All you need is love…

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As I’m sure you are aware, this week is Valentine’s Day; and to think I didn’t know what my theme would be. (duh) Love, love, love. Today I donned my heart and soul shirt, some sparkly shoes, and my red cardigan and prepared myself for a festive, love filled storytime.

This session started off, as usual, with our Welcome rhyme; lately, I’ve been trying to engage the kids a bit more during the rhyme by asking them what comes next, or doing it our of order and seeing if they can help me, but today I got myself so confused that we ended up skipping a few parts, oops! Hah It’s still cool to see that there are more and more kids that are remembering more and more of the rhyme; yay, learning!

After the rhyme, it was time to take our seats and read our stories. I like the idea of just promoting valentines day a celebration of love instead of specifically “valentines” so I picked two books about love and one about valentines day.

I started off both sessions with “Bear in Love” by Daniel Pinkwater, then moved on to “When a Dad Says ‘I Love You'” by Douglas WoodThen did a counting rhyme and finished off with “Louanne Pig in the Mysterious Valentine” by Nancy CarlsonI fell in love with “Bear in Love” as soon as I opened it. I wasn’t thrilled about performing all the singing parts, but the story is so cute and the illustrations are wonderful so it’s worth the silly singing. The kids were so proud of themselves for recognizing the long, pointy, orange things that  Bear found, (duh, Bear, carrots!) and had a lot of fun guessing what Bear would wake up and find each morning or who was leaving him these gifts.
The second story is also very sweet, I was a bit worried that some kids wouldn’t connect with it since it is a bit more “father / son” themed, but they seemed to like it and I heard many exclamations of “we play tickle monster!” or “I’d make two stops for cookies” and so on. 🙂
I think they had the most fun with the last book though. It’s a clever book in that it never really does give you the answer, directly, but I heard many gasps as I turned to the last page and they all noticed a pig with a curly tail and green pen. MYSTERIOUS! It’s so fun to watch them put the clues together and figure it out.

All three books lent themselves rather well to interacting with the kids during the story which is always good. They get to feel more involved and you can sneak in some learning while having a lot of fun.

The rhyme we did was a counting rhyme; I’m not usually thrilled with counting rhymes as they all seem to be too similar and get a bit redundant, but this one was fun! We counted forwards, and backwards, and even did some math with some adding and subtracting! Skills!

First, I had them get out their wiggly little counting fingers and get ready to put them to use. I held up six fingers and asked if anybody could tell me how many were were going to count to, of course they all shouted “SIX!” so we practiced; they’re excellent counters, then, I started the rhyme.

Six Little Valentines

Six little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”
Five little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”
Four little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”
Three little Valentines just for me,
The fourth one said, “Be my honey, Love Bee.”
Two little Valentine’s mailed with care,
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”
The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay,
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

I took this right from Storytime Katie I didn’t do the flannel the same though, I made regular old valentines day cards and then put the phrases inside with a picture of each animal. I put them up on the flannel board as I read the rhyme, then opened them as I read the part about what they said / who they were from. After each addition to the board, I asked how many valentines I’d opened so far and how many I had left. The kids couldn’t see the cards that weren’t on the board so they had to use their powers of memory AND math to figure it out. They did REALLY well and I think some of the parents were even impressed with them. 🙂 After the rhyme finished, I read the Louanne book since the valentines all tied in to that story and then I asked them if they had anybody they’d like to give a valentine to. Most said things like grandma or papa or mom or dad and so on, but a few were really cute in their answers about certain best friends or siblings, one boy even said he wanted to make a card for his 86 year old neighbor. (cue collective awwwww). After they all got their answers out, we headed back to the craft room to make some cards!

I love watching how free and creative they are with their creations. Yes, my valentine cards were folded, typical cards, but lots of kids chose to fold it differently or not at all.  The craft gave them a chance to practice their writing of letters and words, as well as helped develop and perfect fine motor skills by holding crayons to write or glue sticks to glue. They’re having a ton of fun, but they’re also learning and growing. (sneaky!)

You could certainly feel the love in the room too what with all the sharing and helping I saw going on. You always want to try to have enough “stations” set up for crafts with all the different materials accessible from any part of the room so nobody has to go hunting around for whatever they need, but regardless of how close at hand the different size heart cutouts were, or glue sticks, or all the different color crayons,  kids were happy to ask nicely if they could borrow something or if the person nearest could help by passing them their needed item; I even saw some helping one another fold paper for their cards because some jobs are a bit too big for one set of little hands to handle. We counted little hearts on their cards, I asked them what letters they were writing and what colors they used and they were all thrilled to answer and show me each time they added something new “Look! Now I have 6 hearts on my card!”

This craft went over well with both the girls as well as the boys. I was a bit concerned that the boys would not be super thrilled with the girly frou-frou heart stuff, but I had blue, white, and purple paper for them to use if they didn’t want to use pink or red and most of the kids simply used whatever paper they liked best with little to no regard to “boy colors” or “girl colors” which is always nice to see. Some kids didn’t even use hearts and just opted to decorate with various foam stickers and crayons which is equally awesome. Yay, creativity! 😀

By the end of the craft, I watched many sweet little cards begin their journeys to their lucky recipients and I had also been lucky enough to have garnered quite the collection of adorable little cards. Now to find a place to put them all!

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Sorry, suitors, too slow.

In conclusion:

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love is all, love is all

p.s. Happy 50th to those who reminded us that all you need is love, and love to the parents to made sure I knew that. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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