Valentines, Friends, and Communication

Ahh, February!  The kiddos have just gotten over the withdrawal symptoms caused by the sudden drop in blood sugar levels after Christmas, so of course it’s the perfect time for another confectionary holiday! 

Now, I’m a middle of the roader when it comes to holidays and preschool.  I don’t quite agree with the notion that they should be completely abolished from school.  They are what kids are interested in, and I believe curriculum should emerge from the child’s interests.  Though, I also don’t agree with the idea that a holiday is an appropriate curriculum theme in and of itself for an extended period of time.  So I like to take the holiday and find connections to other social or science based themes.  As I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of friendship and writing and sending notes and letters.  I think of the social skills involved in creating and  maintaining human relationships.  These are skills children need to develop.  (While we’re at it, there are plenty of adults who could use a course on those skills as well!)

So, at this time of year, I like to utilize the theme “Friends and Communication”.  It allows for a focus on friendship – how we talk to our friends, what we like to do with our friends, and how we resolve conflicts with friends.  It also ties in with the concept of communication, particularly written communication (here’s where the Valentines really tie in) – the mail system, writing letters, recognizing written names, and sharing our thoughts in written words.

Here are just a few of the concepts and objectives within the theme:

Concepts / Objectives Subject Areas/Skills
  • Rhyming & Beginning Sounds
Phonemic Awareness /Pre-Reading Skills
  • Polite Language & Being a Good Friend
Social Skills
  • Graphing
Math – Sorting & Counting
  • Using the Mail
Social Concepts, Communication, & Writing
  • Creating and Completing Patterns
Math

I’ve been a bit of a slacker lately, but I’ll try to get as many of the Valentine’s activities posted before the actual holiday for anyone who might be looking for a last minute idea!  Here are the activities I plan to post:

Art:

Homemade Paint Stampers

Fold Art Hearts

Heart Stencils

Chalk & Water

Sensory:

Sparkly Scented Playdough (If you can handle this much excitement, combine this recipe with this one!)

Hearts and Cornmeal

Magnet Search

Shape Scoop (Add Hearts!)

Post Office Dramatic Play:

Make Your Own Post Office

What Envelopes Will Do to Your Writing Center! (Just do it and find out for yourself!)

Group Games, Songs, Etc.:

Heart Count and Pattern

Mail Match

Play “Who Has the Heart” (Adapt this game by using a felt heart instead of a pumpkin)

Five Little Valentines (This song and others located here.)

Do You Know This Friend of Mine?

Magic Words” Song and Sign Language

Snacks:

Heart Biscuits

Valentine Smoothies (Try this recipe, but add strawberries for a Valentine’s pink.  Garnish with strawberries sliced top-down to create a heart!)

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

Big Soft Pretzels (This is the BEST recipe!)

Books:

Valentine Mice by Bethany Roberts (Combine with any rhyming game)

Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone by Frieda Wishinsky (One of my all-time favorite books!  Follow up by making these Love Mobiles – simplified if necessary – for someone special!)

The Best Thing About Valentines by Eleanor Hudson (Make your own fancy Valentines!)

Rhyme Time Valentine by Nancy Poydar (Follow up with some Candy Heart Math!)

Mailbox Magic by Nancy Poydar (use with this activity)

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell

Raymond and Nelda by Barbara Bottner

Please Write Back! by Jennifer E. Morris

We’ll see how quickly I can get caught up!  Stay tuned!

Top hearts photo by wemedge.

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2 Comments

Filed under Unit Themes

2 responses to “Valentines, Friends, and Communication

  1. We are also taking Valentine’s Day as an oportunity to focus on friendship and caring. Although we have done our fair share of heart based craft activities this past week!

    My daughter loves receiving mail and she is very interested in stamps, so your maths mail matching idea is something I am very excited about creating for her. I will link back to you and your blog when we do this activity. Thank you for sharing it.

    • notjustcute

      That’s great! If she loves stamps, you might even have her help you put the stamps on the envelopes for another fun counting experience!

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