This past week, I went a little heart crazy in my last minute preparation for Valentine tot activities. I was searching through Pinterest and found all these amazing free printables. The wheels in my brain started to turn and I created over 20 Valentine tot trays! Yes, I know that is a LOT of tot trays. It's what happens when the creative side of my brain goes into overdrive! I am going to share 10 of the tot trays with you here in this post and please visit - 8 Montessori Inspired Valentine Trays for more!
1. Fine Motor Toddler Activity
This unique toddler activity helps to develop a child's fine motor hand movements as well as hand-eye coordination. In these pictures, Little Bee is carefully placing a toothpick (with a heart handle) into the small holes of a fruit strainer.
This is a wonderful activity for a toddler or a preschooler to learn subtle color differences. I found this awesome Free Valentine's Day Printables for Preschool at the Fun Frugal Homeschool blog.
3. Counting with Hearts
This is a simple tray set up for becoming familiar with counting. The child is able to visualize the number and then also see that the number represents this many objects (hearts.)
This is a wonderful printable from the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog - visit Valentine's Day Preschool Activities & Printables. Little Bee had no problem matching up the three yellow, green, and blue heart pairs. I attached velcro to the matching hearts to make this activity more fun for a toddler. For an older, preschool aged child, adding all the hearts to the tray for match up makes it more challenging.
This transfer activity develops the fine motor control of the hand. The child uses the tongs to transfer a pompom to the slots in the ice-cube tray.
This heart melt ice painting activity came out of the blue for me in my brain storming Valentine frenzy. I thought it would be such an awesome sensory experience to paint with ice and color. It's like watercolor paints but with ice instead. I wondered if the candied Valentine hearts would produce enough color to paint with. So I experimented with using 3-4 candies hearts per ice cube tray and I also added finger paints to six ice cubes... just in case.
I was pleasantly surprised, that yes indeed the candied hearts produced nice water paint colors as the ice melted. There was no need for the added finger paints! Little Bee loved this activity. Plus, all those colorful ice cubes are gorgeous! Don't you think? 🙂
7. Number Play-dough Mats
Little Bee and I enjoyed rolling our red play-dough into balls with gold and silver glitter added for an extra Valentine sparkle. Then I found these sweet counting Valentine Do-a-Dot Printables on the Gift of Curiosity blog. Little Bee had fun matching the play-dough balls up with the correct number of circles.
8. Sticky Play with Glue and Stickers
This activity was purely for toddler sticky fun and play-time. Little Bee loves using the glue stick and entangling his fingers between a bunch of stickers all at the same time. This Valentine Play Dough Mat printable is found on the Gift of Curiosity blog.
9. Heart Color Match
This sweet Color Match Hearts Printable was found on the Kingdom First Homeschool blog. It came with a whole page of nine colored hearts to match. I choose three hearts for Little Bee to match at one time. Little Bee had no problem matching the primary colored red, blue, and yellow hearts. It was more challenging for him to match the other colors of orange, green, purple, pink, black and white. This activity helped me realize that I need to familiarize Little Bee with these other colors more.
Our last tray for the day is a beautiful Valentine invitation to play activity. I gathered up several of the left over Valentine decorations and added them to this tray for Little Bee to freely explore. On the tray you will find: pompoms, felt hearts, toothpick hearts, straws cut into one inch pieces, wooden cut-out hearts, popsicle sticks, and a ball of red play-dough. I also added white beans with silver glitter for additional tactile fun.