Practical Life and Art for Valentine’s Day

When Annabelle’s beloved babysitter came over last week, I used the time to head over to our classroom and change the work out for Valentine’s Day. It was so much fun for me, and the children seemed inspired by the new work. Changing out a large amount of work at once to welcome a seasonal change will forever be one of my most favorite things to do. I always feel giddy watching the eager hands reaching for new activities, and standing back to watch and see who will engage with what, and what will bring who to have a moment of concentration. I even enjoy seeing the occasional flop. My observations don’t always lead me to the perfect work ideas the first time, after all.

It’s nothing spectacular, and all of our work is tailored to the 2.5-3 year old, new to Montessori set right now, but I wanted to share.

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Whole hand transfer, using pom poms.

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A more challenging transfer by hand exercise with heart shaped erasers. There is exactly one eraser for each section, which offers an experience with one-to-one correspondence. Not pictured are the three I found creatively arranged elsewhere a few moments after this photo had been taken. Whoops!

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Our first pouring exercise was dry pouring with chickpeas, and it was still providing an appropriate level of challenge, so I made a very simple change here and replaced the chickpeas with kidney beans.

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Transfer with tongs.

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Valentine themed stamping for the art shelf. On our paper tray are small, blank cards (folded white paper) for use with this work, but children can also choose an ordinary piece of paper.

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Collage tray: contains liquid starch, tissue paper squares in Valentine’s Day colors, and thick paper. Painting over the tissue with liquid starch makes it stick.

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Simple cutting exercise using heart stickers on paper strips.

Note: The idea for this cutting exercise comes from Counting Coconuts┬ávia Living Montessori Now. It has been hugely popular, but about half of the children, perhaps more, peel the stickers off and place them elsewhere. This is a great fine motor exercise, too, so I haven’t redirected it, but I may switch this out for something else soon, as I’m starting to find stickers decorating various things around the classroom. The outside of some of the containers in our opening and closing work have been a popular home for them. As a first cutting presentation, this is great, though.

I also replaced our blue play dough with red and if I can get back out shopping, would love to get a heart shaped cutter for the dough, some festive beads to replace the ones we currently have in our threading work, and some small themed objects to place inside the containers in our opening and closing work as a new point of interest.

What’s on your Valentine’s Day shelves? I’d love to hear or see!

14 thoughts on “Practical Life and Art for Valentine’s Day

    1. melissa Post author

      That’s definitely a good call, Jorje, thank you! In the past I have always used paper strips with lines as cutting guides, but the work is never super popular, so I thought the sticker idea may inspire a bit more interest. It has been fun, for sure, but I think I’ll go back to regular paper cutting after this :)

    1. melissa Post author

      Thank you, Amy! You have many years to do seasonal things with Gus – I’m sure he enjoys just having all the time you two do outdoors to enjoy the changing seasons :)

  1. Discovering Montessori

    Love the collage tray! I am going to have to try this out. One work I had for the children was using stickers to place on dots made on a sheet. For example you could make a heart out of dots and then the child places the stickers on the dots to form a heart. It just something I decided to use when I had children who would place stickers on other things. Here you would still be following the child allowing them an activity for placing stickers(a nice pencil grip workout), then maybe you can still keep your fantastic cutting strip work available because they have another work just for that.

    Nice work!!

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. melissa Post author

      Putting stickers on dots sounds like a good fine motor exercise, for sure. Good call!

      The collage tray is an idea from the school where I did my internship. They were full of good ones!

  2. Laura

    That’s great! Some of the activities are so simple and yet so inviting. I think I am going to copy some of your trays right away. I am a bit behind these days… St. Valentine is already here and I still have the Advent Calendar out…oops. Well, life with tho children is different and no matter how I enjoy seasonal change, I am finding trouble to set seasonal activities on our shelves. Anyway, hope to be able to welcome Spring soon. My most favorite season!!! By the way, do you make the liquid starch? If so, how?

    1. melissa Post author

      Oh, after Elliot’s birthday nothing new came out at our house for a long, long time. It’s a busy season for you! I’m amazed that you’ve been blogging.

      I did make the liquid starch this time. I used to buy it in the store, but I never have time for stores anymore! ;) For this batch, I just watered down and used this powdered egg replacer, since it’s made up of various starches. I also thought to use cornstarch or tapioca starch, I would think any would work just fine. The only trouble is that it separates, so you have to mix it up :)


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