For my youngest daughter’s first Valentine’s Day (in 2011) I wanted to create a Valentine’s activity for her and also something that my older children (who were 2 and 4 at the time) could enjoy. My baby daughter enjoyed looking at photos and was always up for a sing along and dance. I combined these favourite activities of hers into a sensory Valentine’s Day activity.

I came up with:

Felt heart pillows of love. Each heart pillow either featured a photo of a family member (including grandparents and great grandparents) or an image (which I Googled) to represent one of my daughter’s favourite nursery rhymes (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; Humpty Dumpty; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Hokey Pokey; Hey Diddle Diddle; Here is the Beehive and Incy Wincy Spider).

I used t-shirt transfers to apply the family photos and nursery rhyme pictures onto some white cotton. My wonderful mum (the sewer who was able to turn my vision into a reality) sewed the cotton pictures onto the felt hearts. We also added different textured ribbons and lace to the heart pillows to add to the sensory experience. Inside some of the felt hearts are bells – perfect for shaking. We also added some larger bells to the outside of some of the hearts.

We didn’t forget our four legged family member

We used different textured and patterned materials for the back of the hearts and this was used to reinforce colours and shapes for my son who was two at the time.

My little cherub playing with and enjoying her heart pillows.

My older cherub found her own ways to enjoy these hearts.

Some of the ways we have enjoyed these felt hearts:

– The song hearts (those featuring images to represent favourite nursery rhymes) have been used to inspire much enthusiastic singing.

– We have lined up six or seven hearts and then I hide one behind my back. I then ask which one is missing.

– We have used the hearts featuring photos of family members to arrange the hearts in order from oldest to youngest.

– The hearts can be grouped (males, females, short hair, long hair etc). We have grouped the nursery rhyme hearts too according to those that feature songs that contain animals and those that do not.

– I was also thinking about (and have not done yet) making up cards featuring the main perfume each of the girls wear and the aftershave the men wear. It would be fun to see if my children can match up the scent on the cards with the people on the hearts.

I’m sure this year my children will come up with other ways to enjoy these hearts this year.