Happy Valentine’s Day! In addition to being a long, holiday weekend, it is also frigid outside. So, we are sharing two Valentine’s-themed activities that you can do with your kids to pass the time while having fun and remaining warm indoors.
Coffee Filter Hearts
Paper towels or hand towel
Ask your child to separate out the coffee filters one by one. This will address graded control, bilateral coordination, and fine motor skills using a pincer grasp (index finger opposed to thumb) or three-jaw chuck grasp (index and middle finger opposed to thumb). These will not take long to make so feel free to start with multiple coffee filters.
Draw a heart shape on each coffee filter then cut out each heart. Color the heart with markers while being sure that your child stabilizes the coffee filter with their non-dominant hand. Feel free to leave some white on the coffee filter when coloring. You can also opt for some tape to secure the heart to the table in order to assist with stabilizing the paper without tearing.
Once the hearts are colored to your child’s satisfaction, place the heart on a hand towel or paper towel. Use a squirt bottle to squeeze water onto the entire coffee filter. This helps to increase your child’s hand strength and motor planning to hold and depress the bottle. Then use a towel to pat the heart dry. Once dry, feel free to decorate your room with the hearts or add them to a Valentine’s Day poster or card.
Homemade Valentine’s Day Playdough
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup salt
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1-2 packets of flavored Kool-Aid
Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, and Kool-Aid in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in water and oil
Continue stirring until the mixture begins to solidify and pull away from the pan – usually about 4-5 minutes of cooking and stirring constantly
Remove the playdough from the pan onto the counter and allow to cool
Knead playdough for a minute or two in order to completely mix and store in an air-tight container
Provide your child with a rolling pin, cookie cutters, and a plastic knife for some imaginative fun!
**You may want to double the recipe if you have more than 2 kids playing and working together.
Fine Motor Adaptations:
Use an eyedropper instead of a squirt bottle to put small amounts of water onto the coffee filter. This will help increase finger strength and hand separation to use a pincer grasp.
If you have a short child-sized table, tape the coffee filter hearts underneath the bottom of the table. Have your child lie on their back on the floor under the table and extend their arm to color the picture taped on the table underside above them. This improves shoulder and upper body strength.
Let your child assist with the kneading of playdough for improved upper body and hand strength.
Hide small items into the playdough and ask your child to go on a “treasure hunt” to locate the items by pulling and pinching the dough with their fingers.
Gross Motor Adaptations:
Use the large playdough ball as part of a passing game to warm up before rolling it out and making shapes and designs. Have each child or participant stand back-to-back. One person begins holding the playdough ball and rotates to their right to pass the ball to the other person rotating to their left. Continue to pass the playdough ball back and forth while you rotate side-to-side. This helps address bilateral coordination.
Mix up the passing game by standing back-to-back and passing the ball up over your head to the other person and then under your legs. Be sure that everyone inverts their head completely and looks under their legs when passing to get the most benefit from the game. Continue for at least 10 repetitions. This passing game works best when you have two people playing that are close to the same height.
Depending on your child’s age and skill set, show them a shape, design, or letter and ask him/her to roll playdough into worms and make that same shape, design, or letter using the playdough. This helps address visual motor and motor planning skills to construct an item from looking at a model.
Have a scavenger hunt by hiding hearts around the room for your child to locate and find.
We hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of fun, love, and warmth!
~Thanks for letting us help you spread your wings!
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