Fostering social and emotional development in young children is a key point of focus in early education classrooms and programs. Though academics can never be underrated, it is important that our children have the social skills to express that knowledge to the world. Valentine’s Day is a great holiday for teaching children to appreciate and value the educators who instill a love of learning every day. We have a few crafts for little hands that will hopefully express just that!
1. Kindness Cards
Children will recognize and label basic feelings, becoming more aware of the feelings of others.
- Kindness Counts! by Debby Anderson
- Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
- Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
- Crayons, markers, glue, and collage materials
- Box with a slot cut into it
- Large, blank index cards
Preparation: Decorate a box with a slot cut into the top or side, and label it as, “The Kindness Box.”
What To Do:
- Read one or more of the suggested books to your children.
- Talk with your child about feelings and discuss the meaning of kindness.
- Ask children to brainstorm ways their teacher has been kind to them. Write their responses on large index cards.
- Introduce “The Kindness Box” and invite children to use art materials to decorate the index cards and then put them into the box.
- Explain that the cards they made will be given to their teacher to make him or her smile for Valentine’s Day! Explain that by helping someone smile, they are being kind.
Source: Activity adapted from Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children.
2. Etched Candles
Work on children’s early literacy skills as they spell out a Valentine’s message on a jazzed up candle with creative design.
- Votive size or other small, thick candles, colored if possible
- Thin paintbrushes or wooden cooking skewers
- Netting or tissue paper, cut in squares
- Yarn, cut into 8” pieces
Make Your Gift Great
- Etch the sides of a candle with the handle end of a paintbrush.
- Have your child choose a Valentine’s word or message to write on the candle (ex. Love, Hero, Best Teacher, etc.) Etch it into the candle along with simple designs and shapes, such as dots, stripes, circles, and so on.
- Brush off loose pieces of wax.
- Wrap the candle in a square piece of netting or tissue paper and tie with yarn.
- Retrace over the design several times to make it more visible.
- Use a comb to etch in a design.
Source: 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make
3. Shapes & Sand Design
Involve sensory play with a Valentine’s design to give to teachers!
What To Do:
- Glue bright, bold cutout paper hearts to a contrasting construction paper background. For example, use yellow on purple, red on blue, or white on black.
- Trace around the edges of the shapes with white glue squeezed from the bottle.
- Shake or pour colored sand onto the glue lines, or use sand you’ve put in a container for easy pour solutions.
- Tap the excessive sand onto a tray (save this in the sand container for later use). Let the design dry completely before presenting to the teacher.
- Extra: Have your child write a special Valentine’s note on the inside of the heart.
Source: Art with Anything
We hope you were inspired to get together with your children to make something special for educators on Valentine’s Day. Be sure to share pictures of your child’s final product by tagging us on Instagram @Kaplantoys!