toddler activities | valentine’s day

happy valentine’s day week, friends!! this one always sneaks up on me but it is by far one of my favorite holidays!! any excuse to throw every shade of red, pink and purple around and love on people as much as humanly possible without being weird… yes!! i LOVED valentine’s day activities when i was teaching and now that i have my own littles, it’s even more fun!!

art is one of those things that should be a process.  of course there are times that i have a ‘craft’ in mind and so i want some sort of order…but for the most part, art should be exploratory in toddlerhood. it’s OKAY that not each piece look the same…there is a time and a place for kiddos practicing following directions or a sequence…but this is not one of them.  toddlers explore and learn through play and art is one of the most fun times to do just that!!

if you have any questions about any of the activities below, don’t hesitate to ask. all of these activities can be made more simple for younger toddlers and babies or on the flip side, made more complex for older toddlers and preschoolers!!
** standards are based on the ohio’s early learning + development standards 

a few notes:
– lila mouths most everything {you will see…}, so i am aware of what i have readily available.  you know your child best and you need to be mindful of the safety of your child. i only use non-toxic materials and things that she can’t choke on , so it’s not the end of the world when she has a mouthful of paint.
– some of these will be messy! sometimes a little mess is fun 🙂
– be PREPARED!! the worst experience is getting through an awesome art activity and realizing you had no plan for clean up… have towels, wipes, or whatever you need before you start.
– HAVE FUN!!! this is by far the most important part!!

..let’s get to it..

**update: i have received so many questions about specific products i used… here are some links to specific products i used:**
– liquid watercolors {this is DIFFERENT THAN FOOD COLORING, but seriously lasts foooorever, totally a staple in your art supplies!}
– canvases {if you’re only planning to do one project, go to hobby lobby and use the 40% off coupon!…we go through them all the time, so i buy in bulk!}
crayola fingerpaint – we use this stuff for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!
washable poster paint  {ours came from the easel kit we got for christmas…if you don’t have any supplies for art, this would be a good starter kit!}
triangular crayons
karo syrup – you can find this at kroger, walmart…whatever grocery store in the baking aisle!

here’s a round-up of my most favorite valentine’s day activities for babies, toddlers + preschoolers!

valentine’s sorting sensory bin

materials: anything you want! i used: shredded paper {dollar store at christmas}, red christmas ornaments, foam hearts and two buckets from the dollar store.
standard: algebra – sort objects into two or more groups by their properties and uses.
focus words: ball, heart, red, pink, white, bucket
notes: the first day should just be exploring for toddlers and discussing ‘rules’ {paper stays in the bin, balls are for buckets (not throwing), materials stay in the bin}. 

L-O-V-E canvas painting

materials: canvas, tape {painters tape or duct tape}, paint
objective: reading – with modeling and support, recognize and name some upper and lower case letters in addition to those in first name {L-O-V-E}
focus words: red, blue, purple, L, O, V, E, paint
notes: if paint slips under the tape, just wet a paper towel to clean up! {enter…paint in lila’s mouth!}

footprint with doily butterfly

materials: construction paper, two doilies per butterfly
objective: show awareness of themselves as belonging to one or more groups {identify body parts}
focus words: butterfly, foot, toes, colors

you make my heart flutter {footprint tracing w/ scribbled butterfly}

materials: paper {two different colors}, crayons (or markers), scissors
objective: creativity – use self-selected materials and media to express ideas and feelings.
focus words: butterfly, color, paper, crayon, colors
notes: the girls chose which media to ‘color’ with! googly eyes are really cute with these..we just didn’t have any on hand.

finger painted valentine’s day cards

materials: paper {we used finger paint and construction..whatever you have around the house is fine as long as it’s not too thin to rip}; paint, scissors
objective: creativity – uses materials in new and unconventional ways.
focus words: paint, dot, fingers, heart, valentine’s
notes: the girls painted these {and i cut into hearts} to give to out for our valentine’s day cards at our twins club! each girl painted 3 pictures and i got two hearts out of each paper! unique and *free* v-day cards! woo woo!

cookie cutter paintings

materials: cookie cutter hearts, paper, paint
standard: cognition + general knowledge – engages in sustained and complex manipulation of objects
focus words: stamp, heart, colors

handprint on doily

materials: doily, paint
objective: self –  begin to understand self as a separate person from others.
focus words: hand, heart, paint
notes: this is a perfect one for baby’s first valentine’s day!! easily given to grandparents!

heart contact paper window catchers

materials: construction paper, contact paper, tissue paper cut in squares
objective: fine motor, pincer grasp
focus words: heart, red, pink, purple, stick

lo{v}e footprint painting

materials: canvas, paint
objective: Seek out experiences with a variety of materials and art materials based on preferences and past experiences.
focus words: toes, feet, fingers, colors
notes: with one baby, use one of each foot to make the ‘v’… i totally goofed and did both of the girls right foot…ugh! oh well, still cute!! i also probably would have used white paint if i had it on hand!

footprint love {bug}

materials: constructoin paper, paint, marker, googly eyes {optional!}
objective: show awareness of themselves as belonging to one or more groups {identify body parts}
focus words: butterfly, foot, toes, colors

q-tip heart painting

materials: construction paper, q-tips, paint
objective: initiative – demonstrate a willingness to try new activities and experiences.
focus words: q-tip, ear, paint, paper, colors, dot
notes: we ended up using these hearts for part of our valentine’s! if you’re child has started to make associations, make sure these q-tips don’t go in their ears!! another option would be to use cotton balls.

valentine’s day soup!

toddler valentine's daymaterials: water, liquid watercolor {or food coloring!}, whisk, label…anything to scoop and something to float {foam hearts}
objective: initiative – demonstrate a willingness to try new activities and experiences.
focus words: scoop, stir, pour, water, heart
notes: i had this set up and ready to go so as soon as we were done with a painting activity, we could ‘wash off’ in the water.  if you notice lila from start to finish…although wet, paint was gone!! i used just enough watercolor to tint the water…not to stain!

neon shiny heartsvalentine's day painting

materials: cardstock, karo syrup, liquid watercolors {or food coloring}
objective: initiative:demonstrate a willingness to try new activities and experiences.
focus words: paint, brush, heart, colors
notes: karo syrup makes this activity SO FUN!! it is s t i c k y. so, be prepared, but. when it dries, it dries hard and suuuuuper shiny!! it also is really thick to paint with so offers a lot of input as the child paints! forewarning: once it enters the mouth, you will have a hard time keeping it out of their mouths…it’s sugary!

valentine’s day books

materials: books! examples: the kissing hand by audrey penn; love and kisses, kitty by max haynes; elmo loves you by sarah albee; counting kisses by karen katz
objective: reading – point to familiar pictures in books when labeled by adult.
focus words: elmo, heart, kisses, cat, duck, dog

i hope you have a wonderful valentine’s day with your littles!!

question: what’s your favorite valentine’s day activity?!

** this post contains affiliate links to where if you the reader, click + purchase a product from the link, i will make a small amount of money based on your purchase.  as always, i appreciate your support!

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37 thoughts on “toddler activities | valentine’s day

  1. So many cute and easy ideas. I pinned the LOVE painting with tape and can’t wait to do that one with my three kids.

  2. Love all of these! I will certainly be saving these ideas for future use. What nontoxic paint do you use? We did footprint valentines this year and I wanted to do some handprints but the paint I had wasn’t nontoxic. I would love a recommendation!

    1. Thanks, Becky!! I updated the post with the links to all the products I used!! I love the crayola washable finger paints!

    1. It’s so simple and you can do it for almost any holiday!! My girls love the cookie cutters!

    1. It turns out so cute!! It’s hanging in their playroom now!! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Omg this is so cute!! Love how you get excited for Valentine’s Day. You definitely celebrate it more than we do here. I Love how the kids are involved too and that love foot painting is the cutest. X

    1. Thanks Kasie!! Hehe, I do love Valentine’s Day…mainly because we get to do so many fun things now with toddlers!!

  4. These are all so cute! At first I was like, “oh, I love the LOVE canvases” then I saw the cookie cutter painting, then I was like “those tissue paper sun catchers are adorable!” LOL, all so fun! My kids would have a blast! And for easy painting clean up my favorite trick is to just have them paint in the bathtub! Cleaning up is so easy!!

  5. OK, I just need to know, how did you find time to do all this!? Did you commit one day to it or a different activity here and there? You are supermom!

  6. Ummm LOVE the bulk canvas idea… why have I not thought of that! Genius!! Totally doing some of these with Dawson this valentines season!! Thanks for your great ideas! <3

  7. There’s not one activity I haven’t loved in this post! (And your girls are adorably creative)
    As an artist myself, I might “steal” a few of these ideas to make Valentine gifts for my own children (they love artistic gifts from mama) 🙂
    Thank you!

    – Luana

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