Today is St. Valentine's Day and since it is not mentioned in Exploring Nature with Children, I am suggesting some books and activities here. It's nice to have a blog! I'm actually thinking of starting a newsletter, like Suzanne Down has, where I can let people know if I've written a new Ruzuku course. The online courses are helpful when you're preparing for a new main lesson block and I'd like to write a lot more of them. It is a very economical way to get help from a consultant for just one block and, because it's a course, you also can hear from other people who are brainstorming their lessons on the same topic as well. Plus it's all written down so you can go back to it at any time. If you'd be interested in being on the mailing list for the newsletter, send me an email.
It is nice as a family tradition to have a heart-shaped basket on the Nature table with some slips of paper beside it in the week leading up to Valentine's Day. Everyone can write thank yous and nice notes to one another on the slips of paper all throughout the week and place them in the basket. Then open them up at dinnertime on Valentine's Day and read each one aloud.
If you are doing the story of Saint Valentine in Second Grade, I suggest
by Robert Sabuda
Valentine Stories & Ideas for Early Childhood
Suzanne Down has written an entire book of lovely Valentine Tales :
1 - Miss Mouse and Bitty Bunny
2 - Grandmother February
3 - The Little Valentine Fox
4 - A Million Valentines
5 - The Shepherd Boy's Flute
6 - The Valentine Princess and the Ice Witch
7 - The Valentine Baker of Pink
8 - The Happy Heart
9 - The Donkey Prince
10 - The Prairie Dog Valentines
11 - The Postman's Special Day
12 - The Valentine Box
13 - A Warm and Cozy Home
in the back she has instructions and patterns to make a Valentine Baker Finger Puppet with a wooden bead head and a wool felt body; here is mine
note: Suzanne is not shipping any of her story books right now due to COVID
But, happily, "A Million Valentines" from Suzanne's book was also printed in Tell Me a Story, edited by Louise deForest, and it's on page 98. This story goes well with feeding the birds or making heart shapes with Nature objects.
"The Happy Heart" from Valentine Tales goes well with making a sun catcher
cut a large heart out of contact paper and cover it with little pieces of torn or cut colored tissue paper; put up in the window as a sun catcher
We love chapter VI, "Uncle Wiggly's Valentine," on page 38 of Uncle Wiggly's Story Book by Howard R. Garis (Zac's current bedtime chapter book), as well as Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and You and Me by Martine Kindermans.
Many many years ago, when the girls were quite small (2, 3, and 4), I made a heart-shaped pinata by putting newspaper strips soaked in flour/water paste over a heart-shaped balloon from the grocery store. Initially, you have to leave a space where you don't cover the balloon; this is for filling it. After I popped and removed the balloon, I filled the pinata (with 50 hearts cut out of many colors of pure wool felt) and then covered up the empty space with more paper mache.
Then I took it to storytime at the local public library. I can't imagine what the librarians thought of me, showing up unbidden at their story time with an activity for the children to do, but they kindly allowed the children to do the pinata after all of the Valentine stories were read. And each child got to take home a felt heart. When I look back it seems pushy and demanding, but at the time I just wanted to do something sweet for my girls and I thought all of the children may as well enjoy it too. I think I just really missed being a teacher!!!!!
In past years, when students were here for school in-person, we traditionally made Handmade Seed Paper Valentines with tiny thyme seeds embedded in the paper pulp. "You're in my heart all the thyme." Full instructions are here.
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