Many early childhood educators and caregivers use themes for their planning. Children love doing activities that are seasonal or holiday based. It is important to be purposeful and intentional through the use of early learning standards when providing these fun activities.
Early learning standards are strength-based, child-focused and tell us what children can do. They provide a blueprint to follow when planning activities so a caregiver can encourage and nurture the appropriate skills for development.

Celery Heart Stamping
Developmental Domains: Creativity & the Arts – creating with various materials; Physical and Motor – fine motor development

Materials
• Paper
• Ink pads or tempera paint
• Celery
Directions
• Cut celery stalks into lengths about 4 inches long
• Dip ends of celery into ink pad or paint
• Tap or ‘hop’ across paper

Candy Heart Patterns
Developmental Domains: Cognitive – Mathematical and Scientific Thinking; Approaches to Learning

Materials
• Colored candy hearts
• Grid paper
• Paper plates or bowls

Directions
• Have children sort their candy hearts by color
• Have children choose 2 colors to use to make a pattern
• Show them how to make a simple A-B-A-B pattern
• Children make their pattern on grid paper
• Children can use different patterns and colors as they develop patterning skills

Tissue Paper Stained Glass Hearts
Developmental Domains: Creativity & the Arts – Creating and Evaluating; Social & Emotional – Self Concept and Emotional development

Materials
• Tissue paper, cut into small pieces (1-2 inches square)
• Vinegar
• Paper cups
• Paint brushes
• White construction paper
• Black construction paper
• Scissors

Directions
• Cut heart frames from black construction paper
• Lay tissue paper onto white construction paper
• ‘Paint’ over tissue paper with vinegar, let paper dry
• When dry, the tissue paper will come off leaving a colored ‘stain’ on the white paper
• Glue the black heart frame onto the tissue stained paper
• Cut around the outside of the black heart frame
• Tape onto a window

Heart Kisses
Developmental Domains: Language & Literacy – Writing, Reading, Listening, Speaking; Physical & Motor – Fine motor development

Materials
• Pink construction paper
• Heart tracers
• Scissors
• Labels printed with: ‘A Kiss for You’

Directions
• Children trace hearts onto the construction paper
• Cut out hearts
• Attach one label per heart
• Give to loved ones for a Valentine’s ‘Heart Kiss’

Heart Dance
Developmental Domains: Physical & Motor – Gross motor development; Social & Emotional – Self-concept and Social Competence

Materials
• Red and pink construction paper
• Scissors
• Tape
• CD player and CDs

Directions
• Cut large hearts out of construction paper
• Tape hearts randomly around the room
• Play music and let children dance around
• When the music stops, children need to find a heart to stand on