As an early childhood special educator, I am so nostalgic about Valentine’s Day activities in school! I have very distinct memories of creating my desk Valentine’s envelope and handing out my little cards. Parties with brownies, chips galore and Valentine’s Day themed activities all day was just so much fun. While I don’t get to plan an entire day in a classroom anymore, I always make sure to assemble The Autism Helper activities and bring them to homes and daycares with me to use with my families. Below are some of my favorites!
Basic Matching with Love: Activity: Valentine’s Day Match-Up
My objective with this activity is to develop visual discrimination and matching skills…but in a fun way! In the File Folder Activities for Valentine’s, you have your choice of multi-level heart themed skill practice! I don’t have access to a laminator big enough to do file folders currently, so I usually make them into one pager boards. This works out well because many of the kids I work with are so young and new at these basic skills that just having one board out a time makes activities feel less chaotic. I can also really hone in on the skill of matching. I will take each piece and show how I compare it the choices. I printed out the first set which has bigger shapes and a smaller field of choices. The hearts are still detailed so I make sure to point that out! Even if you go up a level, you can have some already filled in for your student and just work on a few to make it less overwhelming. Matching may seem like such a minute skill but it really lays the foundation for so much as children progress through school.
AB Patterns: Hearts in Order Activity
Teaching AB patterns is a foundational step in developing their cognitive and mathematical abilities. AB patterns, consisting of alternating elements like colors, shapes, or objects, help children recognize and predict sequences. By incorporating hands-on activities and visual aids, you can make learning AB patterns an enjoyable experience! I love using the pattern hearts from File Folder Activities for Valentine’s set. The ability to identify and create AB patterns lays the groundwork for more complex mathematical concepts. I like to start off with using real objects such as small colored blocks or counting bears as pictures can be more difficult and a step up!
Ordering Hearts Big to Small Activity
Introducing the concept of big to small is a fundamental aspect of their early cognitive development. Utilizing real-life objects, such as various-sized toys or classroom items, creates a tangible and interactive learning experience. By comparing and manipulating these objects, students can grasp the concept of size differences and understand the notion of big and small. Transitioning to pictures, especially in the context of Valentine’s Day with different-sized hearts, extends the learning visually…and is just even more fun! Using objects and pictures creates a multisensory approach which ensures a comprehensive understanding of the concept. Your students won’t even know they are working when you theme it out!
Wh-Adapted Book-Valentine Edition!
There are some resources that I describe as the “best bang for your skill buck”. What I mean by that are resources that hit multiple skills at one time! With that being said, you might also see some more frustration during these activities so take it one page at a time if you have to! Depending on the patience level of the child will determine how I approach this activity. For example, even though this little girl is just 3 years old, she can handle the whole board of pieces being set out. For other students, I may only bring out the 3 correct answers and show them how to match. I may also have most of the book completed and target just one of the descriptors such as the color or “what” question box. That is the beauty of these activities, you can adapt them to any skill level you are working on! This mom used great strategies such as thinking out loud and problem solving when the child was not able to identify the number after completing the sentence strip. Find the adapted book here.
Save yourself some time and head over to the Autism Helper shop and search “Valentines Day” for more activities including a class party set up, February Bingo & vocabulary and so much more! Happy Heart Day!