's February 8th and YES I am late blogging, but I have the BEST excuse and some of you know what it is and others...well...maybe you are not following me enough to know my personal life, but I am going to share some of it right here...right NOW!!! My 4th grandchild was born on Thursday, January now I have Brady (9), Marra (almost 7), Aria (4) and Ava (almost 2 weeks old).  YES...I am the proud Mimi of 4 beautiful, talented grandkids that light up my life everyday.  Yes...I was away from my business life a bit in order to hang out with my middle daughter, who BTW was born on Valentine's Day in a snowstorm almost 39 years ago, and help her care for Ava, her second child. heart is full...YES... cupid has brought another bundle of love and joy to our family and YES...I am finally ready to share some of my all time favorite Valentine's Day Activities.
Some are freebies that can be found in my TpT shop Sunshine and Lollipops while others are inexpensive paid resources from my shop and yet others are ideas that I have used throughout my many years of teaching pre-k, first and second grade.

1.  Valentine's Day Crown and OptionalCard  
This my all time favorite craft and it can be differentiated as needed in that you can pre-cut the various pieces and set them up so each child can create the crown independently
(I did it this way for my younger granddaughter).  You can have them color the center of the crown and then glue it to a sentence strip or pre-cut paper as there is a black and white copy of the "BEE MINE" that can be cut out or you can give each kiddo what they need to make the crown and have them cut and glue everything (great for OT) or maybe you would even want to use all the images as tracers and go with it in that direction.  Whatever way you choose, there is one thing I am certain about and that is that your kids WILL LOVE MAKING THIS! 



Be sure to check out the Dollar Spot at #Target to pick up some foam heart stickers and Valentine's Day stickers to add some additional fun!


Even a 4 year olds can have some fun creating this crown with stickers while working on fine motor skills to get ready for #Kindergarten!!

Everything you need is included in this Freebie...well...I take that will need glue, scissors, stickers(optional),pipe cleaners (optional) and LOVE!

Optional Card:  The option to make a card is also included. If you take a picture of each child wearing the crown, you can then either glue the picture onto the frame provided, add some stickers and have your kiddos write a message on the inside or add the picture electronically to the frame and add stickers...the choice is yours!
2.  Free Beginning Sound Matching Fun  Here is another Free resource that I created for my daughter's SpEd Kinders.  It is a fun way to reinforce matching letters to beginning sounds that your kinders or pre-schoolers will enjoy completing.  Simply color the hearts that show a match of a beginning sound to the picture that begins with that sound in the same color. For example:  A and apple would be colored the same.                                                                                                                                                                                                        
3.  Valentine's Day Fun Packet or Math and Literacy Activities  Fun packet of Valentine themed activities for first grade that can be used as morning work, quiet time work, for early finishers or any other way you might want to use these sheets!  

 This can be used a s a cover and the packet can be made into a booklet for each student!

Here is a photo with a compilation of the some the activities that are included in this resource!

4.  We are Good Friends  This is a mini unit on friends and friendship that can really be used anytime during the school year.  When I taught first and second grade  I used it during the month of February. It would also be great to use in the beginning of the school year when students are beginning to get to know each other or at the end, when they have established some great friendships. It includes ideas for use and directions on how to implement this into your curriculum as well as a parent/family letter.

Here is a sampling of some of the ideas included with this resource.

6.  I LOVE you More Than...  I love this more than chocolate candy and the beach so sandy...such a fun activity to think about what you love and then make a Valentine for your family or someone special. It contains an original poem for Valentine's Day and lots of other goodies! It can be used for Mother's Day as an original poem for Mother's Day is also included. Check it is a DOLLAR DEAL!
                                                                                This the page for students to use to write their ideas for Valentine's Day! Below is an computerized sample!

This new resource is right off the press and ready to go for Valentine's Day. 
It includes math addition and subtraction up to and including 10...there are a few that have sums that are 11 and 12.  A word Search with answer key, Writing frames including poetry type frames and lots of fun for you kiddos. It can be used for math and literacy stations as well as guided math even work on writing, writing workshop and more!  Enjoy!

8.  Two Other Great Ideas to Try  
  • Have a Compliment or Kindness Jar during February or any month, for that matter.  I always placed the "jar" on a counter where it was easily accessible so children were able to write compliments about a classmate.  At the end of the day, I would simply pull a few out and read them to the class. This was also done during our morning meeting.  The jar I used was decorated for Valentine's Day and I simply had a pencil/pen and heart-shaped sticky notes or paper next to the jar for students to write their compliments. If you notice that not everyone is getting a compliment, be sure to add some of your own so there are always smile!
         Here is one I made for Kindergarten that was created from a clear flexible plastic container.
         Easy Peasy!

This ties right in with another post about Kindness on my blog. You might want to check this out as well!!
  • Fun with Candy Conversation Hearts: There are tons of ideas to use conversation hearts. You can measure with them, count them, graph them by color, write sentences using the words on them, put them in a jar to guess how many and....drum roll all time favorite for Kindergarten is to give each child or pair of children one box of conversation hearts.  
    Then have each pair guess or predict how many hearts are in the box and write their predictions or guesses on the top of a paper heart that you have created.  After they make predictions and write them down, have them count how many WHOLE hearts are actually in the box to check their predictions and write that number down. Next have them sort the heats by color on their heart. After, discuss the results of their predictions and numbers of colors they have the least or most of in their box.  As numbers will vary, ask the kiddos why they think the numbers are different. You can also do this as a whole group or make a whole class graph of the colors found and then count how many there are of each color and ultimately how many hearts there are all together.  
There you have it...some ideas to bring the LOVE back into teaching.  Happy Valentine's Day and if you have some ideas that you have used, please give them a SHOUT OUT in the comment section. Happy Valentine's Day!  Don't forget to share the love!!

 Can, Have, Are Anchor Chart for Kinders. I scribed and they showed their learning and ideas about butterflies!

One of my all time favorite Units to teach is/was my butterfly unit #ilovebutterflies.  I always adored those fun hands on type lessons and when they included crafts...Well even better as I was right there ready to get down and dirty...slip and slid in the mud, get those magnifying glasses out and search high and low for those wiggly guessed it caterpillars.  I love the excitement and curiosity of primary children as they learn about insects or other creepy crawly BUGS!

Years ago, we did a butterfly unit in second grade and raised butterflies...the kiddos LOVED this and we did so many activities to support this science life cycle unit. The class especially LOVED and were so excited when we released the butterflies. We would put out a half of a water melon and watch them go back and forth from the watermelon to the bushes and trees and then fly off into the distance. Creepy, Crawly, Joy, Fuzzy and all the rest, who were given names, were never to be seen again, but once in awhile a student would think they saw "theirs" fluttering away on the playground! 

A few years later it was decided that this unit would be a first grade, as a looping teacher, who looped with first and second grade....I taught this unit again and again and again in first grade and was able to stretch into second grade to nurture the excitement and curiosity of young minds at work!

Now...I am helping my daughter (I volunteer 2 days /per week in her classroom), who teaches Kinders and we are adapting these lessons, that I created, for Kindergarten. OH and before I forget, my granddaughter also raised and released butterflies in nursery school this year. I guess you can't get enough of butterflies.  

So...because #ilovebutterflies so much....actually all science lessons, just need the time to go through all my files so I can share all of them...that may take more years than I have left on this earth, I have included some great #craftivities using butterflies for your classroom use...the ideas are free.  You will just have to follow the directions, which I am pretty sure you will not have any trouble doing.
So here you go:

1.  Paper plate Butterfly sequencing activity.

  • You will need a white paper plate divided into 4 sections depending on students, you can have them use rulers and draw the lines or pre-draw before the activity.
  • Pre-cut leaves and thin brown strips for branches (only if you are working with younger students).
  • Colored tissue paper cut into small squares(I ordered a box of pre-cut tissue squares from Lakeshore and it has lasted me 5 years!!!)
  • Various pasta shapes. I used Orzo for the egg on the leaf, Rotoni for the caterpillar, Shell pasta for the chrysalis and Bow Tie pasta for the butterfly!
  • Glue
  • Patience

We made sure that this activity with SpEd Kinders was extremely structured. We did the activity step by step together at the table.

The tissue was used for the grass and flowers....Voila! Here are the children's finished products!

2.  3-D Butterflies

  •  For each child you will need:
  • A piece of tinfoil
  • 2 pieces of colored tissue paper
  • Thin Markers
  • Small foam shape stickers
  • Clothespin
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Patience

Give each child the tissue paper and stickers. The students were taught about symmetry and butterflies so they were trying to make their butterflies symmetrical...I am not so sure how symmetrical they were,but hey we are only in kindergarten.

After they have completed the decorating of the tissue paper, They put the tinfoil as the bottom layer and squeezed the paper together as shown.  They decorated the clothespin and made the antennae or a short pipe cleaner.

It was then assembled with a little help from the adults and voila...there is your cute little butterfly!

3. Butterfly Life Cycle Sequencing Crowns, which can be found in my Butterfly resource on TpT Sunshine and Lollipops  It is all ready to print and use!!!

  • For each child you will need:
  • A butterfly template copied on card stock in different colors ( I pre-cut these for the Kinders due to fine motor limitations). However, depending on your class, you can differentiate. 
  • Strips of paper for sequencing and creating the headband.
  • Sequencing pages, which are differentiated in my resource. You can pick individually for each child depending on their needs.
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Glue

Add crumpled tissue paper to cover the dots on the butterfly!

Cut out the sequence sheets provided.
After gluing the strips of paper on the sides to form the headband part on the activity, glue the picture in order 1,2,3,4!  We did need to trim the edges of the headbands a bit before fitting onto the kiddos' heads, but they were sooooooooo cute!!

So here are a few of my favorite activities to use with thisMini Butterfly Unit.. or any butterfly unit for that matter...Oh and there are still a few little secrets in my Butterfly Resource....I mean I can't divulge all my deep dark secrets! Enjoy learning about butterflies and these crafts and ideas!