Fall In Love With These Book-Themed Valentine Activities

Finally, after a long January, a new month is upon us.

Although most of us still have a few months of winter weather ahead, February is typically the last month before we start dreaming of springtime activities – and finally getting the kids back outside to play!

If you’re looking for some fun ideas to get the kids through the next couple of weeks, look no further than a cherished Valentine’s Day book and some special activities to go with it.

Valentine’s Day is always fun for the kids.  They enjoy making cards to share with friends in class, and the celebration of friendship and love is one that everyone can participate in.

These classic stories from some of the best children’s authors will have your kids coming up with new ways to celebrate – and there’s nothing better for a parent than finding ways to make reading fun!

The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll is the story of Clayton and Desmond, two little mice who learn compromise and the reward of working together to achieve a common goal.

When they want to surprise their teacher, Mrs. Mousely, with a special Valentine card, they get a little carried away and things don’t go as planned.  They end up in an argument over the Valentine, but in the end, they find that teamwork is the best way to get things done.

This is a great book to read to all of the kids together.  We all know from experience that siblings and friends in playgroup can have a tough time agreeing on things, and this book is a great starting point for discussing compromise and sharing ideas.

The kids can make some adorable crafts to go along with this story too!

Using one large and one small paper or doily heart, the little ones can make their own Valentine mouse.  Simply glue the hearts upside-down on construction paper to make the body and head, and they can add their own creative details – a yarn tail or whiskers, a little heart nose, wiggly eyes…be creative!

Just like Desmond and Clayton, the kids can try to make the biggest Valentine ever with large sheets of butcher paper, crayons, and other Valentines-themed decorations.

And we bet any teacher would love to get a special Valentine from a student just like Mrs. Mousely did.  Depending on your child’s age, they can draw or write their favorite things about class, make a portrait of their teacher, or even write them a poem!

LOVE from the Very Hungry Caterpillar is another one of those colorful, beautifully illustrated books by cherished children’s author Eric Carle.

Most kids are familiar with – and love – the original Very Hungry Caterpillar book, and this sequel is just as special, and not just for Valentine’s Day.

In it, the Very Hungry Caterpillar thinks of ways to tell someone how special they are. “You are the cherry on my cake; you make the sun shine brighter; you make my heart flutter.”

Sit down with the kids and have them think up their own phrases to make someone feel special.  They can be silly like, “You are the syrup on my pancakes,” or serious; “You make me feel safe and special.”

Eric Carle’s illustrations are like no one else’s and have inspired many artists, young and old, throughout the years.

The kids will love tearing up pieces of colorful tissue paper to make designs reminiscent of Carle’s drawings – a simple abstract collage, a heart, or an image out of the book like a cupcake or sun.

Take it one step further by sticking the torn tissue paper in between two sheets of clear, sticky contact paper and then they can cut out a special design to hang in the window as a “suncatcher.”  These make great gifts for grandparents and other family members for Valentine’s Day.

Or grab a package of heart shapes from the craft store in varying sizes and make caterpillars and butterflies – or any other animal or creature your kids can think up.

This is a great way to teach spatial relationships by moving the hearts around in different ways.  A heart can be a head, wing, nose, eyes – really anything – to make fun pictures.

The Day It Rained Hearts is brought to us by the same wonderful illustrator of the series based on If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

It’s not always fun when it’s dark and rainy outside, but in this book, the main character, Cornelia Augusta, sees that it is raining hearts!

She puts on her rain gear and heads outside to catch the hearts, not quite sure yet what she is going to do with them.  She takes the time to appreciate each one and sees that they are all unique and special in their own way.

This is a great book to use in discussion about what makes us all different, and how God designs all of us to be special in our own way.  Sit the kids down and have them share what they think is special about them, and what they think is most special about everyone else in the family.

Cornelia finally decides that she wants to share her hearts with her favorite animal friends.  In the same way suggested for LOVE with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, kids can make their own animals out of heart shapes.

Or an adult or older sibling can help them cut out pictures of animals from magazines, talk about what makes each animal unique and special, and then make Valentine cards with silly sayings.  (A dog can say, “I ruff you, Valentine;” a cat can say, “I love you ‘meow-y’ much,” and so on.  Make a game out of the things the animals might say for Valentine’s Day if they could talk!)

If you have an old paintbrush or toothbrush, kids can dip into paint and splatter it onto paper to make raindrops.  Then simply add an umbrella shape and some cutout hearts to create their own take on what Cornelia might have seen on that day it rained hearts.

And since Valentine’s Day is about showing love and friendship to those we care about, how about making “rainy day” boxes to give to friends, siblings, or classmates?

Just grab a couple of small items from the dollar store, like coloring books and crayons, art supplies, playdough, or a puzzle.  The kids can color a shoebox or decorate a plain gift bag that says, “Stuff to do on a rainy day.  You always make it fun to play!”

Books are always a fantastic way to teach, introduce topics we want to discuss with our kids, or just to spend some quiet time away from the rush of the day.

Get creative with your favorite books.  You can put on plays or puppet shows, have the kids make up alternate endings, recreate the illustrations with their own artwork, or take turns reading aloud to each other.

What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Day books for children?  Do you have any favorite activities that you’ve come up with that go along with the story?  Leave us your ideas.

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