Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s a perfect opportunity to try out some activities for early learning with your preschooler. These activities are a lot of fun for parents and children alike. Aside from familiarizing your child with the heart shape, they also help teach a little bit of fine motor control, sequencing, and even some science! Try them out at home with your little one!
Any day is a great day to learn a little science! One of the easiest scientific concepts to demonstrate to young children is what happens when heat is applied to various objects. It helps them get an early grasp on temperature as well as the physical changes that matter can go through. Plus, this one reaps sweetly delicious rewards!
- Hershey Kisses (Mixing traditional chocolate with the red-and-white-striped Kisses will yield an especially fun result!)
- Cookie cutters (Heart-shaped for the holiday, but really any will work)
- Nonstick Spray
- Frying Pan
- Cookie Sheet
- Wax Paper
This activity is more of a “Watch and Learn” science experiment for your little one, as it involves the stove. You’ll be demonstrating for your preschooler what happens to chocolate when heat is applied. First, cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. Spray the cookie cutters with nonstick spray, and arrange them on the sheet. Next, place the Kisses, unwrapped, in the frying pan on the stove, and turn the heat on. If you use high heat, they will melt faster but the chocolate may get too hot and start to harden and burn before you can pour it. Therefore, it’s recommended to use a medium heat.
Your little one can watch as the chocolate begins to melt. Grab a spoon and stir the kisses gently around the bottom of the pan to help the process. Once they’re fully melted, pour the liquefied chocolate mixture into the cookie cutter shapes. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes. When you remove it, you’ll have delicious heart-shaped chocolate treats!
Though the science level in these types of activities for early learning is pretty simple, they still can act as a little introduction to the three states of matter. Your little one will watch something solid turn to liquid, and then back to solid. You can ask them if they know what made the Kiss turn to liquid (the heat), and what it was that turned it back to solid (the cold).
Tin Foil Hearts
Even the Tin Man would be jealous of these adorable tin foil hearts you can make with your children. When completed, these homemade hearts can be used as festive decoration, or even as little gifts for family members.
- Tin Foil
- Kid-Friendly Red and White Paint
- Paint Brushes
- Paper Plates
- Child-Safe Scissors
- Card Stock
These hearts are very simple to create. First, unravel a long strip of tin foil and crumple it very loosely to give it some texture. Then, flatten it out. Next, using a paper plate as a tray, squeeze out some red paint. Squeeze some white paint onto a different paper plate. You can use a third plate as a mixing tray for the red and white in order to make various shades of pink. Let your toddler paint the strip of tin foil, offering little guidance. Allow them to paint whatever patterns or colors they see fit.
Allow the tin foil to sit and dry once they’ve painted it to their satisfaction. Once dry, trace heart shapes into the tin foil. Let your child cut out the shapes, and glue the tin foil hearts onto the cardstock to give them a little more substance. This fun arts and crafts activity allows children to express themselves creatively, but gripping the paint brushes and cutting with scissors also helps refine their motor skills, hand strength, and dexterity!
Layered Heart Valentines
Your child can get those pre-packaged Valentine’s Day cards to give out at school, but these layered heart valentines add a little personal touch for family members. For toddlers, it may be neater (and quicker!) if you do the cutting here, but the rest is up to them!
- Various Valentine’s Themed Scrapbook Paper
Cut a very large heart out of the scrapbook paper, and glue this heart onto a cardboard heart cut to be the corresponding size. This serves as the base for your little one. Then cut out hearts of varying sizes on the other papers. Present the different sized hearts to your child, along with some adhesive. It’s your child’s job to layer the hearts from largest to smallest. When they’re finished, they can write a message on the valentine to give to a parent, grandparent, sibling, or whoever!
Even the simplest activities for early learning can teach your children a lesson. This activity challenges your child’s ability to measure, categorize, and sequence shapes of varying sizes and colors.
Want More Activities for Early Learning?
At Home Away From Home Academy, we recognize a child’s instinctive need to learn from birth. All play represents an opportunity for learning and growing. A child’s brain does the majority of its growing in their first few years of life. Because of that, we ensure to always provide fun and enriching activities for early learning. To learn more about us, please check out our available programs, or feel free to get in touch with us today!