Saturday, February 15, 2014

Play with (Paper) Conversation Hearts

I hope all of you had a fabulous Valentine's Day. Mine started out with making heart-shaped pancakes for my family, included plenty of fun activities and cookie baking with my boys, and ended with enjoying dinner and dessert with family at my mom's place. S and I had so much fun playing with our paper conversation hearts yesterday! I wish I could have had 3 more hours in a day so I could have written and posted this yesterday, but here it is now.

So cute! Felt stickers from Michael's
I set out a blanket and placed his Valentine's Day box (really an up-cycled tissue box wrapped in red paper and tied with a white curling ribbon bow). I filled the box with the conversation hearts and cute felt stickers that fit the Valentine's Day theme.
At first, he didn't know what to make of them, and gave them a taste, but quickly decided that they were not for eating, unlike their candy counterparts. A few got mangled in the process, good thing I made a bunch! I read the phrases on each heart to him as he pulled them out of the box. He pointed out some letters that he recognizes. At a few weeks shy of two, he recognized and says B, C, D, E, K (well he can't say it yet, but makes the sound) M (pronounced "num" as in m&m's), N, O, and S. This was also an exercise in taking out and putting back in. He soon found that if you turn the box upside down and shake, things fall out quicker.
After we got through a bunch, he decided that they were pretty good for throwing in the air, so he tossed and I gathered them back up. At this point the blanket got tossed to the side, revealing my carpets that desperately need to get replaced (with hardwood, please). As I was looking at the scattered hearts, I got another idea.
I lined up the hearts in a wavy line, about 4-6 inches apart and asked S to walk along the line. He thought is was so fun stepping from heart to heart. If I was to do this activity again, I would probably tape the hearts down to the carpet to keep them in place. They did get kicked around a bit which meant I was constantly replacing them on our line, but it was still fun, and a good "following directions" lesson. I changed the pattern a few times, making the line straighter and curvier, and even tried a heart, but at that point he was bored with the hearts and moved on to trying to tear the paper off the Valentine's box, and I knew that the activity was over.

We picked up our mess, putting the hearts in a bag and the felt stickers in another. We didn't actually get to play much with the stickers, so I will put them with my art supplies for next Valentine's Day. The hearts I put with the rest of our sensory materials. Most of them lasted through our play session. I'm hoping to revisit with them another day, as they could be used in more applications, like learning colors, patterns, counting, etc.. In all, I think we were occupied for about 35-40 minutes. For an active boy, that is a good amount of time.
The Valentine's box, on the other hand, didn't end up in the best shape, and so we let it retire to the recycling bin. 

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