Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Valentines Day

Are your students getting excited about Valentines Day?  It's such a fun holiday to celebrate - there's good things to eat, crafts to make, and kind words spoken or written.  A lot of the children seem to show up in red, pink and purple clothes, often with hearts on them.  Valentines day can be a lot of fun, and even although I don't have a class of kids to prepare for it this year, I thought I'd share some of the things we've enjoyed doing in the past.
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
One of the things my kiddos have always loved to do is cooking.  There are a lot of fine motor skills and life skills involved, not to mention measuring and counting.  For our Valentines day party I like to have the children bake cupcakes - and they are all too willing to oblige!
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

After our snack, our party begins in earnest.  A lot of parents come and join us, so I like to take the opportunity to show the parents what the children have been learning.  Valentines is a great week to talk about the letter V in preschool, and you can see one of our letter crafts behind this happy kiddo.
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Another way we show off what we've been learning during our party is with a modified game of pass the parcel.  I grew up in Australia, and pass the parcel was a popular party game.  It's a bit like musical chairs, but with a gift.  While music plays, the gift is passed around a circle of children.  When the music stops, whoever is holding the parcel takes off one layer of wrapping.  There are always a lot of layers!
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
 Between each layer, I put a note on a heart shaped paper, with directions for something for us to all do.  Some are simple and fun, like go hug a grown up (I don't say parent, in case someone doesn't have a parent attending, but of course it's their own grown ups they go to first!)  We also have directions like "say something nice to the person next to you" or "smile at someone you like."  My oldest students are usually able to read these simple directions, but if they can't, there's also former students who come back to visit, brothers and sisters who want to join in and help.
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Other directions include reciting learning songs, jumping up and down while we count to 20 - just quick little things that are part of our daily routine precisely because they help the children learn and remember.
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Of course we have the obligatory Valentines containers.  I use paper sacks that the children decorate at school earlier in the week.  That also is a lesson.  I show them a bag I made years ago.  One side has layer upon layer of ribbon and stickers, hearts and sparkles - way, way too much.  We talk about the word "gaudy", and how you can't see the things that are on there because there is too much.  The other side is what I call "tasteful" - enough decorations, not bare, but not ridiculous either.  Check out their bags, I think all the kiddos hit the target!


Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten


Many of the children write their friends' names on treats or Valentines that they bring.  Sometimes parents help them, but not always.  Either way, they take turns reading the names of their friends, and delivering their Valentines.  Reading names is a great way to begin reading, what could have more meaning than your own name, and the name of your friends?  They see each other's names in our classroom so often that even the 3 year olds can usually figure out each name - even if only by the first letter.  Oh yes!  We practice looking each other in the eye and thanking our friends for each card or treat, no matter how small. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the giving and receiving, but gratitude is not only a social nicety, but I think a big part of feeling happy.

Our Valentines learning gets another boost about a week later.  Those of you who work in early childhood will smile and understand totally!  My husband usually gets me roses for Valentines (I'm a lucky wife!), and I enjoy them as long as they last.  There comes a day though when they are no longer attractive on my kitchen counter, and it's time to move them on.  Not to the compost or the trash can, oh no!  We can sort and graph with them!

Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

But we still aren't done.  The children love to pull the petals off, pretend with them, give each other flowers... those roses still have at least 2 days of learning left in them!
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
 Eventually we take them outside and inevitably they are thrown up in the air, danced in, gathered and dumped, loved upon until they are no longer even pretty scraps.  Some end up in sandcastles and "soup", others dry up  on the playground and settle into the mulch. 
Valentines Day Fun with Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

I've used this activity with my own kiddos for several years, and they love it.  I hope yours do too!  It's an easy emergent reader that has children reading "This heart is ___ (color)" - a simple text to help them work on color words.
This Heart Poem and Emergent Reader

If you're planning your Valentines Day learning, I hope you'll also check out my Valentines Day resources.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!

4 comments:

  1. Love "pass the parcel". What a great game!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Melissa, it really is a lot of fun - and adding messages for the children to read and do between layers really lets me add some skills practice in too.

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