When you think of Valentine’s Day and how you show your love to your child, you might think of all the hugs and kisses you share. Children learn so much about the world around them through their sense of touch, sight, sound, smell, & taste. As parents, you are there to help put language to their experiences. Here are some fun ways to do this on Valentine’s Day!

Exploring Textures:

New Listeners: Use different types of fabric and rub them on your infant’s hands, feet, cheeks. As long as it is safe, you can even let them explore it with their mouth! While your little one is using his/her whole body to explore this new texture, describe how it might feel to them. Example: “This heart feels so soft! It feels soft on your toes (while rubbing on toes), it feels soft on your belly (while rubbing on belly) and it feels soft on your nose (while rubbing on nose) – soooo soft!

Experienced Listeners: Gather sand paper, bubble wrap, felt, Velcro, and other textured materials and let your little one help you cut it out into the shape of a heart. Work together to glue it onto cardboard or another sturdy type of paper to make their own Textured Heart Book. Encourage them to label the shape and describe what they are feeling. Example: “We are cutting a heart out of bubble wrap. This heart feels bumpy. Do you feel it? How does it feel to you? (pause) Yes, it feels like a bumpy heart.”

Exploring Colors:

New Listeners: As your child is beginning to listen, he/she is going to recognize that colors have different names. These names sound different and have different lengths. Here is an example of an activity that will encourage them to listen for these differences. Show your child two balls and label their colors, “Red. Purple” (try to choose two colors whose names different in number of syllables). Roll both the red and purple ball under the table and say, “Where is the red ball? Get the red ball!” You may have to help them find it and label it again, “Red ball. We found the red ball!”

Experienced Listeners: Play fun sorting and categorizing games with your child’s toys. While you are giving your child a bath, you can use items that are all the same color, such as a red washcloth, red cup, and red towel. Label the toys as you are washing, pouring, and drying during and after bath time. Another fun game is to sort your child’s toys by color during clean-up time. While you are cleaning put away all the toys that are the same color. “Let’s clean up the purple toys! Purple block, purple ball, purple truck. They are all purple!”