Updated: Feb 4
We all love engaging in activities that bring us closer or receiving personalized gifts from people we love. Whether it’s a friend, sibling, parent or spouse, engaging in meaningful activities builds connection.
However, young children are still learning how and that’s why we need to create activities that are meaningful through personalization and conversations.
Here are 6 activities you can do to build connection and teach kindness.
Playdoh is an underestimated resource. It’s so helpful for young kids to build finger grasp skills that are needed for writing and can spark some amazing conversation through open-ended play.
Sometimes, a whole pretend meal can be created by playdoh and a little imagination. For example, children may make a pretend dinner and dessert for you to pretend to eat.
Using open-ended materials like these rolling pins or plastic tools to cut and shape playdoh can help.
To personalize, try adding in some literacy by drawing out the first letter of the child’s name like this so they can push playdoh into the shape.
Or if you want to encourage and imitate baking, you can use something like these hearts and encourage that each heart represents a cookie or ball. You can even write letters on each of the hearts to represent specific people such as M for mommy.
Don’t forget that you can always use sheet protectors to reuse these kinds of activities over and over without the expensive laminating costs.
For quick and easy playdoh at home try using this edible Playdoh recipe.
2. Baking Cookies
If kids love playdoh, they’ll love baking cookies! Baking cookies with loved ones always leaves memories for years to come.
This experience not only teaches children how to follow some step by step process, but also has them learning to wait while the cookies bake and share, to give some cookies to others.
And if you have a chance to decorate you can encourage your child to put the first letter of their name on the cookies or help them identify them if you did it.
3. Freeze Dance or Hide & Seek Hearts
Cut out some large hearts and write your child’s name on one and other names on the other hearts such as Mommy, Daddy or a sibling name. Or even a stuffed animal or doll if that’s popular in your house.
To play freeze dance you need to first explain that when the music is on, they dance and when the music stops they have to run and find their heart. You can model how to play and then get your child to play with their stuffed animals when you’re busy.
To play hide and seek you can hide the hearts in a room and have your child go find them and then they have to read the names back to you. Or each person (or stuffed animal) has to find their own heart.
To mix up these games or for younger kids try just using the first letter of a name, or watch this video for other fun ways to play.
4. Show Your Love Calendar
Teach kindness and empathy through a daily calendar. These quick and easy activities are the perfect way to connect with your child while practicing and reinforcing the social emotional skills needed to build relationships, play with others, recognize feelings and build empathy.
You can do these small activities every day, not just at Valentines! Learn more or download the calendar print out here.
5. Painting Cards
Do you remember how special it was to receive a personalized card instead of a random print out that was the exact same as everyone else?
That’s why creating personalized cards is so rewarding! Children can choose the shapes and colors they want to represent and give to the ones they care about. Using a paintbrush and talking about the process supports language development and writing skills and it’s a cost saver too!
All that’s needed are some water paints, paper, and brushes! And if your kids are ready you can use a crayon or pencil to add their names or personalized messages.
6. Personalized Books
If you don’t have time to cook or do art, but would still like to get a special Valentine’s Day gift check out these personalized books you can buy!
Whether it’s for a classmate, a friend, a sibling or a cousin check out these books that you can get customized with the child’s name, the character and insert a real image of the child (or class or family) inside the front cover!
What’s great about these books is they are designed for early readers such as 4-6 year olds so they can read on their own and they can also be used as coloring books. MyLibook.com offers you the option to buy standalone copies or a set. Use code: KidsMoveandLearn for 10% off and free shipping!
Want to learn more? Check out this video where two moms chat about how they do these activities with their kids.