Inside: Looking for some fun Valentines theme ideas? Check out what we did in our toddler and preschool classroom. Plus, I’ve included a free feelings packet printable that we used at our exploration table!
Once we end our series of winter themes, we move into the Valentines theme.
While we do talk about our feelings throughout the school year, this is a good time to add related activities.
We have a table that is designated for checking our emotions, with some printable matching activities.
We also create Valentine’s cards for our families and make Valentine’s notes for each other at the writing table.
👉 Make sure to scroll down and find the free printable activities you can download today!
Activities for the Toddler and Preschool Valentines Theme
Take a tour and see how my classroom was set up here:
Science and Exploration Table
I printed out the pages from my feelings packet and created a matching game.
There is also a page that shows all of the emotions and we will continue to display this after our Valentines theme is over, most likely in a quiet area of the classroom. If a child is having a hard time regulating emotions, this is a good visual. It can also be used as a color sheet while you ask the child how he’s feeling.
I placed a mirror at this table as well, encouraging the children to look at their faces. Do they look happy? Sad?
(Make sure to scroll down to find this free printable packet.)
Dramatic Play Center
Our toddlers and preschoolers loved our dramatic play bakery so much, we decided to extend it. (This is something we are working on doing more of.)
We had empty boxes of bakery foods, our wooden mixer, pot holders, and our silver set.
This week we added some Valentines touches with red vinyl placemats, pink plates with heart decorations, each with a slice of pretend cake on top, and a pretty tin as the centerpiece.
On our dress-up cart we had a variety of aprons, bakers’ hats, white coats (to mimic a baker’s uniform), and some Valentines headpieces.
Note: We quickly realized that our younger children could not handle as many pieces in this area as our older children. So, on the days our 2 year olds use this space, we pull some of the items and place them in a big box that sits on the counter. This way it’s easy to pull everything back out for our older children to enjoy.
While putting toys away in our storage closet, I eyed a roll of thick red foil paper.
Immediately I just knew I could put it to use during our Valentines theme.
That got me to thinking about creating a construction area with all red materials.
I taped the foil to our train table, propped one of our color books (opened to the red page) on top with an acrylic page holder, and then added the pieces.
Naturally, we had to keep the red theme going at the playdough table! In this photo you see blue playdough, but I switched it to red by the time the children arrived.
Many years ago I taught with someone who was probably one of the most resourceful teachers I’ve yet met.
She could take anything and turn it into something.
Take the heart placemat in the photo below.
She cut heavy paper into circles and then added hearts, laminating them for extra durability. These are at least 10 years old and I smile every time I pull them out of our Valentines theme box.
I found some heart cupcake picks and cookie cutters, and added staples such as rolling pins.
Our 3 year olds have been into counting lately, so I created a Valentines-themed light table with hearts numbered 1-10.
I then found some foam hearts that can be counted and placed into the containers.
How will our 2 year olds use this?
Some might do a bit of counting, but I suspect most will simply pour the foam hearts into the container, over and over again.
They are still getting number recognition by noticing the numbers in each container, and pouring is an important fine motor skill.
P.S. – I am often asked where we purchased our light table. You can find it here.
One of my readers recently commented that she’s noticed a theme with many of my activities: I love using wood.
Yes, I do! And over the years I’ve grown to love it more and more.
And it seems that lately I find a holiday art activity that is wood, such as our keepsake ornaments.
And guess what? I found wood hearts for a keepsake Valentines art activity! It actually took me awhile to find ones that have loops so they can be hung. I really wanted something we could hang in the classroom (because you all know how bulletin boards just aren’t my thing).
My plan is to have the children paint these, and then add some heart pieces to one side. On the other side will be their pictures.
Hearts again! Are you surprised? Ha!
I want this to be a color mixing activity, so I will supply red and white paint for the children to mix together while painting the heart. A 3rd color, pink, will be a fun surprise!
During free choice centers time, we use our big art/snack table for tray activities.
Each of these activities helps build specific skills, such as fine motor, colors, counting, and literacy.
Not all of them are theme-related.
But one of these activities IS theme-related, and that’s transferring pom poms.
Last year I saved some cherry tomato containers because I just knew they’d make a great container to place pieces into.
ONE of them is pink.
Perfect for a Valentines theme, right?
Books to read with this theme:
Free Valentines Printables
Click on the photo for the link to the pdf download:
More Valentine’s activities:
Toddler and Preschool Winter Lesson Plans
We’ve done the work for you! We now have interactive thematic lesson plans for toddlers (16-35 months) AND preschoolers (3-5 years)!
Get ready for fun and learning with unit lesson plans for winter.
Explore a variety of themed hands-on activities!
Easy to follow lesson plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners.
For more information, click on the graphics below:
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