Fun Valentine Ideas to Teach Kindness (and Reading!)

These 6 fun activities don’t just teach kindness and reading. They fit the fun Valentine’s theme, but you can do them any time of the year!

Children aren’t born with all the empathy skills we want them to have. We have to give them opportunities throughout their childhood.

Starting when kids are little, they learn watch and mimic others. And when they hit the toddler and preschool years there are so many ways to do small gestures, or fun activities that give them the life long skills we want.

We all love engaging in activities that bring us closer or receiving personalized gifts from people we love. Whether it’s a friend, sibling, parent or spouse, engaging in meaningful activities builds connection.

However, young children are still learning how and that’s why we need to create activities that are meaningful through personalization and conversations.

Here are 6 activities you can do to build connection and teach kindness.

1. Playdoh

Playdoh is an underestimated resource. It’s so helpful for young kids to build finger grasp skills that are needed for writing and can spark some amazing conversation through open-ended play.

Sometimes, a whole pretend meal can be created by playdoh and a little imagination. For example, children may make a pretend dinner and dessert for you to pretend to eat.

Using open-ended materials like these rolling pins or plastic tools to cut and shape playdoh can help.

  • Gross motor which are entire body movements used in things like running, walking, throwing, jumping, skipping or climbing.
  • Fine motor, in contrast, are those smaller muscles in arms, hands and fingers used in activities such as eating, drawing, cutting, grasping, zipping zippers or fastening buttons.
rolling pin

To personalize, try adding in some literacy by drawing out the first letter of the child’s name like this so they can push playdoh into the shape.

large letter D on paper

Or if you want to encourage and imitate baking, you can use something like these hearts and encourage that each heart represents a cookie or ball. You can even write letters on each of the hearts to represent specific people such as M for mommy.

paper with lots of heart shapes

Don’t forget that you can always use sheet protectors to reuse these kinds of activities over and over without the expensive laminating costs.

sheet protectors

For quick and easy Playdoh at home try using a homemade play doh recipe.

2. Baking Cookies

If kids love Playdoh, they’ll love baking cookies! Baking cookies with loved ones always leaves memories for years to come.

cookie cutters that say I a heart and the letter U

This experience not only teaches children how to follow some step by step process, but also has them learning to wait while the cookies bake and share, to give some cookies to others.

And if you have a chance to decorate you can encourage your child to put the first letter of their name on the cookies or help them identify them if you did it.

3. Freeze Dance or Hide and Seek Hearts

Cut out some large hearts and write your child’s name on one and other names on the other hearts such as Mommy, Daddy or a sibling name. Or even a stuffed animal or doll if that’s popular in your house.

hearts with the words mommy, shark, giraffe on them

To play freeze dance you need to first explain that when the music is on, they dance and when the music stops they have to run and find their heart. You can model how to play and then get your child to play with their stuffed animals when you’re busy.

To play hide and seek you can hide the hearts in a room and have your child go find them and then they have to read the names back to you. Or each person (or stuffed animal) has to find their own heart.To mix up these games or for younger kids try just using the first letter of a name, or watch this video for other fun ways to play.

4. Show your Love Teaching Kindness Calendar

Teach kindness and empathy through a daily calendar. These quick and easy activities are the perfect way to connect with your child while practicing and reinforcing the social emotional skills needed to build relationships, play with others, recognize feelings and build empathy.

calendar covered in hearts with the words show your love at the top 28 ways to show you care

You can do these small activities every day, not just at Valentines! Learn more or download the calendar print out here.

In this video, you can learn more about the Show Your Love Calendar:

5. Painting Cards

Do you remember how special it was to receive a personalized card instead of a random print out that was the exact same as everyone else?

That’s why creating personalized cards is so rewarding! Children can choose the shapes and colors they want to represent and give to the ones they care about. Using a paintbrush and talking about the process supports language development and writing skills and it’s a cost saver too!

paints and paint brushes

All that’s needed are some water paints, paper, and brushes! And if your kids are ready you can use a crayon or pencil to add their names or personalized messages.

6. Read these riddle books

Riddles that Rhyme books is a great way for an adult and child to bond and get that engagement in books. Each What Am I? riddle rhymes and provides clues for the child to build attention skills while learning new vocabulary and rhymes!

There are many themes inside and one of them is all about Valentines!

Riddles and Rhymes Seasonal Themes book cover by Anita Vermeer

Check out the sample on this page or follow @AnitaVermeer27 on Instagram for more samples.

Check out this page for more activity ideas and don’t forget to get the Play and Learning Book which has over 50 ideas and activities that you can provide your child to support their PILES of development.

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Daily routine sample
Rhyming Pet Riddles
Play and Learning Activity Book

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