Delicious Valentines Please

Happy Valentine's Day friends! I've got some quick and delicious ideas for you to share the love with your little ones. Who doesn't LOVE food, right?

One of my best friends asked me to make some Valentine tags for her little guy who started preschool this year. We had a funny conversation about how much pressure parents feel to be sure that their children's Valentine treats are organic, free of artificial dyes, gluten free, dairy free, fun free, blah, blah, blah. Although she's devastated she won't be harvesting her fruit locally and canning it herself, she did decide to go with fruit pouches. If it's on Target's Cartwheel App, it has to be good!

I whipped up some tags for the preschool kids so it's a pretty low prep Valentine idea. You can grab the tags for FREE here. If you're a really rebellious parent, you could even attach them to fruit snacks or apple juice or something else with sugar in it.
Our local newspaper recently contacted me to see what we do to celebrate Valentine's Day with our children. With 3 little ones under 5, we don't get out much. I told the reporter that we usually make heart shaped pizza and a special red dessert at home. The teacher in me creates Valentine's Day activities and crafts and we read oodles of books about hugs and kisses and love. I love these activities because I can still rock my top knot and yoga pants (see pictures from last year for proof).
 A few days later, a photographer from the newspaper came to take pictures of our family enjoying Valentine's Day (in the middle of January). I had a little sorting activity for the kids. The goal was for them to use tongs or spoons to sort conversation hearts and then we could count and tally them. Lanie loved using her little spoon to sort each heart! Rusty must have thought the story was about how many conversation hearts a 4 year old could eat in 10 minutes so he really LOVED this activity! The next day I found him eating what I thought was cereal out of a bowl with a spoon. It was a bowl full of conversation hearts! #oops #hidethecandybetter



You can download the sorting and counting mats for FREE here.



I have one more food inspired Valentine's Day idea for you. At my school, teachers make Valentine boxes or bags with their class. I tried little boxes and bags in the past, but by always ended up being a bit of a mess. They either overflowed or ripped, or kids couldn't fit their valentines into the little openings.

A few years ago, I asked a local pizza restaurant to donate pizza boxes. They generously donated dozens of them. I drew a pizza sign that said "Special Delivery All of my Love." The kids colored the signs and glued them on the lid of each box. They wrote their names on the outside and inside of the lids. When it was time to pass out valentines they just opened their boxes. It was so easy to pass out the valentines, close the lid, and send home those "special deliveries!"



You can get the signs HERE! They work on any pizza box that has a lid larger than 8.5x11 inches. You can glue in on a piece of construction paper or scrapbook paper if you have big boxes to cover.

I hope you have a delicious Valentine's Day!



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President's Day Please

For only having 28 days, February is packed with holidays and teacher to do's! The kids have been stuck inside for weeks, and the ants in their pants are rapidly multiplying! Plus you're already covered in glitter and glue from Valentine's Day projects you just finished. I wanted to make some activities for President's Day that would keep kiddos engaged, get them moving, and prevent you from being exhausted!

First, let me share with you about one of my favorite ways to introduce a new unit. Remember when you went to college and learned about kiddos making connections and utilizing prior knowledge? Now, the fancy word for that is schema so feel free to impress your principal using this "schema activity" for an observation!

I researched a lot of facts about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and typed them up. (You could write facts on post-it notes or index cards too.) Some of them are serious, and some of them seem silly- kids LOVE the silly ones! Before we read or watch anything, the kids sort them based on if they think the fact is true or false. The big teacher secret is that they are ALL true! As we read and learn together, we start moving all of the ones they thought were false over to true. It really keeps them revisiting what they think without doing a KWL for the unit.


To help with those ants in the pants, I created some Washington Wiggle and Abraham Activity cards. There are facts about the Presidents and matching movements or exercises to match. It's a great way to engage your active learners and get a much needed wiggle break! Here are some favorites you might want to try:

ARMY MARCH
George Washington was a general in the Army. March in place for one minute.

MONUMENT STRETCH
The Washington Monument is in Washington DC. Clasp you hands and reach high above your head so you look like the Washington Monument. Hold your pose for 20 seconds.

PENNY PICKER
Some people think it is lucky to find a penny that has Abraham Lincoln on top or heads up. Squat down and pretend to pick up a penny 10 times.

AIR ADDRESS
Abraham Lincoln wrote a famous speech called the Gettysburg Address. Use your finger to write your address in the air.


Building Macaroni Monuments and Macaroni Memorials is a fun, hands-on way to honor the presidents. You just need play-doh and some dried pasta. I would recommend spaghetti and rigatoni or rotini, but feel free to grab whatever you have in the pantry! Once the kids build their creations, they can draw their projects! These printables are FREE!





Another really easy hands-on activity is to let the kids make quills for their writing jobs! You just need markers, feathers, and washi tape. Pencils and pens work just fine too. Let the kids use the washi tape to attach the feather to the marker. After the unit, you can remove the feathers and there isn't anything sticky left on your markers. Kiddos  love using "quills" at their writing center too!



It can be hard for little ones to make connections to history so I really like using response pages that ask kiddos to use their own words to tell what a president might think or say. This can tell you a lot about what really stuck with them! Letting them show what they know in a fun way makes history more exciting!


One of the best things about kid art and writing is that is makes an awesome display without a lot of work. Just add a cute header and you're set. You can get this All About the Presidents banner and matching ones for Abraham Lincoln and George Washington for FREE. Just click on the picture below.
All of these activities and printables are included in my Presidents Pack! You can also get the individual units about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.







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