While Valentine’s Day is still a month away, I wanted to share these book recommendations and valentine activities with you now. Valentine’s Day offers some warmth and cheer at a time when winter can feel like it is dragging on. It is also a time to encourage kids to celebrate friends and loved ones. I do not mind extending the celebration a bit.
My Funny Valentine by Harriet Ziefert and Emily Bolam. This lift-the-flap book follows a valentine as it travels from sender to recipient. My kids think the talking valentine is, as the title claims, funny. My Funny Valentine is a nice introduction to sending letters. Another good Valentine’s Day book for two-year-olds is What is Valentine’s Day? by Harriet Ziefert and Claire Schumacher. Ages 1+
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. “One day it started raining hearts, and Cornelia Augusta caught one,” this story begins. Cornelia uses the hearts to make thoughtful valentines for each of her animal friends. The Day it Rained Hearts was originally titled Four Valentines in a Rainstorm. Ages 3+
Secret Valentine by Catherine Stock. In Secret Valentine, a young girl makes homemade valentines for her family and for her lonely neighbor. On Valentine’s Day, the girl receives valentines, including one secret valentine, in return. Valentine’s Day, says the young girl’s mother, is a day to tell people that you love them. Ages 3+
Valentine’s Day by Anne and Lizzy Rockwell. The students in Mrs. Madoff’s class make valentines for a special friend Michiko. Each student makes a thoughtful card for Michiko based on some memory they have of playing with her. For example, Nicholas’s valentine says, “I want you to be my valentine because you always let me take a turn on the slide, and you never push or shove.” In return, Michiko sends the kids each an origami valentine from Japan. Ages 3+
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and Paul Yalowitz. A story about a man named Mr. Hatch who kept to himself, until, one Valentine’s Day, when he received a present and a note that said, “Somebody loves you.” Ages 4+
Books to share with your children:
Here are four books to remind your children that you love them. All would make great gifts, either purchased or borrowed from the library.
The I LOVE YOU Book by Todd Parr. With bold, playful illustrations, The I LOVE YOU Book assures kids that they are loved just the way they are: “I love you when you are… silly… sad… brave… scared… when you give me kisses and when you need kisses…” Ages 1+
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse and Barbara Lavellee. A beautifully illustrated conversation between an Inuit mother and daughter. The daughter asks “Mama, do you love me?” and then tests the limits of her mother’s love (e.g. What if I broke our eggs?, threw water at our lamp?, ran away?, turned into a polar bear?). The mother reassures the daughter that she will always love her. Ages 2+
Whereever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman. A sentimental message for children but also a very important one. Whereever You Are conveys to children that as they grow and venture out into the world, their parents will always love them. Ages 3+
On the Day You Were Born: A Photo Journal by Debra Frasier. A photo journal inspired by Debra Frasier’s book, On the Day You Were Born. With this photo journal, you add photos and information to create a beautiful story of your child’s birth. This photo journal is a wonderful way to show your child that he is special. Ages 1+
Five Valentine’s activities:
I was a bit astounded by the number of truly wonderful Valentine’s art projects and activities I discovered around the web. Here are five of my favorites. For more Valentine’s activities, check out: Pinterest: Valentine’s Day
1) A Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt (5 Orange Potatoes). A great idea for getting the kids outside during the winter: take a walk in search of heart shapes. I suspect this activity may work better in warmer climates, but we are going to give it a shot and see what hearts we discover up here in the northwoods.
2) Potato Print Valentines (Twig and Toadstool). Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to try potato printing. Shanti of Twig and Toadstool provides fantastic instructions for cutting a heart-shaped potato stamp and creating beautiful paint and glitter prints.
3) Photo Valentines (A Day that is Dessert). These valentines are sweet and authentic. Lecia of A Day that is Dessert took photos of her kids with their friends and had her kids take time to reflect on why they appreciate each friend.
4) Molded Birdseed Hearts (The Magic Onions). It is fun to remember the birds on Valentine’s Day. Last year, we made cranberry jelly served in hollowed out oranges. This year, I would like to try making these molded birdseed hearts.
5) Handmade Heart Doilies (Martha Stewart). These handmade heart doilies are lovely and look like a fun way for the kids to help decorate our table for Valentine’s Day. Inspired both by these heart doilies and these Coffee Filter Snowflakes (from Jean of The Artful Parent), we will be creating some cut paper Valentine’s art. The plan is to cut various heart shapes out of coffee filters and then die the coffee filters red, orange and pink with liquid water colors. I am kind of excited about this. I will post pictures.
More delightful books to read around Valentine’s Day: