by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership
Writing and receiving cards in the mail or hand delivering a card to someone special can be a fun family tradition. Show your child the value of the written word this Valentine’s Day by making your own cards and sharing them friends and relatives.
Get out your red and pink construction paper (or color some white paper with crayons), scraps of ribbon, buttons, or other odds and ends. Use glue sticks or white glue (for heavier items) and markers or colored pencils. Show your child how to make a heart by folding paper in half and then cutting out just one half of the heart. Open the paper to reveal a symmetrical symbol of love! Cut, arrange, glue and then when everything is ready, add the words to make a special Valentine’s Day message.
When you help your children write the things they want to say on their cards, or you write what they dictate, you are showing them that words are used to tell people our feelings (among other things!).
Read the Valentine message by pointing to letters and words and saying the message together, following along with your finger. Give each other a hug for a job well done!
Give Valentine’s Day cards in person or put in an envelope and show your child how to add an address, stamp, and put in the US mail. Grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and faraway friends will treasure a handmade card sent to them for Valentine’s Day.
Learn some words about love that you can use in your cards by reading some of these children’s books:
- “How Many Do I Love You: A Valentine Counting Book,” by Cheri Love-Byrd, illustrated by Mei Stoyva, padded picture book format
- “Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book” by Karen Katz, board book format
- “I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home” by Kathryn Cristaldi, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
Do you have a favorite picture book character? There is probably a Valentine’s Day book featuring that character that you can read together. You’ll find rhymes and heartfelt messages about love in these books:
- “Llama Llama I Love You” by Anna Dewdney, board book format
- “Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle
- “Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool” by James Dean
- “Love from the Crayons” by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
- “Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse” by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond, board book format
by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership
Will you be my valentine? Celebrate the day of love by making Valentine’s Day cards with your children. Cut out or draw hearts and flowers, add some bold red and pink, maybe some stickers, lace, or yarn, and then together choose words to use on your creation.
Your young child may not write yet, so let him have fun practicing holding a crayon or pencil and making marks on the paper. If she has something she’d like to say on the card, you can write the words for her and point out how each letter of a word has a sound and together the letters make a word.
Put finished valentines on mom or dad’s pillow or send in the mail to grandma, grandpa, or friends. Start a tradition!
Snuggle up together and enjoy some books about love. Your child will learn new ways to appreciate kindness shown by others, learn words about feelings, and learn how to give kindness in return.
- “The Day it Rained Hearts” by Felicia Bond. A girl collects hearts that fall from the sky and makes valentines for all her friends. The perfect book to read before making your own valentines.
- “I Love Mom with the Very Hungry Caterpillar,” illustrated by Eric Carle. The iconic green and red caterpillar crawls his way through a small format book that celebrates all the ways moms are amazing! Every mother and grandmother who reads this book will feel honored.
- “My Dad Loves Me,” by Marianne Richmond. A board book with very simple sentences on each page describing ways animal dads show they care about their children.
- “Click, Clack, Moo I Love You,” by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Little Duck throws a Valentine’s Day party for the animals living at the farm, complete with pink and red balloons, twinkly lights, and valentines in the barn. But then Little Fox crashes the party and the farm animals stop everything. What is a fox doing in the barn? With the classic humor of her other books, Cronin ends the story with all the animals dancing “until the cows came home.”
- “This is NOT a Valentine!” by Harter Higgins, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Perfect for a child who blushes uncomfortably if you talk about love and mushy things. This story illustrates that love is all around. Showing you care is in the everyday things you do together or for someone else.
- “Love is” by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane. A girl, a duckling, and a year of learning about each other is a lesson in love. Can you let someone grow and change and love them just the same?