In February, All You Need Is Love!
This column, produced in partnership with the Mommy & Me organization, provides parents and young children with fun and simple ways to make the most o f their time together. Use the activities, tips and resources featured here to help you connect with your young ones.

Valentine's Day is wildly popular with children because the theme of love is one they can easily grasp. They also adore the bold, bright colors and heart shapes that appear everywhere - not to mention the abundance of candy that this holiday brings! Best of all, Valentine's Day can be celebrated by everyone, no matter what their culture or religion.

In keeping with the spirit of love and kindness, this month's activities are designed to help foster compassion in young children. Begin by explaining the meaning of Valentine's Day and how love is a wonderful sentiment to share. Your child probably has quite a few people he or she is sweet on, from Grandma to a favorite teacher or best friend. When Feb. 14 rolls around, encourage your child to create a homemade gift for the most treasured people in his or her life. Your little one will see that expressing love to others soon brings displays of love in return!

Hands-On Heart

Your child will learn:
  • Fine motor skills
  • Valentine's Day traditions
  • Colors and shapes
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Mommy materials:

  • 2 sheets of construction paper (pink and red)
  • White paper doily
  • Pencil
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons

    How To:
    1. Glue a paper doily to a sheet of red construction paper.

    2. Fold the pink construction paper in half and cut out a heart that is slightly smaller than the doily. If your child can't manage scissors yet, you can cut the heart.

    3. Trace your child's hand onto the pink heart (or paint your child's hand red and make a handprint on the pink heart).

    4. Glue the heart onto the doily.

    5. Write a message from your child on the hand.

    More Mommy & Me Fun
    Valentine Collage - Create a collage with valentine-themed items (hearts made out of felt, paper or foil; lace; buttons; ribbons; trims; etc.) glued onto a large, heart-shaped doily that is glued to a piece of red paper.

    Tissue Paper Love Leaves - Cut hearts from white and pink construction paper in varying sizes. Tear off small pieces of red tissue paper, crumple them up, and glue them onto the hearts. Make a small hole in the top of each heart and loop a string through. Hang the "leaves" from an outdoor tree to brighten up a winter's day.

    Strawberry Heart Muffins - For a perfect Valentine's Day breakfast, cut an English muffin in half (toast it if you like). Spread some cream cheese on the muffin halves. Cut three or four strawberries (fresh or frozen) in half. Point out to your child that strawberry halves are heart-shaped. Put strawberry halves on muffins and serve.


    Here are a few "lovely" stories that are right on the mark for furthering the Valentine's Day spirit in your child:

    A Book of Hugs, by Dave Ross
    Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney
    I Love You with All My Heart, by Noris Kern
    Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch

    More heartfelt crafts: A Valentine bookmark even your littlest ones can make.

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