Before I get started on the celebration, I need to post the above two pictures of Oscar making his Valentine's card. I made special finger paint for him. It's safe for little ones who might actually ingest some! I used to make this finger paint for Noah and Aidas back in the day and blogged about it before: http://highparkhomedaycare.blogspot.com/2010/06/homemade-finger-painting-recipe.html And it was the exact same recipe I used before, from the following website: http://www.creativekidsathome.com/activities/activity_42.html Unfortunately, Oscar really liked the taste of this stuff, and was trying to make a meal of it. I decided to just let him use regular paint, but gave him more ideas on how to paint with it. He ended up really getting into it and didn't even have a taste! I'm glad we ended up using regular paint in the end, because although the finger paint made from the recipe is great for the painting activity itself, it does not produce a nice painting, or in this case, a nice Valentine's Day card, in the end.
Okay, on to the celebration. This year, we kind of split our Valentine's celebration into two days. It's so hard to fit everything into one day when you consider that not everyone comes right at 8am every day. Plus, other things like using the potty, getting snowsuits on, and naps take up a large chunk of the day as well. On Monday the 13th we did not go outdoors, but instead devoted that time to cookie decorating. Noah and I had baked a bunch of heart-shaped sugar cookies the day before, so I just had to whip up some Royal Icing and dip the cookies in before handing them over to the kids, along with their choice of sprinkles. They obviously were more tempted to eat than decorate, so once I had urged them to decorate their first cookie, they got to eat that one. The rest would either be for them to eat later, or for family and friends. It was still very slow going while they decorated a little here, and tasted a few sprinkles there. Even though they were at the table for quite a while, they had only decorated a few cookies before they tired of the activity (or at least the decorating part of it).
The day before, when Noah and I had baked a batch, I was sure this wouldn't be enough, and that they would be crying to decorate more. So, I had gone ahead and baked a second batch. Now, however, I was stuck with a large quantity of plain heart-shaped cookies. Clearly, I had drastically overestimated their motivation to decorate cookies. I decided to decorate the rest myself, while watching them raise hell in the living room. In the end, we had lots to share with everyone. We packaged some in Valentine's baggies and the kids gave them as gifts to their parents, along with their heart-print Valentine's cards. We gave a bunch to the superintendent of our building and her crew, whom the children know very well. We also gave a few to our daycare sitter, and shared some with family as well. That left us with a few to enjoy ourselves (but not too much).
On February 14th, we continued our celebration. Noah and B. (and Oscar, in his own way) played a musical heart game. When the music played, they danced around paper hearts. When the music stopped, they had to stand on a heart as quickly as possible. The winner was the one who got to a heart faster, but we were constantly playing, so it wasn't very competitive. Oscar added to the challenge of the game by picking up hearts here and there, so that there were fewer to step on!
For snack, we had heart cupcakes (that I had made the night before) with pink icing and red and pink Smarties. We also had raspberries, strawberry flavoured Jello and "Valentine's Juice" (Raspberry Lemonade).
We brought our foam hearts for outdoor time and played some games with them. "Hide the Hearts" consisted of me closing my eyes and counting to ten while Noah hid a heart in a bush, and Aidas and B. hid about four hearts in the snow. Once I found them, that was the end of the game, since "Bury the Hearts in a Snowbank" became a much more interesting game to them.
We also played "Heart Tag", in which the person who was 'it' did not have a foam heart, while everyone else did. Once he tagged someone, that person had to give them their heart, and they were now 'it'. It was fun playing that for a little while, even though there was limited success. As you might have already guessed, they usually refused to give up their heart once they were tagged. At least they are gaining more familiarity with games, even if they are not quite ready for the formal rules.
Before we had lunch, the kids opened their Valentine's mail folders to see the new mail they had received. There were Valentine's Day cards from friends, a small package of Valentine's Smarties from me, and homemade, healthy cookies from Oscar's mother. They were allowed one item to eat before lunch.
Lunch was sweet as well. We had whole wheat heart-shaped pancakes, with strawberry jam on top, and blueberries. After such a busy and exciting morning, the kids were more than ready for naps. What a party!
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