Arts and crafts and more: This month, we’ve got kindness-inspired activities to keep your tykes busy during the month of love! Leah here, Seattle’s Child calendar editor, former teacher and mom to three young boys. From fizzing heart science to arts and crafts like mosaic heart sun-catchers to plain-old random acts of kindness, this edition of The Playlist is designed to bring a sense of joy, empathy, and self-acceptance to your world, brought to you by this list of simple yet engaging, easy-to-implement activities. Love you!
Reading and Media
Start off your love-filled month with some quality reading! Our favorite local bookstores have offered their top recommendations for children’s books that are all about love, kindness, family, and self-acceptance. There are some rare gems on this list of A Dozen Children’s Books About Love & Kindness and we know you and your kids will love them, so check it out!
In honor of Black History Month, the Australian kids’ podcast “Short & Curly” really nails it with the episode on discrimination. This podcast examines questions from kids, ranging from topics like teddy bears and school uniforms to getting your ears pierced. This episode in particular, “What is discrimination and is it always bad?” carefully discusses the concept of racial, gender, religious and other discrimination from the perspective of children. Listen with your kids and open the door to conversations about how to end hate and spread love.
Because loving ourselves means taking care of our bodies, and in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, I give you the Chompers podcast! Have you heard of this?! If not, you and your kids need to listen, like, right now! It brings fun to teeth brushing, with jokes, stories, riddles, and more for 3-ish minutes of listening fun (and guided directions for teeth brushing) every morning and night.
Sensory and STEM
The month of LOVE is a great excuse to explore all of the heart-theme science we can get our minds around. Here are some fun projects for preschool STEM learning.
Dancing Conversation Hearts. This science project, teaching about the reactions of Co2, can be taught to students from preschool to middle school, and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser for all. You just need candy hearts, soda water and Mason jars. Watch those classic candies dance, and try not to eat them all! (Image source: STEAMsational)
Fizzing Heart Art. Baking soda and vinegar are a staple in our house, as they are kitchen essentials, so this project should be an easy go-to that the kids will love. Watercolor paper is best if you have it, add food coloring, and let the scientific creations begin!
Kind Words Sensory Activity. Simple supplies like cotton balls and sandpaper help preschoolers connect their sense of touch to words that feel good — or feel not-so-good. Which words are “cotton ball words” and which are “sandpaper words,” and which work better for being kind to others and finding solutions?
For many other kindness-inspired activities like Bucket Filler Activities, The Kindness Challenge, lessons on teaching compassion, and meaningful ways to talk to kids about bullying and kindness, head to the Seattle’s Child Kindness Activities for Kids Pinterest Page.
Fun with Food
I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite themes when it comes to creating. Arts and crafts, decor … I love it all. And Valentine’s Day treats are no exception! Here are my top picks for kid-pleasing valentine snacks, and don’t forget to check our new Kid-Friendly Food Pinterest page, filled with fun options that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Cupid Chow. Yum, yum! Peanut butter, milk chocolate, powdered sugar and M&Ms make for a tasty treat for the whole family. The best part? Getting those little helpers into the kitchen along with you. Because what is more kind than helping others? (Image source: Crafty Morning)
Conversation Cuties. I’m loving this easy idea! Take a food-safe marker, refer to your phone or make up your own heart eyes and kissy face emojis, and draw right on the peel! Or, make a healthy version of the candy conversation hearts by writing messages like “Be Mine” and “Love You” on the peel. Conversation starters, for sure!
4 Amazing Valentine Snacks for Kids. And they’re gluten-free! For most of these, you just need a mini heart cookie cutter. Make heart-shape quesadillas, pizzas, cucumber slices, sandwiches and more! These snacks are sure to impress, and fill your kids with all kinds of warm fuzzies.
Arts and Crafts with Heart
Have I mentioned that I LOVE heart-theme arts and crafts? Well, I do. As a longtime art teacher, February was always my favorite time of year (despite the squirrely children) because it was a great excuse to break out the warm-colored paints, heart stencils and glitter. I’m a sucker for a good mixed-media heart piece. Check out this ART that is just filled with HEART!
Heart Symmetry Painting. Learn about symmetry in a simple way, by dropping blobs of paint onto a piece of paper, folding and unfolding, and admiring the results. Also practice fine motor skills, including cutting, folding, and using a paintbrush. The arts and crafts learning opportunities are endless! (Image source: The Artful Parent)
Newspaper Heart Postcards. This is a great way to both upcycle and try painting on a new surface (and maybe catch up on the news while your kid is creating. Who knows?) Start with free-form, abstract painting on newspaper and let it dry before cutting into heart shapes. Mount on painted cardstock, and you’ve got a beautiful work of art!
Mosaic Heart Sun-Catcher. We did a similar project in our house and made large Christmas lights, but used waxed paper and glue sticks instead of contact paper. Help your littles cut out colored tissue paper and collage them onto a pre-cut heart shape. When you’re done, you’ll have beautiful window art.
Valentine’s Heart Bouquet. This mixed-media project is quite tactile and great for toddlers, and can be done with whatever you’ve got lying around in the arts and crafts bin. Heart-shape cardstock cutouts make the flower. Use a green pipe cleaner for the stem. Decorate with marker, buttons, glitter and glue, and have your little one decide who to give flowers to!
For more ideas on themed learning from gardening to construction to ocean life and much more, check out my blog at creativehomeeducation.com.