We Heart Literacy Fun

Two great Valentine’s-themed activities that require practically no effort but deliver on fun, with a dash of literacy and motor skills engagement, too!  A great way to combat the sugar high we will all be undoubtedly experiencing on the 14th and beyond!

This sweet and simple idea from Toddler Approved needed only construction paper hearts and a marker to create a fun way to practice rhyming and understanding word families.  Basically I cut out about twenty hearts, added as many -ake and -at words that I could find (plus a few extra random words to keep it interesting) and spread them out on the table.  I should have followed Toddler Approved’s advice and taped them onto a piece of paper to hang up later, so that Em could have a chance to learn them by osmosis (aka her bossy older brother).

Then I gave Jax a monster truck and told him to drive around looking for -ake words and that he couldn’t touch the others.  He thought it was awesome, and although he has not been to nor watched a monster truck rally, he was doing an impressive job of leaping and crashing from heart to heart with the appropriate ending.  This kind of stuff is definitely in little boys’ DNA.

Having him say the words out loud was helpful, too.  We had a lot of fun just messing around and being silly–my favorite kind of playtime!

After this activity was done, Em woke up from her nap and I wanted to extend the fun to include her.  I had found this idea from Carrots Are Orange and knew it would be just the right way to scratch the we’ve-been-inside-too-long itch.

So basically, I flipped my hearts over (so I guess it was good I didn’t tape them down), wrote the alphabet on the backs and then added a few action verbs (jump, skip, run) to change it up.  I started with Jax since Em was still a little sleepy and had him jump from letter to letter, spelling his name.

Again, all boy.  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

After that, Em was hooked and wanted to spell her own name.  Watching a two-year-old jump is one of the funniest things on earth–I dare you to be grumpy after watching all the concentration and jubilation that single act produces from your toddler.  Loved it.

Then they worked as a team (I quickly realized I couldn’t ask them to go for the same letter because brother hip-checked her so fast she was going to develop an alphabet phobia).  I would say, Jax, you find the letter J and Em, you find the letter E.  Then they would kind of race and Em would be so proud if she could find her letter first.  Then, when that got old, I called out a sound a letter makes and they could try to find the letter that makes that sound.

Finally, I would randomly yell out one of the verbs (jump, skip, etc) and they would go running around the house doing whatever I had said.  Totally random, but they loved it and begged to run around in between rounds.  Tired them out, kept the game interesting, and helped beat the mid-winter blues!

And there you have two very simple, fun, Valentine’s-themed activities to help strengthen your kids’ minds and bodies!  And of course, since hearts are not relegated merely to Feb 14th (nor do you have to do these in heart shapes), these are activities that can help you get through the winter months and beyond!

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