Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine Lei Making

We're coming to the end of our postings about Valentine's Day and are getting ready for the Olympics to start tomorrow. Check out lots of cute ideas here and here. We'll be doing some of them next week.

In the meantime, this is our last Valentine's Day craft- a Valentine Lei. I knew it would be tricky for my little guy to do... but it was also tricky for his 3 year old little friend, so I'd recommend this for 4-5 yr olds or to littler guys who have a parent nearby to help.

Materials Needed: cardstock, variety of paper (we used lots of scraps of paper), dried pasta noodles, ribbon, hole puncher, and scissors.

1. Cut out lots of paper hearts from a variety of papers.

2. Punch holes in each heart.

3. Tie a knot on one end of the string and start stringing on the noodles and hearts.

If we did this again, I'd take the time to dye the noodles with food coloring. We decided to do this last-minute though, so we didn't have time.

4. Tie the ends of the ribbon together and let your little one try out their Valentine Lei.

Since my little guy doesn't have the fine motor skills to string the pasta/hearts through the little holes, I helped him and he participated by choosing what would come next and handing me the hearts. He also loved dumping the noodles all over the floor.

Language Development:

During this activity we mostly focused on making choices verbally. I would ask my little guy what he wanted to put on his lei next and he would say noodle or heart. I encouraged him to expand on that by saying things like, "pink heart," "striped pink heart," or "2 noodles." If he indicated a specific number of noodles then we would count out the noodles together. Counting was his favorite part. We also worked on conversation and problem solving skills while making this project. Doing a project with a friend provides natural opportunities for conversation. My little guy kept stealing his friend's noodles... she got mad. We worked with her to communicate clearly and nicely to Andrew that she didn't like him stealing her noodles. We also practiced asking for things from our friends. Instead of stealing his friend's noodles and hearts, I prompted my little guy to say, "hearts please" or "noodles please." I also modeled how he could use his friend's name to get her attention and then ask for what he wanted. "Claire, noodles please?..." which will later be extended to, "Claire, give me noodles please?" or "Can I have a noodle, Claire?" This was definitely too hard for my little guy, but won't be in a few months, so practicing now is important.

We found the idea for this Valentine Lei craft at Craftzine. Wouldn't it be fun to add candy to this? Or some colored heart beads?

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