Valentine’s Day is a great way to introduce emotions vocabulary with children. Identifying emotions is an important aspect of being able to regulate emotions. Starting early by giving children the appropriate vocabulary, or the ability to recognize what they’re feeling and put words to it, can also help children develop empathy for their friends and family. The world could always use more empathy!
To preview the songs we sing at the intro and outro of our Storytimes, visit our “Favorite Programming Songs” post under the Children’s Services tab, or under Themes.
- Valentine’s Day is a holiday we celebrate with loved ones. It takes place on February 14th every year. Sometimes we write Valentine’s Day cards to friends and family, or give special treats like chocolates and candies.
- Valentine’s Day is all about love. Who do you love?
- What does it feel like to love someone? How do we show love?
Sensory Display: I passed out felt cut-out hearts to children in various colors. They held their heart aloft as we played a game. Raise your heart if you feel happy, raise your heart if you feel sad, raise your heart if you feel loving, etc. We made sure to recognize that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions. Then I called the children forward by the color of the heart they received so they could return them to the felt board.
Read: Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis
Sing: “I love you, You love me” (a la Barnie)
I love you, you love me
We’re best friends as friends should be
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you
Won’t you say you love me too?
Action Rhyme: My Valentine (Identifying emotions rhyme)
My Valentine has feelings, my Valentine with lace,
My Valentine has feelings, he makes an angry/happy/sad/surprised/excited face.
Below is an example of the felt Valentine faces I used, inherited at my library. I would put a Valentine on the board and the children would decide what emotion it was expressing.
Read: LOVE from Sesame Street by Sesame Workshop
Finger Rhyme: “I Can Make a Heart” (from JBrary)
I put my hands together, This is how I start (put palms together, as if in prayer)
I curve my fingers right around, (curve the tips of your fingers, rolling inward)
And I can make a heart!
Read: There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro.
Imagination Play Prompts:
- Let’s try on some emotions today. Let’s pretend to be: happy, sad, angry, excited, funny, tired, etc.
- Let’s pretend to be someone or something that makes you very happy. I’m going to pretend to make pancakes, because I love eating pancakes!
- If one of your friends was sad, what would you do to make them feel better?
Craft: I had the children create Valentines for their families using textiles, textured paper, scissors, crayons and markers, tape and various other art supplies. We also have a “lace” crimping cutter that we brought out for the children to crimp the edges of their Valentines.
- Children may be able to express their feelings using emotions vocabulary.
- Children will practice writing their names, cutting with scissors, and identifying shapes.
- Children will have the opportunity to act out empathy in their imaginative play.
And that’s the End: I love a good holiday Story time, it always feels like the kids are ready to dive into the theme. The free-create craft is a great addition to weeks in-between more “complex” crafts. Kids rarely get the opportunity to create without scripts or instructions, so this one is easy on librarians PLUS best practice for kids, everyone wins. Spreading the love can be a great mission for littles, as well–if you have access to assisted living facilities in your community, the children can decorate Valentines for seniors and their families.