Preschool center time can be just as important for learning as circle time or group time. Centers work on social, fine motor, self-help and language skills. The only problem with great center time ideas like dress up or play dough is that when we pull the same things out too often, they get boring. Preschoolers want a new look, new motivations and new challenges each month. Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to deck the halls with hearts of red and make preschool center time “lovely” for February.
Playing cards can add up to fun Valentine’s Day math.
There are a variety of ways to use a pack of playing cards in centers. One is to tape down one card from each suit and have kids sort the cards into suits. Another is to remove all of the hearts and line them up from 2 to 10. Kids could also match numbers of different suits and make pairs or sets of four of each number. You could also teach them how to play high card/low card. One at a time, each child draws a card and you draw a card. The group decides who is high and who is low. Lastly, don’t forget that “hearts” cards make cute additions to math bulletin boards for February too.
Does your play dough center “knead” some love?
For February stock up on red and white play dough. Do a lesson with one of each and let the kids mash the together and pass it around and knead it until they have a new pink colored play dough. Add some Valentine’s Day cookie cutters and mini-spatulas so your preschoolers can bake up some Valentine’s Day treats. Other fun play dough props for February include dollies or cupcake liners. Kids love new fun in the play dough center.
Get the kitchen center ready for Valentine’s Day dinners.
Add a vase of fancy artificial flowers to the kitchen center. Get a volunteer to donate or make some red “linen” napkins and a tablecloth. Add a few Valentine’s Day candy boxes to the shelves. Print out some new menus with Valentine’s Day specials. After your Valentine’s Day party, add those left over heart plates to the kitchen center. New props in the kitchen center can feed preschoolers imaginations.
Make a Valentine’s Day mural.
I recently worked with a group of preschool age children who are pretty excited about Valentine’s Day. We covered the table with white paper. We traced large hearts onto mural paper and each child chose a heart to decorate. It was so fun to see how differently each child expressed herself with heart art. One turned her heart into a person and gave her a “make-over.” Another turned her heart into a rainbow heart. One preschooler decorated her heart to look just like her cool tennis shoes. All of them had a fun time while working on their fine motor skills.
For more Valentine’s Day fun from this Featured Yahoo! Voices contributor:
DIY Heart Shaped Wreath
Make a Valentine’s Day Box from an Ice Cream Carton
Make Candy Cane Valentine’s Day Cards