By: Jennifer Croteau
Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? After all, it’s a whole holiday centered around just how much your loved ones mean to you. I love it, our boys love it, and my husband loves it too. I’ve always been very big with celebrating holidays and Valentine’s Day is no exception. When my kids were younger I began to incorporate hearts at breakfast and lunch. It’s really easy to make their day and let them know that you’re thinking of them. Their happy smile makes all your efforts well worth it.
At breakfast it could be as easy as cutting the pancakes with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and using a few drops of red food coloring in their milk. Top those heart pancakes with syrup and red sprinkles and you will have happy campers at your table, I promise. Same thought process goes for lunches. Now that my boys are older and in school I still keep up the tradition of heart-shaped sandwiches and a Valentine card with candy as a surprise. Just be sure the Valentine is “cool enough,” we wouldn’t want to embarrass them, (heaven forbid)!
As far as activities or crafts, I have a few that received rave reviews from the kids. The first is a simple learning activity with a Valentine theme. With just a few simple materials you can teach your child colors and counting with yummy conversation heart candy. You’ll need seven different colors of construction paper, with at least six of the colors matching the conversation heart colors. I used red for the main piece then pink, yellow, purple, orange, blue and green. With those six colors cut out hearts then glue them on the remaining piece of paper. Write a number on each heart. I used numbers 1 through 6 but really any number will do, just be sure to have that many pieces of candy. Once your board is ready, give your child the candy hearts and let them sort by color, or have them count the candy and match it to the correct numbered heart. Have fun and reward your child with some of those extra candy hearts.
Another fun activity is Love Bugs. Go on a nature hunt with your child to find the perfect rock. Once the rock has been chosen paint it red. Add google eyes, a heart-shaped nose, wings and antenna to complete your bug. For the wings, simply cut a circle in half and slightly overlap the points. Draw tiny hearts on the wings and then glue them down. Take pipe cleaners (wrapped around a pencil to make them curly) for the antenna and glue a piece of candy at the top of each. These make adorable decorations or “pets” for your little ones to cherish.
I like to keep my kids projects and set them out each year. It always amazes me how much they’ve grown. Time flies, enjoy these fun moments and create memories that you all can look back on.
Jennifer Croteau is the owner of TLC Child Care in Anthem, AZ. She has been managing an in-home child care business for nearly 10 years. Jennifer has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education, along with numerous other child care certifications. Jennifer has two boys ages 10 and 8, and they are her greatest source of joy in life.