Theme for the Week  - Valentine's Day!

Did you know over 200 million Valentines will be sent this year? This is the second-largest card-giving holiday behind Christmas. Let's get the week going by making a fun keepsake handprint craft, learn how to draw a heart, learning the signs for Heart, Friend and I love You, learn how to say "Heart" in Spanish, and much more.  Have a great week!

Letter of the WeekV  - for valentine. Point out things that start with "V" -  van, violet, violin. Show your toddler a picture of both a capital V and a lower case v. Draw a V on paper, or use your child's finger to draw it in the sandbox or dirt. Use bath tub or refrigerator letters to show him/her this letter as well. 

Number of the Week: 14  - When you show your child anything say "14 violet conversation hearts" (or whatever you are counting). Count to 14. Write the number 14 on paper or show your toddler a flash card. Show your child 14 things at a time and count them - "one, two, three..."  - so your child gets used to the pattern. 

Songs of the Week:  Five Pretty Valentines - This is a cute, short counting song that you use your toddler's name in while you sing.  There are a bunch of others on this link from The Holiday Zone.  

Story of the WeekValentine's Day Books - Here is a whole list of Valentine's Day books for toddlers and preschoolers.  If you can't find them at your local library, you can try Amazon.com. Recently, I searched my local library on-line and placed holds on all the books I wanted and in a couple of days, they were ready to pick up.  Instead of trying to browse the shelves with a busy toddler, I picked them up, checked them out and was on my way.  Here's a link to public libraries in the United States if you'd like to see if your local branch is here. 

Snack of the Week:  White Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Knots - Since pretzel knots look like hearts, we thought this would be fun - but it's messy! Buy a bag of mini pretzel knots, either white chocolate chips or melting chocolate, and red decorators sugar. Melt the chocolate, dip the pretzels in, place them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, sprinkle them with sugar and put the sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Store them in an airtight container. 

Spanish Words of the Week: heart - el corazón, Valentine's Day - el día de San Valentín, chocolate - el chocolate (cho-co-la-tay). Also check out the BBC's Muzzy from Early Advantage for teaching Spanish (or many other languages) to your child. They are fabulous!

Do It Myself: Draw a heart  or identify a heart. Show your child the shape of a heart and say "heart". If he or she likes to draw, you can help them trace around a heart you've cut out or you can guide their hand to draw a heart. 

Activity of the Week: Handprint Heart - This is the cutest heart made from two handprints on top of one another.  You'll need two colors of paint - the example has purple and pink. This is a great keepsake to send to Grandma as her Valentine or for the refrigerator.

Yoga PoseFish Pose - While this doesn't seem heart-related, it is what is called a "heart-opener" pose. It is also a great chest stretch. My older kids used to love this pose. It feels fantastic.   Thanks to Yoga Journal for this link.  PS - Our kids always liked the Yoga Kids series if you'd like more ideas for doing yoga with your toddler. 

Sign Language Sign of the WeekHeartLoveFriendI Love You.   If your toddler is still learning how to talk, sign language can be a great way for them to communicate.  And as they get older, they'll pick up signs faster and it can be more of a fun thing versus a way to communicate.  

Hope you have a wonderful week!   Take this week's survey here.

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Your Weekly Dose of FUN for You and Your Toddler!