Friday, February 6, 2015

I Love Love!

Growing up, my family didn't do much to celebrate Valentine's Day.  My mom would pick up cupcakes or cookies with hearts on them and we would make cards for school, but that was it.  It was nothing against love or anything like that, it just wasn't one of those holidays we paid much attention to.  When I began working with children, I realized that there were so many great learning opportunities that could come out of the holiday and started to do more with it.  Now that I have my own daughter who loves pink, red, hearts and all the other things that you think about when it comes to Valentine's Day, I've gotten way more into it.  And since Pinterest makes it so easy to come up with ideas, I have found that I enjoy it so much more!  Here are a few of my favorite projects that I plan on doing with the kids I work with over the next weeks.  I have tried to find projects that can be completed over the course of one or two sessions so the kids don't get too frustrated or bored by it.

I Love You to Pieces Picture Frame-Whether you have old puzzles that you no longer use (maybe because you have lost a few pieces or kids just aren't into it any more), or have those blank do-it-yourself puzzles, this activity is quick and totally personal. You will need:
*Popsicle Sticks
*Crayons, Paint, Markers, Etc.

1.  Color 4 popsicle sticks and a handful of puzzle pieces in whatever medium and color your child chooses.

2.  Glue the popsicle sticks together and place the puzzle pieces along the sticks.

3.  Once dry, have a grownup write "I Love You to Pieces" along the frame.  Turn around and glue a picture to the backside of the frame.

Fingerprint/Eraser Heart Picture-you can make this on whatever background you want.  I am going to get some heavy stock paper and cut them into an oversized postcard so the kids can decorate the front with a heart and then turn around and work on their writing skills by writing messages to the recipient  on the back of the card.  I have seen this done on a canvas and a blank tote bag/apron (just remember you will want to use something more permanent on these things).  There are a couple of ways to do this.  The first way is that you can cut a large heart, tape it onto the surface you are working with and either use the eraser or your fingers to make different colored dots all around the heart.  Remove the heart when you are all finished and you will have a plain heart in the middle that you can write a message in.  The other way to do this is to cut a large heart out and tape the outline of the heart onto your working surface (so it looks like a stencil).  Use the eraser or your fingertips and fill in the blank space.  Be sure to have the children put dots all around the edge of the stencil so there is a definite heart shape when you pull the stencil off.  You will need:
*heavy stock paper/canvas/blank tote bags
*pink and red washable inkpads
*pencils with brand new/unused erasers
*wipes for cleaning hands between color changes
*canvas, tote bag, etc.

1.  Depending on the skill level of the child you are working with, you can have them cut out a heart or you can it out and have it ready for them.  This will be placed in the middle of the surface you are working on and the kids will work all around it.

2.  I have kids use one thumb for one color ink and the other thumb for another and first tell them to place their prints all around the edge of the heart.  Once they are done with that, they can fill the blank space all around the heart.

Toilet Paper Tube Heart Stamp-a very easy and inexpensive craft project to do with even your youngest of kids.  Take a paper tube and push the middle down until it makes a heart; take a piece of tape and wrap it around to hold the shape. You can use paint or a stamp pad and have the kids dip the end of the stamp into it and have them place it on a piece of paper after.  Depending on the age of the child you are working with, you can grade the activity.  For the little ones, let them go crazy and put them all over the paper.  For older children, you can place targets on the paper that they have to place the hearts on.  Once the hearts are dried, you can have them color the hearts in.  For even older kids, you can practice working on handwriting by having them write messages to their loved ones.  You will need:
1.  Toilet paper/paper towel tubes
2.  Red and pink paints or stamp pads
3.  White construction paper
4.  Crayons, markers, colored pencils

Hole Punch Hearts-another very easy, fun and quick activity that your kids will love to do and that
can be adapted for each child's individual skill set.  For younger children who haven't yet mastered cutting, give them pre-cut hearts and let them punch holes all over the heart.  For older children, have them cut out the hearts independently and then let them use the hole punch after.  You can set some guidelines to work on improving attention and organizational skills like punch holes only around the border of the heart.  This is also nice because it leaves space in the middle of the heart for children to write personal messages to their loves ones.  You will need:
1.  Pink, red, white paper
2.  Hole puncher (you can use a circle one or if you are really fancy, find a heart shaped hole puncher)
3.  Scissors
4.  Yarn or string

Arts and crafts can be great for working on so many occupational therapy skills/goals including:
*improving grasping skills
*improving eye-hand coordination
*improving bilateral coordination skills
*improving creativity
*improving self-esteem and confidence
*improve executive functioning skills such as focus and attention, sequencing and organization

One of the things I love most about Valentine's Day is that you can talk to kids about empathy and how you can make other people feel happy.  Too often, holidays are about getting things from others but this day should be more about giving to others to show them how much you love them.  I've been working on making Valentines with my almost 5 year old daughter, and I love watching her work so hard to make them just right for her friends and family.  The level of pride she feels just making them is great, but I can't wait for her to see how happy she is making people when they receive them.

Do you have any fabulous, quick and simple activities that you enjoy making with your children that you want to share with me and my readers?  I am looking forward to focusing on love and crafts next week during all of my sessions and would love to have a variety of activities for the kids to choose from.  I'm always a click away and love hearing from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment