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16 Sweet and Simple Valentine Activities

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?

There are good reasons to do so - with ALL ages!  (Remember, I'm a huge proponent of keeping the wonder alive in your children at any age!)

The best reason is being able to sneak a few more memories into our children's memory banks. You can even sneak a little homeschooling in between the Valentine and candy swapping.

In order to increase the fun factor and minimize the schooling factor, keep it sweet and simple with these fun activities.

16 Sweet and Simple Valentine Activities

Keeping Valentine Activities Simple with Preschoolers

Little hands and chubby fingers brand new to holding crayons need simple activities. They crave hands-on type fun. Getting messy might be at the top of their list. Move beyond coloring pages and busy worksheets. Try out some of these simple activities that are sure to bring out sweet smiles and giggles.


Sweet and Simple Valentine (Food) Activities for your Younger Children

Once our younger children are old enough to hold a pencil correctly and have moved on to reading, the complexity of craft making changes. But, not the fun! The simple part of these activities can be found in the simple but sweet treats they create with little help in the kitchen, or the joy found in a game or Valentine given.

  • Minute to Win It Games - Create an atmosphere of fun and giggles with these quick-paced games that have an added bonus of burning of the sugar from the sweet treats.

  • Heart-Shaped Rice Krispie Treats - No heat needed if you use the premade pan sized version. Cookie cutters, candy melts, and sprinkles are the sweet, simple ingredients.

 


See the Sweet in Your Middle and High Schoolers

It might be tempting to think that our children have outgrown the bit of fun that Valentine's Day affords in the middle of winter. Not true! Don't be afraid to revert back to the homeschool crafty mom. Your teens will love sharing time with the family with dedicated crafts and treats especially for them.


Don't Forget the Notebooking!

We notebook across all subjects, holidays, and more.  Notebooking Pages has FREE Valentine pages - feel free to grab them and let your children get creative while learning!


Free Valentine's Day Notebooking Pages from NotebookingPages.com.

Something Sweet for Mom

It wouldn't be Valentine's Day without giving a Valentine! Here's one for you.

Valentine's Day Sweet & Simple Planner

 

16 Sweet and Simple Valentine Activities

With a little planning, perspective, and an eye on fun you can create a memorable Valentine’s Day for your entire family.

 


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5 Favorite Homeschool Activities

Sometimes (ok, maybe a lot of the time) when you're in the homeschool trenches the last thing you are thinking is, "Gosh, are my kids having fun with their schoolwork today?"

I'm just being honest.

There were MANY a day when I just wanted to get through. We needed to do that math lesson, complete the history lesson, and check off the almighty boxes.

Who's with me?

Every now and then, however, I was reminded of this precious, important fact: homeschool is about the relationships. It is about wonder. It is about discovery. It is about FUN.

As I compiled this list I noticed each activity had something in common: none of them were part of a set "curriculum" we had been using. They were all interest led tangents (maybe related to something in our curriculum) where I simply followed my children's lead. If you give a child something to sink their teeth into I believe they will naturally want MORE.

5 Favorite Homeschool Activities

It is in those moments that the real learning occurs, and in our homeschool it was where sweet memories were made.

As I asked my teens about this the other day, I asked them to tell me their FAVORITE things we'd done in our homeschool. Not only did this exercise do my heart good, but it motivated me to KEEP making those memories - and not to lose the wonder just because they are now teens.

I hope you can use a few of these in your own homeschool!


THUMBPRINT ART

 All of the Ed Emberley art books have been a hit in our homeschool.

For some reason, however, the thumbprint drawing book was the favorite. (My kids STILL get this one out to use!)

Maybe it was the HUGE stamp pad I let them get, or maybe it was the fact that I could just leave them alone for several HOURS and they were completely happy. Whatever the case, I recommend having this activity on hand for a rainy day or when your day is going south and you just want to SALVAGE what's left of it!

(I'm so glad I've blogged through most of our homeschool journey because I have tons of cute pictures like this one!)

Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing BookEd Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing BookEd Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing BookEd Emberley's Thumbprint Drawing Box/3 Paperbacks and an Ink PadMelissa & Doug Rainbow Stamp Pad - 6 Washable Inks

 


MAGNETIC SLIME

This activity had A LOT of educational value, plus it was just super fun. 

When were studying the Periodic Table this was one of those things that was sitting on my Pinterest board to try... I RARELY try things from Pinterest, but this time I wanted to be the FUN MOM. 

(I also think the Periodic Table Tiles I purchased were a HUGE hit - which my oldest is even using in Chemistry right now - a great investment.)

 

What I love about this was that we learned all about the Periodic Table first, and then used this as our culmination activity. 

(And then of course we went down the magnet rabbit trail, which led to another rabbit trail, etc..., etc...  You get the point!)

Science seems to lend itself to so many hands on activities, doesn't it?

ETA hand2mind Periodic Table Connecting Color Tile SetPainless Learning Periodic Table PlacematThe Periodic TableElements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the UniversePhotographic Card Deck of The Elements: With Big Beautiful Photographs of All 118 Elements in the Periodic TableThe Elements Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic TableUncle Goose Periodic Table Blocks - Made in USAEuroGraphics Periodic Table of Elements Jigsaw Puzzle (200-Piece)SPACECARE Magnetic Iron Powder for Magnet Education Iron Filing 12 ozNeodymium Disc Magnets, 5Pcs Powerful 1.26Solvang DIY Space Magnetic Silly Putty Slime Playdough magnetic rubber Mud Magnetic Creative Toys Hand Putty Intelligent Education Toys Clay With Magnet Metal Box and 4 Eyes (SET-A)What Makes a Magnet? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Purex Sta-Flo Liquid Starch, 64 Ounce

 


CANDY SHOP MATH

We literally opened a candy shop for one afternoon. I invited a few of our neighbor kids to come over after school and told them they didn't have to bring any money (we handed out play money at the door). 

It was a fabulous exercise in customer service, counting money, making change, and so much more!

Use these simple candy money cards and have fun! 

We followed up with some books about money and more activities making change, etc... There is so much you can do with a play cash register and play money!

Learning Resources  Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register, 73 PiecesEducational Insights Play Money - Coins & Bills TryMelissa & Doug Play Money Set - Educational Toy With Paper Bills and Plastic Coins (50 of each denomination) and Wooden Cash Drawer for StorageLearning Resources Play Money, 150 PiecesOne Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and SenseDK Workbooks: Money Math, Third GradeThe Lemonade War (The Lemonade War Series Book 1)

 


THE STORY ABOUT PING

Every book we read with Five in a Row proved to be a treasured memory. One of the selections that most stuck out to my children was The Story About Ping. 

Looking back, I think it was the special time we took to GET OUTSIDE and learn that stuck with my kids.

During one of our days rowing the book we went to a local lake and read The Story About Ping, along with some other books about ducks.  We fed the ducks, watched them PREEN themselves (preen was one of the vocabulary words from that unit which my kids will never forget the meaning of!), and drew pictures of the ducks.

We had a picnic lunch, played on the playground by the lake and just enjoyed learning. 

I just remember the sweetness that went along with this particular day - singing "5 Little Ducks" and all of the giggles. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Homeschool at its very finest, yes?

 

The Story about PingFive in a Row (Five in a Row): Volume 1Ducks Don't Get WetI Wish That I Had Duck Feet (Beginner Books)Five Little Ducks (Raffi Songs to Read)The Little Duck (Pictureback(R))

 


UNIFIX CUBES

I consider it a huge success that a math activity made it into the top five of my children's homeschool memories!

God bless my sweet friend who dropped off a huge bag of Unifix Cubes she had picked up at a garage sale! 

I began to research what we could do with these things (I had no idea at first) - and then I let my very creative third grader take it from there. Pretty soon she was teaching her 5 year old brother addition and subtraction. He was learning math facts and she was making her math facts more automatic by "quizzing" her little brother.

Perfect.

I cannot tell you how much we used those Unifix Cubes over the years - or how many hours my kids spent "playing math" with them and our various sets of flashcards. 

Sometimes you just need to leave your children alone and they come up with the very best activities.

(Don't even get me going on the world of Unifix Cubes and activities - we could get lost in it for days!)

 

Learning Resources Interlocking Gram Unit Cubes, Set of 1,000Unifix Cubes - Package of 300 - 10 ColorsETA hand2mind Linking UniLink Cubes (Set of 500)Didax Educational Resources Unifix Cubes for Pattern Building Set (240 Pack)Didax Unifix Cubes, Set of 1000Didax Educational Resources Unifix Attribute Pattern KitDidax 2-920 Unifix Early Pattern Books, 1Mathematics activities for home schooling with Unifix cubes: Preschool to grade 4Star Right Multi Math Flashcards Pack - Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, & Division - 1 Ring and 52 Hole Punched Cards Per Set - 208 Cards TotalTrend Enterprises Math Operations Flash Cards Pack - Set of 4

 


I'd love to hear about a favorite homeschool activity your children remember. 

Ask them, and then leave me a comment about their answers!

The Homeschool Trap (and how we're falling into it)

I've long been a proponent of staying in your own lane - in homeschooling and in life. The longer our family educates at home the more this becomes our battle cry. 

Autonomy. Freedom. Choice. Flexibility.

When we abandoned the "ideal" of public school it was immensely refreshing to immerse ourselves in the homeschool world. It took me at least a year before I realized we didn't have to do "school" at home and to truly embrace the lifestyle of interest led learning and wonder.

I've now been in the homeschool world a good amount of time, and I've discovered a disturbing trap - that I actually fell into for a period of time.

When I realized I was in the trap it felt a lot like when I had realized we were in the trap of public school.

 

The Homeschool Trap We Are Falling Into - and We Can Avoid It

The Homeschool Trap

I'm sure this isn't going to be a popular statement. 

Too many of us aren't staying in our own lane. We are too worried about what our homeschool friends are doing. We are too enamored with the latest program, popular method, or (dare I say) the blog with the largest following.

Here's a good analogy: Do you remember the economic collapse about 10 years ago? A few years prior to that time my husband (then a counselor with a non-profit financial counseling agency) saw it coming and told me, "Mary, people have to stop keeping up with the Joneses, because guess what? The Joneses are BROKE."

Homeschoolers are falling into the same trap. We're trying to keep up with everyone else and it's to the detriment of our children.

There. I said it. 

We are falling into the trap of following the crowd, being ruled by conformity and in many cases, fear.

 


Examples of The Trap

Lest you think I am picking on anyone in particular, I'm going to use MYSELF as an example. Here is how I fell into the trap.

We had been homeschooling for many years and then my oldest got to high school. We made the decision to join Classical Conversations - a good decision for her 7th and 8th grade years. Without re-hashing the story too much (if you want to read about it you can see my post on how we lost the wonder in high school), I decided to follow the crowd and blindly follow the program for her high school years.

This was entirely MY FAULT. No one twisted my arm. 

The Homeschool Trap We Are Falling Into - and How to Avoid It

I was too worried about what everyone else would think if we jumped ship. How could I abandon this beautiful model that was so popular? CC communities were sprouting up all over the place - surely something must be wrong with US if I felt the need to make a change. 

Why weren't we like the OTHER homeschoolers we knew? 

You might be falling into a similar trap if:

  • You find yourself reading blogs and social media accounts and putting their advice over listening to your own heart. 
  • You make a homeschooling decision based on what most of your friends are doing.
  • You make a homeschooling decision based on FEAR - fear of your child not reading "when they are supposed to", fear of not being "on grade level" (whatever that means), fear of not getting into college - fear of not being accredited - fear of not being in the fear of any number of things.
  • You don't consult with your child and truly LISTEN to them on a regular basis. 

 

Do you see that when you fall into this trap you are right back where many of you probably started - conforming in public schools and frustrated because you're child's best interests are not being served? 


 

How to Avoid the Trap

These years are too precious to waste them. In my experience you can avoid falling into the trap by doing several things:

  • LISTEN to your child. Become a student of your child. Know intimately what their particular bent is. Know what motivates them. Know what they love. The schooling should reflect that. 
  • Put on your BLINDERS. Yes, it's fine to get ideas from friends and to learn from them. But remember - they are not your child's parents. Even if you have been homeschooling along the same path as someone else for many years, sometimes things change. Children change. Don't ever compare your child to another child - or your homeschool to someone else's. 
  • Pray. As God to direct your homeschool every step of the way. I find myself constantly asking God for help and guidance multiple times a day. Let HIS be the first voice that directs you.
  • Educate yourself. Study what's out there - know the ins and outs of math programs. Know about the local homeschool opportunities in your area. Avail yourself of everything possible, because you never know when you might need it. Read. Homeschooling is a full time job! You need to be able to make an informed choice, with your child's best interest in mind.
  • Be present. It sounds so trite. Are you really PRESENT with your children? Are you learning with them? Are you fully involved in homeschool or are you trying to "fit it in" with your housework or hanging out on Facebook?  Make time for homeschool. It's important.
The Homeschool Trap and How to Avoid It

I enjoy having regular dates with my children to listen to their feelings about how things are going. 

In a recent Starbucks date my son shared his interest in architecture with me - and we talked about how we could design a high school education around this interest. He was so pleased to have me LISTEN to him. I felt like we were truly partners in his education. 

I missed this step in middle school with my daughter. I was too busy dictating what I thought she should do (based on what everyone else around us was doing). I'm making up for lost time with her now.

Obviously, it has taken me time to get to this place. It takes faith and trust to walk this road.

We are taught to trust the "experts" - when in actuality we should be listening to God and trusting that still small voice that is the Holy Spirit.

Thank goodness for grace.


Recent Resources Keeping Me Out of The Trap

Many of you who follow the blog know that I've been reading A LOT the past few years! 

Because we are knee deep in high school with one and have another approaching soon I've been doing reading in this area:

The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of DistractionRecovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian EducationExcellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful LifeWhere You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions ManiaThe End of Education: Redefining the Value of School

 

It is a brave thing to have courage to be an individual; it is also, perhaps, a lonely thing. But it is better than not being an individual, which is to be nobody at all.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

Have you found yourself falling into this homeschool trap? Care to share how? 

 

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