Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Playgroup: Stars and Hearts

Last week at playgroup, we did a Valentine's activity, but it was a different theme than you might think! We started our singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and later related it to Valentine's Day with treats and cards!

Not convinced they are related? I'll show you how they are!

This was no ordinary version of Twinkle, Twinkle--we had a little tent set up for the kids to sit in and shine flashlights on the ceiling to "look at the stars," gave each child a yellow star-shaped sticky note, and went through each line of the song as we sang to make sure the kids knew what they were talking about. The kids loved the tent, and the flashlights were particularly exciting with the room lights off and the blinds closed.

As adults, we may not realize that kids are often unfamiliar with the words of songs they are singing. Kids are so smart, so breaking down a song word by word can help them get a better understanding of what they are singing, and they can appreciate it more!

Details to emphasize from Twinkle Twinkle:
  • Twinkling star: shining a flashlight, moving it around quickly
  • Up above the world so high: it's a tricky line to understand, so we had a globe for the kids to look out and demonstrated what it means to be above it.
  • Diamond in the sky: the kids shined their flashlights on my engagement ring to make it sparkle

Next we did a sort of science experiment. We ripped small pieces of tin foil, put them in a big glass container full of water, and shone our lights inside, taking notice of how they flickered. I didn't get a picture of it, but the kids really enjoyed this demonstration of a twinkling star like we had been talking about.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for--how this relates to Valentine's Day! Along with Twinkle, Twinkle we sang "I Am Like A Star Shining Brightly," and the last line connected to our craft.

I am like star shining brightly
Smiling for the whole world to see
I can do and say happy things each day
For I know friends and family love me

Which led to talking about a new shape, hearts, and we invited the kids to make a card using hearts to say thanks to a friend or family member who means a lot to them. Their moms helped them decorate and write notes to a loved one!

And what Valentine's activity is complete without frosted, heart-shaped sugar cookies? This was a simple cookie mix with store-bought frosting. Nothing too fancy, but the kids loved the conversation hearts and pink and red decorating frosting. Yum!


The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control have many resources available to parents about health and wellness in kids, and a topic that is worth visiting around Valentine's Day is the support and love of family and friends. The CDC recommends the following as ways to build your kids up and help them develop in secure, loving relationships: talking to kids to help them understand how they can be healthy, safe, and happy; finding out what's going on with them and how they are making decisions and handling problems; responding to their physical and emotional needs. 

Valentine's Day may have been yesterday, but it is important to tell kids they are loved any time of the year! They greatly benefit from praise and compliments, so don't suppress a good thought! There is no limit to what you can say or do to express love; the best way I can think to illustrate that is with conversation hearts. There are hundreds of ways to say essentially the same thing! Be creative, direct, and fun, just like a big bag of conversation hearts.

Thanks for checking in with us!

Information found here.
For more positive, age-specific parenting tips from the CDC, click here.

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