids are obsessed with sensory bins. Our Valentine’s Day bin has a dried white bean base and is filled with feathers, red bells, and various felt/foam hearts. I love using heart cupcake toppers too because they stand up well in the beans. Heart vase fillers are another favorite—they get covered with beans and the kids love searching around to find them. We also have cups for scooping and some heart cookie cutters. The Target Dollar Bin, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, and Michael’s all have great themed manipulatives for your bin and everything can be saved to be used again for next year!
2. Heart Scavenger Hunt
Cut out (or be like me and buy) tons of hearts and hide them around the house. Send the kiddos on a scavenger hunt to find them all!
I hide A LOT of hearts because it extends the activity. Plus, it’s always fun to find a forgotten one hidden under your bed in a few months. Then you can use all of the hearts to…
3. Make a Heart Garland
Take all of those hearts from your scavenger hunt and glue/staple/tape them to long pieces of ribbon to make a garland. We hang ours from a curtain rod, but they would also look great strung on a fireplace mantle or hanging down a door. They can be left as-is or you can write sweet messages to your kiddo on each one. FULL DISCLOSURE: Our hearts have now become the targets for nerf guns and sword fighting. *Sigh*
4. Ice Painting
We have just discovered the joys of ice painting! Simply take a cake pan (in this case: hearts) and freeze water in the mold. Put it on a baking sheet (so that the lip will catch the melting water) and let the kids use watercolors to paint on it! Big cake pans make big ice cubes (obviously), so they will last an entire day sitting on the kitchen table while my son and daughter come and go from the activity. After awhile we always have a little science lesson and pour salt over it.
I recommend putting the empty cake mold flat in your freezer and then using a thin-spouted watering can to fill it with water. If you fill the mold in the sink, walk it to your fridge, then try to slide it into your overflowing freezer you run the risk of spilling water all over your floor and the inside of your freezer. True story. Depending on the weather, you could also leave it outside to freeze. Some libraries have cake pans for patrons to check out if you don’t want to invest in one; we got these molds from the North Liberty Community Library.
5. Sprinkle Art
A pan and a bunch of sprinkles–what’s there not to love?! Add enough sprinkles to cover the bottom of a pan, and give your kiddo a paint brush (or just have them use their fingers). See what they create! To make this Valentine’s related, you can add heart sprinkles to your pan and practice drawing hearts. You can also practice writing letters/numbers or just let them explore. This activity also works well with salt too, which is a little less tempting to sneak tastes of.
After you’re done making sprinkle art, you can also use the sprinkles to do some dramatic play with playdough. Pretend to work in a bakery and make cookies, cakes, and cupcakes out of playdough. Use the sprinkles to top your sweet treats!
In our house, these are the five favorite activities we do in February!
What are you doing with your little one to replace the winter blues with Valentine’s pink?