Monday, February 24, 2014

Valentine's Day Unit for Toddlers Part 1

Valentine's Day has come and gone and for those of you who celebrate it, I hope it was a good one. We kept it low key this year again but for the children, it's always an entire week's worth of activities. I truly think seasonal thematics are their favorite. Sadly, because they come back every year, it's a bit hard to always come up with fresh ideas but I always try my best to bring in some variety and the favorite ones from the previous years...

Valentine's Day Playdough
Sensorial & Art: Valentine's Day Bakery with Play Dough and Accessories
Fresh playdough. Hadn't made a new batch in a while. It doesn't take long but I somehow never seem to get around to it. For Valentine's Day, I thought it would be nice for the kids to have new colors and fresh suggestions of activities to go with the modeling dough. This time, the plan was for them to open their own bakery and make fresh pastries for Valentine's Day: cookies, cupcakes, tarts, donuts, whatever they like. I provided heart-shaped cookie cutters, cupcake toppers (homemade toothpicks with Valentine's Day themed toppers cut from a printables pack), cupcake liners (small and large), a mini heart shaped baking pan, sequins and buttons (aka sprinkles and candies), and several playdough accessories such as a rolling pin, knife, round cutter...Everyone had a blast; especially my toddler. We all ended up wishing the treats were real! :) I must mention No Time for Flashcards had a similar activity to this a few years ago and it really inspired this one.

Valentine dough bakery
The baker at work with her tools and dough

Valentine's Day Sound Boxes
Sensorial : Valentine's Day Sound Boxes
The beauty of those dollars bins is finding little things like these containers.  I wasn't sure what was going to become of them at first but I was pretty sure I'd find them a use and besides, my pink-loving girl was very much in love with them. As it turns out, being that there was two different colors, they were sort of perfect for sound matching boxes. I used two dimes in one of the boxes, a red "glittery" pompom in another, a plastic heart bead in the third one and wooden toothpicks in the last one. They all weighed about the same but sounded distinctly different when gently shook. Zahavah sounded a pink one by shaking it and then tried to match with the red one that made the same sound. 

Valentine's Day Cutting Strips
Practical Life: Valentine's Day Cutting Strips
Zahavah loves cutting but so far, I haven't really tried to "make her cut". It's always been her choice and "free-form" but today, I thought I'd see how well she could follow the line by offering a thin lined and tight-packed single snip cutting strip series. She did well. She didn't really like having to cut along the lines but she did it. These cutting strips are actually not really cutting strips by the way; they are patterning sheets created by Katie at Gift of Curiosity. I simply chose to print the sheet in a much smaller version and prepared it as cutting strips.

Tweezing Rose Petals
Practical Life: Tweezing Silk Rose Petals
Didn't have the heart to use real rose petals...They looked too good on my own roses! :) I bought these silk ones for a photo shoot years ago and kept them so I re-purposed them for this tweezing activity. Just trying to see if little Z can get her pincer grip going! :)

Valentine's DAy Celery Rose Print Card
Art: Making a Valentine with Celery
Printing with fruits and vegetables is very much part of a good Montessori school curriculum. Last year, Adrian did this celery print during our Kitchen themed week and really loved it and I remembered that it would be so well suited for Valentine's Day...and so here we are! Zahavah got to do the celery prints this year using red tempera paint and the chopped off bottom of a celery. She practiced on a big sheet of paper before making her card to see how much paint would make a nice "rose" print. Lots of paint meant a red circle so she opted for less dipping for her Valentine's Day card. I later added the thorns and greeting (ran out of room). I had originally seen the idea on Punchestown Montessori's Facebook page.

Sticking red dots onto the heart outline
Fine Motor: Peeling and Sticking Stickers on Heart Outline
A very simple yet very much enjoyed activity for Zahavah was this heart outline with red dot stickers usually meant for labeling and organizing. Peeling stickers off the paper and lining them up on a line without gaps is not as easy as it seems for toddlers but anything to do with stickers is so enjoyable that they'll give it a try for sure! :) 

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