GLOB Natural Easter Egg Coloring Kit — Eco-Friendly Fun With No Artificial Dyes

Easter eggs dyed with GLOB natural dyes

With the GLOB Natural Easter Egg Coloring Kit, families can quickly and easily dye eggshells in a rainbow of colors using non-toxic paints composed of all-organic ingredients from herbs and plants. Instead of having to do the work of tracking down recipes, purchasing flowers and vegetables, and struggling to make eco-friendly paints free of any artificial dyes or chemicals themselves, parents can simply mix the three powdered pigments from this kit with water (and possibly a little white vinegar) and start coloring eggs right away.

contents GLOB Natural Easter Egg Coloring Kit  natural Easter Egg dyes from GLOB

Each kit comes with three pigment packages, three compostable mixing cups, and three bamboo brushes. By adding a little water to the yellow annatto powder and a little water and white vinegar to the blue cabbage and purple radish powder, children produce three cups of color that should serve to dye at least 1 to 2 dozen eggs (we easily colored 3 dozen and had dye left over to spare).

Easter eggs dyed with GLOB pigments

Seconds after submerging an egg into a cup of dye, its shell has already soaked in a brilliant coat of color. Kids must turn the eggs from time to time to make sure the dye colors each shell evenly, or they can rotate the eggs only partially to create interesting layered effects.

Each egg will be thoroughly colored in 3 to 5 minutes. By leaving the eggs in the cups of dye for longer or shorter amounts of time, kids can create darker or lighter shades of color. By letting eggs dry and then submerging them in a second color of dye, children can make a rainbow of additional colors.

By themselves, the three original dyes make yellow or orange (depending on how much water is added to the yellow annatto pigment), blue, and magenta-red. Children can also make green (yellow + blue), earth orange (a brown mixed from yellow + purple), and plum (blue + red).

using natural GLOB dyes to color Easter eggs decorating Easter eggs GLOB natural paints

Children can experiment with drawing on the eggshells with white or colored crayons or wrapping the eggs with rubber bands to create different patterns on their sides. Children can also skip the dyeing process entirely and instead paint tiny pictures on the shells using the included bamboo brushes.

Easter eggs decorated GLOB natural paints

Advantages to Using the GLOB Easter Egg Dye Kit

Overall, GLOB Easter egg dyes were very easy to use and created a palette of brilliant and bright colors without taking too much time or effort.

  • Quick to use: Unlike the eco-kids eco-eggs coloring kit, which can require eggs to stay in the dye for 10–15 minutes until they are colored, this GLOB kit can color eggs brightly in seconds. Easter eggs colored with GLOB natural paints
  • Large number of colors: It is also not too difficult to plan ahead and wait a few minutes for eggs to dry before dyeing them with a second color to create the entire range of possible colors. The colors themselves can be almost as bright as those from a commercial kit, with the magenta and yellow eggs being particularly vivid.
  • Gluten-free and made with non-toxic, natural ingredients: Composed of common seeds and plants, these botanical pigments are perfect for parents concerned about exposing their children to artificial dyes or chemicals. When any dye seeps through the shell into the egg itself, kids will end up eating nothing more harmful than a little fruit juice. using GLOB natural paints to paint
  • Vegan: Even the bristles on the bamboo brushes are composed not of animal hair, but of a special allergy-free synthetic fiber.
  • Eco-friendly: The packaging is biodegradable and made from recycled paper and vegetable and soy inks. The mixing cups are made from compostable corn.
  • Multi-purpose: We were able to use our left-over dye for a separate painting project. The water-soluble dyes showed up bright and vivid on paper.
  • Made in the USA: This product is manufactured in California.

Disadvantages to Using the GLOB Easter Egg Dye Kit

  • High price: Retailing for around $14, this kit is significantly more expensive than a commercial kit that comes loaded with at least 6–9 tablets full of artificial ingredients. Because of this cost, we were very careful not to spill the cups or waste any dye. natural dye Easter Eggs from GLOB
  • Small number of dye cups: One advantage to using a commercial kit is that kids can be coloring six to nine eggs at a time. Although the GLOB dyeing process itself does not have to take long, children will still have to practice sharing skills and have patience taking turns when using the three cups that come with this kit.
  • Possibility of limited colors: When mixing the yellow annatto pigment, kids must make a decision about whether to use more water to make it a yellow dye or less water to make it an orange dye. That said, kids can start by adding just a little water, dye many orange eggs, then add some more water to dilute it and easily dye many yellow eggs.

Parents can purchase this egg coloring kit from GLOB from their online store.

Eco-conscious families may also like to try growing their own Easter basket grass with a Spots and Ladybugs Easter Grass Kit.

naturally dyed Easter eggs GLOB

Best Children’s Picture Books That Retell the Australian Folktale Tiddalik the Frog

tiddalik the frog

The Australian traditional folk tale Tiddalik the Thirsty Frog can be used by parents and teachers to teach World Water Day or Earth Day lessons about water conservation, as well as social studies lessons about the importance of sharing and community life. There are several different picture book versions to choose from of this Australian aboriginal Dreamtime traditional folk tale about Tiddalick the frog.

The basic plot of this Australian folk tale is that a huge frog drinks up all the water in the land and the other animals in the community must make him laugh so that he will spit the water back out. In some versions, Tiddalik is grumpy or greedy, while in others he is merely thirsty and oblivious to the needs of others.

Here are some of the best picture book retellings:

The Biggest Frog in Australia and Tiddalick the Frog

In both The Biggest Frog in Australia by Susan L. Roth [Simon & Schuster: 1996; ISBN: 0-689-80490-3] and Tiddalick the Frog by Susan Nunes [Atheneum: 1989; ISBN: 0-689-31502-3], all attempts to get the big frog to laugh fail until a pair of eels (The Biggest Frog in Australia) or a single eel (Tiddalick the Frog) accidentally tie themselves up into knots. In both cases, Tiddalick finds this sight so funny that he laughs, and all the water comes rushing back out.

Both of these versions of this Australian folk tale are suitable for kids ages 4 to 8. Tiddalick the Frog is illustrated with watercolor pictures full of soothing pastel corals, yellows, blues, and (when the water returns) greens, while The Biggest Frog in Australia is illustrated with simple cut-paper collages made with papers collected from all over the world. The Biggest Frog in Australia also includes a glossary at the end to define Australian words such as billabong.

Tiddalik the Frog by Anne Faundez

In Tiddalik the Frog by Anne Faundez [QEB Publishing: 2004; ISBN: 1-59566-021-6], Tiddalik laughs at the sight of one eel just wriggling on his belly. This version is suitable for ages 4 to 8, but advanced 3-year-olds will enjoy the vibrantly colored illustrations and comic antics of the various animals as well. Tiddalik is big but not scary, and the animals, especially Little Eel, are cute and friendly looking. The last two spreads helpfully include reading comprehension questions and teaching notes for parents and teachers.

Hey, Frog! by Piet Grobler

Hey, Frog! by Piet Grobler [Hand Print: 1998; ISBN: 978-1886910843] changes the familiar Tiddalick story by setting it in the African savannah and making the cause of Frog’s laughter being that he is tickled by eels. The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are clever and funny (especially the sly look on Frog’s face as he slurps up more and more water through his straw), but this version contains some implied violence that might make it inappropriate for a younger audience. For example, Lion tries to scratch the water out of Frog, Crocodile tries to frighten Frog, and Crow curses at Frog (though the curses are not included in the text, just pictured as little barbed arrows). Overall, this version of the Australian traditional folk tale should be suitable for ages 4 to 8.

What Made Tiddalik Laugh by Joanna Troughton

In What Made Tiddalik Laugh by Joanna Troughton [Peter Bedrick Books: 1986; ISBN: 0-87226-081-X], it is the sight of the funny-looking platypus that finally makes the big frog laugh. This version is nicely illustrated, with detailed pictures in earth tones and subtly humorous expressions on the animals’ faces. However, some parents may find inappropriate the spread where the animals play nasty tricks on each other (like tripping each other and poking one another with sticks) to try to make Tiddalik laugh. In general, this book should also be suitable for kids ages 4 to 8.

Other Tiddalik the Frog Retellings

Enough versions of this charming Australian aboriginal tale exist that every family should be able to find one suitable for storytime. For a read-aloud version of the original folk tale, parents can check out “The Greedy Frog” in The Barefoot Book of Animal Tales retold by Naomi Adler [Barefoot Books: 1996; ISBN: 1-84148-941-7].

World Water Day, Earth Day, and Reading Lesson Plan Ideas

When creating specific extension activities and lesson plans based on this folktale, points to cover might include:

  • The effects of a drought on a land and the animals that live there.
  • Why animals and plants need water and how they use water.
  • What some sources of water are (lake, river, etc.).
  • How causes and effects are related (for example, a lack of water causes a drought; if the animals make Tiddalik laugh, he will let the water he guzzled up spill back out).
  • Information about water conservation for kids.
  • How the members of a community can and must work together so that everyone’s needs are met.
  • What different kinds of animals live in Australia (wombat, platypus, kangaroo, bandicoot, the original frog on which Tiddalik is based, etc.).
  • What this creation myth explains about the world.

Children may also enjoy watching the episode “Tiddalick the Frog” from the PBS Kids show Super WHY! and comparing and contrasting the way the same story is told using two different artistic mediums.

Activity Ideas for Madeline and the Easter Bonnet Cartoon

madeline doll easter bonnet

After watching the Easter-themed episode “Madeline and the Easter Bonnet” from the cartoon series Madeline, based on the classic books by Ludwig Bemelmans, parents can try out a variety of creative and fun activities to teach and entertain kids during this holiday season.

In this episode, Bon Bon the neighborhood milk-wagon mare will not budge a foot without wearing her favorite straw hat. Madeline and the rest of the girls (who, of course, live in an old house in Paris that is covered with vines and walk around in two straight lines) feel sorry that Bon Bon’s hat is not very pretty, so they borrow it and use ribbons, flowers, lace, and bows (each girl contributing) to transform it into a lovely new Easter chapeau.

Unfortunately, the hat blows away in the wind, and Madeline and the girls must find it or no one in Paris will receive their milk. Luckily, while delivering the milk for Bon Bon and Jacques (the milk man), Madeline discovers that the hat has blown into a French fashion shop where it has become all the rage. By the end of the episode, all the fashionable ladies of Paris are wearing copies of Madeline’s creation, the girls have had fun being hat models in a spring fashion show, and Bon Bon has been given the perfect hat for her.

Like the sweet Madeline books on which it is based, this cartoon show is charming and appropriate for children of all ages. Families to whom the religious aspect of Easter is important will appreciate the plot detail that the girls go to church to pray on Easter morning.

Plot Comprehension Activity – Identify Cause and Effect

Children can practice their ability to analyze a plot by identifying the cause-and-effect relationships in this Madeline cartoon. Remind kids that an effect is what happened and a cause is why it happened. Have children identify each cause-and-effect relationship on their own or prompt them by describing either a cause or effect and asking kids to supply the missing part. Examples to identify might include:

  • What happens if Bon Bon does not have her hat? (She will not move.)
  • What happens if Bon Bon does not move? (No one in Paris will have their milk delivered.)
  • What happens if the people of Paris do not receive their milk deliveries? (Babies, kids, and cats are hungry. The baker cannot bake.)
  • What problems does the runaway hat cause for people? (It makes the painter knock over his easel. It causes a traffic accident.)

Easter Art Activity for Kids – Make an Easter Bonnet

Once children have watched Madeline and her friends transform a plain straw hat into a unique Easter bonnet, provide children with art supplies to create their own Easter bonnets.

Children can construct their Easter hats a couple of ways:

  • Give children a straw hat and supplies such as ribbons, silk or paper flowers, lace, pieces of fabric, tin foil, crepe paper, gift-wrapping bows, small toys, and other decorative objects. Help younger children tape, tie, or glue the objects to their hats. Older children might be trusted to use needles and thread to sew their hats together.
  • Give children paper hats and supplies such as stickers, crayons, markers, foam shapes, glitter, and glue. Have children draw designs and glue objects to the paper hats to make their Easter bonnets.
  • For a lesson in creative upcycling, provide children with random materials from around the home that would otherwise by recycled or thrown away. Have children use these materials (used packing supplies, food containers, bubble wrap, fabric scraps, rubber bands, broken toy pieces, bottle caps, plastic jugs, old socks, etc.) to construct and decorate a fancy and unique Easter bonnet. After all, one theme of this episode is the value of making something old over into something new, as opposed to just tossing old things out.

Once children have finished their hats, have them dress in fancy Easter outfits and hold an Easter parade. Be sure to take pictures of children modeling their hats. For extra fun, children can pretend they run a millinery shop and make many different Easter hats to display in their shop windows.

As simpler alternatives:

  • Children can make a sketch book of their various designs.
  • Parents can draw an outline of the shape of Bon Bon’s original straw hat and children can use crayons, markers, pieces of construction paper, colored felt, ribbons, and other collage materials to decorate this paper hat picture.

Writing Activity – Write Instructions for Making an Easter Bonnet

Inspired either by their imaginations or by having created their own Easter bonnets, children can practice writing how-to directions by making a list of steps to follow to make a hat for Easter. Remind kids to include a list of the materials needed to make their hats, to put the steps to follow in order, and to use time-order words such as first, next, then, and finally.

Social Studies Activity – Learn About Paris Landmarks

Though simple, the lovely animation of this episode includes depictions of and references to such important Parisian landmarks as the Seine River, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Élysées. As with the original Madeline books, parents can use these references to teach children about Paris.

  • Use print or Internet resources to find photographs of these landmarks to share with children. Then watch the show and have children play a game where they search for and spot each one.
  • Have kids draw and label (with help as needed) their own version of each one of these Parisian landmarks on a set of blank index cards.
  • Flip through copies of the Madeline books to search the illustrations for renderings by Bemelmans of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, etc.

Social Studies Activity – Learn French Phrases

Sprinkled throughout the episode are various French words and phrases that kids (particularly fans of Fancy Nancy) may enjoy learning and trying out. For example:

  • chapeau (hat)
  • merci beaucoup (thank you very much)
  • lait (milk)
  • s’il vous plaît (please)
  • je regrette (I’m sorry)
  • oui (yes)

Have kids repeat each word and phrase and practice using them in conversation.

Watching this sweet Madeline cartoon is fun on its own, but trying out any of these activities can turn a passive viewing experience into an opportunity for active learning.

Activity Ideas for The Valentine Bears Lesson Plan

white paper valentine hearts on orange paper

A sweet story with a theme related to the act of caring for others, The Valentine Bears can be used as part of a Valentine’s Day lesson plan to improve the reading comprehension skills of early elementary students.

This year when Valentine’s Day arrives, Mrs. Bear plans to wake up from her winter hibernation to surprise Mr. Bear with some thoughtful gifts. Will Mr. Bear sleep through her celebration, or has he planned a surprise of his own?

The Valentine Bears is written by Eve Bunting with illustrations by Jan Brett [Scholastic: 1983; ISBN: 0-590-47073-6].

Reading Comprehension Activity – Ask and Answer Questions About Key Details

Introduce the book by displaying the front and back covers and reading the title. Invite children to share any prior knowledge they have about what a valentine is. Discuss what it means when two people decide they are “valentines” and ask children to use the cover illustrations to describe how they think these two bears probably feel about each other. (Remind children to point to specific details in the picture to support their ideas.)

As you read the story, pause to ask questions about key details for children to answer and allow kids to ask their own questions if they are confused by something. Encourage children to answer each other’s questions, but provide help as needed. Remind kids to use information from the text and illustrations to support their answers, especially ones where they are making inferences or predictions.

Questions children should be able to answer include:

Make Inferences: What are the bears preparing to do at the beginning of the story and why are they doing this? (They are settling down for four months of sleeping and will wake up in the spring, so they are preparing to hibernate for the winter.) [Children may need to be provided with some background information about the science of why bears hibernate.]

Make Predictions: Why do you think Mrs. Bear set her alarm early? (She is waking up on February 14, so perhaps she is preparing to celebrate Valentine’s Day.)

Make Predictions: Why do you think Mrs. Bear is glad Mr. Bear can sleep through just about anything? (She has things to do, so she is probably preparing a Valentine’s Day surprise for him.)

Make Inferences: Why do you think Mr. and Mrs. Bear have never shared a Valentine’s Day together? (They always sleep through winter, which is when this holiday takes place.)

Identify Important Details: What are some things Mrs. Bear does to prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Mr. Bear? (She makes a sign, she sets out a honey pot and a bowl of Crispy Critters, she brings out two Valentine poems she has written for him.)

Make Predictions: What do you think Mrs. Bear is going to do with the berry can full of water? (She might try to splash the water on Mr. Bear to wake him up.)

Identify Important Details: How did Mr. Bear fool Mrs. Bear? (He pretended to be asleep so that he could surprise her with the fact that he, too, had prepared a present for Valentine’s Day.)

Reading Comprehension Activity – Analyze Characters

Have children use details from the story to analyze the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Bear. Ask kids to identify who the characters are and use the things they say, think, and do to describe their personalities and their relationship. As needed, prompt children by pointing out details in the story and asking kids what each detail tells the reader about the bears, such as the fact that they both know each other’s favorite food and they both bother to prepare a Valentine’s Day surprise for each other. Other details to examine might include how Mr. Bear pretends to be asleep so he can tease Mrs. Bear and the things Mrs. Bear writes on her sign and cards.

Language Arts Activity – Analyze Figurative Language

The rich language from this book can be used to provide children with examples of several types of descriptive and figurative language. Work with children to find and discuss the effect of each kind of language listed below.

Vivid verbs: Point out that using descriptive action verbs such as cuddled, stretched, scratched, tacked, sleeked, pawed, and boomed helps the reader picture the action of the story more clearly.

Imagery: The descriptions Mrs. Bear uses in her valentine cards appeal to the senses by telling about the color of the berries, the taste of termites, how the teeth feel, and how the claws look. Other examples of Eve Bunting’s use of sensory language in this book include fruity and rich and smelled of summer and crunchy dried.

Alliteration: Work with kids to locate examples of sets of words where the initial consonant sounds repeat, including snug and secure, beetles and bugs, and Crispy Critters.

Simile: One example of a comparison between two things using like or as is the sun shone through a haze, pale as milk. Have kids compare the two things being compared (sun, milk) and discuss the picture painted by this comparison.

Personification: One example of inanimate objects being treated as if they could think and act like people is The arms of the trees scratched at the sky. Talk about the visual image created by this description and what it helps the reader understand about the setting.

Make Connections – Illustrator Study

After illustrating this Valentine’s Day book by Eve Bunting, Jan Brett went on to have a thriving career as an illustrator of her own books. Children can practice making text-to-text connections by comparing the style of the illustrations in this book both to the art in Brett’s previous collaboration with Eve Bunting (St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning) and to the full color paintings that illustrate her own works. Focus on ways the art is alike and different, including how she draws her animal protagonists, the color palettes she uses, the materials she uses to make the pictures, and her use of design elements such as borders or inset pictures.

Writing Activity – Write a Valentine’s Day Card

Children can analyze the cards Mrs. Bear makes for Mr. Bear and use them as a model for writing their own cards for friends or family. Points to discuss with kids include:

  • the rhyme scheme that Mrs. Bear uses. (Both cards follow ABAB form.)
  • the idea of adapting a well-known poem to create your own. (The first card is patterned after the classic verse “Roses are red, violets are blue…”)
  • the types of sentiments a writer might include in a valentine. (Both cards focus on things Mrs. Bear likes about Mr. Bear, such as his sweet nature, his sharp teeth, and his fine claws.)

After kids compose their own verses for a valentine, point out that they can also use the illustrations of the cards in the book as a model for crafting their own cards, noting details such as how Mrs. Bear used ribbon and fancy lace for trim and berries and hearts for decoration.

Align with Common Core State Standards

If it is necessary to do so, this Valentine’s Day themed lesson plan is easily more formally aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

  • For CCSS RL.1.1, have kids ask and answer questions about key details in the story such as why the bears are sleeping, why Mrs. Bear wakes up early, what Mrs. Bear does to prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and how Mr. Bear reacts to Mrs. Bear’s attempt to surprise him.
  • For CCSS RL.1.2, have kids use their understanding of the plot to retell the events of the story and identify its theme, or its main message. When boys and girls are identifying the theme, suggest that they keep in mind the relationship between the bears, what they do for one another, and why they do these things.
  • For CCSS RL.1.3, make sure boys and girls can identify story elements including the setting (the time and place when the story takes place); the characters; what happens during the beginning, middle, and end of the story; and the story’s problem and solution (Mrs. Bear’s attempt to prepare a Valentine’s Day surprise for Mr. Bear and what he does to turn the tables on her in a fun way).
  • For CCSS RL.1.4, use the Analyzing Figurative Language Activity from above to help kids practice identifying examples of descriptive phrases and sensory words from this text.
  • For CCSS RL.1.5 and CCSS RL.1.6, check that children can identify this book as a work of fiction and cite evidence for why they think as they do (for example, its characters include talking bears who act like people instead of the way bears in real life would) and whether they can identify who is telling the story (an outside narrator who does not appear in the story).
  • For CCSS RL.1.7, have children examine Jan Brett’s characteristically detailed illustrations and point out places that provide them with information about the setting (the cave and forest, how the trees change from being covered with autumn leaves to being covered with snow), characters (the clothes the bears wear and the expressions on their faces), and the story events (how the illustrations match what the text says or provide additional information about what is happening).
  • For CCSS RL.1.9, have children volunteer the titles of similar stories they have read or read another such story to them and practice comparing the characters and situations from the two stories. Similar stories might include ones where one character plans a Valentine’s Day surprise or makes a special card for another character.

Activity Ideas for Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! Lesson Plan

art supplies for making valentines

When February rolls around, preschoolers and kindergartners may be making valentines for the very first time. Parents and teachers can use Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff with illustrations by Felicia Bond [Balzer + Bray: 2009; ISBN: 978-0-06-180432-8] in a literature-based art lesson plan to help children design valentine cards for friends and family members.

Pieced together by combining art from other books from the If You Give… series with a new storyline, and starring the beloved main character from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, this cute picture book explores how and why Mouse makes valentines for all of his friends.

Reading Comprehension Activity – Preview Pictures to Make Predictions

Introduce the book to kids by displaying the front cover and reading the title. Invite children to share any prior knowledge they have about what Valentine’s Day is and how people celebrate it. Have kids identify the shape that Mouse is holding and the relationship between it and Valentine’s Day. Then have boys and girls name the other objects shown in the cover picture (glitter, pencil, paper, etc.) and explain what they think Mouse is doing.

Flip through the remainder of the pictures in the book to preview them. Then invite children to predict what this book will be about. Remind kids to listen carefully as you read to check to see if their predictions were correct or not.

Reading Comprehension Activity – Analyze and Retell Plot

As you read, pause to ask questions about key details for kids to answer and allow children to pose their own questions about details that confuse them. For example, ask questions such as:

  • What is Mouse making for all of his friends?
  • What are Mouse and the friend on this page doing?
  • What is this friend good at?
  • What can’t Mouse wait to do?

Make Predictions: When you reach the point in the story when Mouse has finished all of his valentines, pause and have children predict who is at the door and what they think will happen next in the story.

Draw Conclusions: Have kids draw a conclusion about what Mouse’s friends are bringing him and why. Invite children who have read about Mouse in other books to share how Mouse feels about cookies. Help boys and girls see that just as Mouse made special cards for his friends, his friends are bringing him a special present related to something they know he likes—cookies.

Before asking children to retell the plot, have them identify the characters or who is in the story (Mouse, Pig, Moose, Cat, Dog, Bunny, Fox), the setting (inside and outside a house), and the major events. Note how the first group of events follow a similar pattern (Mouse makes a card for each friend) while the final event turns the tables and has Mouse’s friends arrive with a gift for him.

Appeal to kinesthetic learners by having kids retell the plot through role-play. Assign the parts of Mouse and the other characters and have Mouse and each friend act out what that friend likes to do or is good at. Then have all of the friends act out presenting Mouse with his present of Valentine cookies.

[Common Core State Standards CCSS RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.K.3]

Reading Comprehension Activity – Analyze Illustrations

Have kids examine the illustration on the first page and identify clues that tell them what is going on—for example, the heart on the 14th of the calendar on the wall and the note to “make cards” on the preceding days on the calendar.

On the subsequent spreads for Pig, Moose, Cat, Dog, Bunny, and Fox, have children describe what is shown in each case (a valentine Mouse has made for this friend and the friend enjoying a favorite activity) and explain the relationship between the valentine and the friend (Mouse makes valentines that are decorated like the friend’s favorite activity—for example, Pig’s card has a musical note on it because she likes to dance).

As necessary, prompt children with questions such as What is shown on the valentine card? What does this friend like to do? How does the card remind you of what the friend likes to do? and provide them with a sentence frame to complete such as [Friend] likes to [activity], so Mouse put a [design element] on [Friend’s] Valentine’s Day card.

Finish by having kids explain how these illustrations help them follow the story. For example, ask: How do the pictures help you understand what Mouse is doing in this story better? (Each picture shows the kind of valentine Mouse is making for a friend and why he made the valentine this way.)


Reading Comprehension Activity – Identify Cause and Effect

Mouse surely likes his friends for many reasons, but this book focuses on one particular reason in each case. Use these clearly stated reasons to help boys and girls practice identifying causes and effects.

Use the terms cause and effect with older children, but for younger children say that you will be discussing what happened and why it happened. Make a two-column chart with the headings What Happened and Why It Happened and then work with children to fill it out together. (Skip Fox because Mouse loves her even though she is bad at hiding.)

What Happened Why It Happened
Mouse loves Pig. Pig is a good dancer.
Mouse loves Moose. Moose is a good artist.
Mouse loves Cat. Cat is so strong.
Mouse loves Dog. Dog is always happy to see friends.
Mouse loves Bunny. Bunny is good at hide-and-seek.

Art Activity – Make a Valentine’s Day Card

After reading about how Mouse makes personalized cards for each of his friends, preschoolers and kindergartners may be inspired to make their own cards for family and friends.

  1. Have kids pick a person for whom they will make a card.
  2. Have kids think about what they like most about this person. What does this person like to do? What is this person good at doing? What does the child like to do with this person?
  3. Have kids brainstorm how they can draw or design something that celebrates why they love their chosen person. Use the book’s illustrations as inspiration for clever designs—for example, how Mouse hides a cut-out paper heart in a pocket to symbolize how good Bunny is at hide-and-seek.
  4. Provide kids with colored paper, tissue paper, glitter, glue, stickers, crayons, markers, pencils, and other art supplies and let them make valentines for their loved one.
  5. Invite kids to share their finished valentines with the class and explain why they designed them as they did.

With this simple but Common Core-aligned Valentine’s Day lesson for preschoolers and kindergartners, parents and teachers can provide kids both reading comprehension practice and a focus for a creative and seasonal art activity. Use the cute children’s book If You’ll Be My Valentine for more activities related to making valentine cards suited to different loved ones.

The Best Groundhog Day Books for Children

drawing of a groundhog

From funny children’s picture books starring groundhogs to engaging nonfiction books that teach about this interesting American tradition, these are some of the best Groundhog Day books for children. Parents and teachers can use these suggestions as quick entertaining read-alouds or as part of more structured literature-based lessons for this February holiday.

Children’s Fiction Books About Groundhog’s Day

Come February 2, parents and teachers can use these Groundhog Day stories with boys and girls to talk about themes such as overcoming fears, fulfilling responsibilities, cooperating with others, and solving problems. From them, you can also bridge to science lessons (about topics such as recognizing signs of spring, how people predict the weather, how and why animals hibernate, and the characteristics and life cycles of groundhogs) or social studies lessons about how people celebrate special days.

A charming story with acrylic and ink illustrations that perfectly capture the feel of a snow-filled winter’s day, Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby with illustrations by Carmen Segovia [Sterling: 2011; ISBN: 978-1-4027-4336-8] uses the event of a groundhog spying her shadow to kick off the tale of two creatures who begin as adversaries and then bond over how hard it is to wait for something, especially spring.

In Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off by Pat Stemper Vojta with illustrations by Olga Levitskiy [Raven Tree Press: 2010; ISBN: 978-1-934960-79-0], Mr. Groundhog, tired of being blamed for a late spring, tries to find a friend to take his place on Groundhog Day. Though all of his friends turn out to be either unwilling or unable to stand in his place, they do provide him with the encouragement and the props he needs to perform his duties after all.

Comprehensively educational and uniquely entertaining, Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub with illustrations by Kristin Sorra [G. P. Putnam’s Sons: 2009; ISBN: 978-0-399-24659-3] combines a graphic novel storyline about a school for teaching groundhogs to predict the weather accurately with clever illustrations including diagrams, maps, charts, and sidebars. Every kid from preschoolers to early elementary students will enjoy learning facts about the seasons, shadows, ways things found in nature predict the weather, and groundhogs.

A bouncy read-aloud that will appeal to kids as young as toddlers, Ten Grouchy Groundhogs by Kathryn Heling with illustrations by Deborah Hembrook [Cartwheel: 2009; ISBN: 978-0-545-13414-9] uses rhyming text, active verbs, and alliteration to narrate how ten groundhogs exit their den one by one and then dive back in, grouchy no more, after seeing their shadows.

In Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts with illustrations by Lorinda Bryan Cauley [Henry Holt and Company: 2008; ISBN: 978-0-8050-8280-7], Grampie decides to retire and pass his job down to one of his grandchildren. After some squabbling, Gregory is chosen, but in the end he finds that he needs help from his twin sister, Greta, to do the job properly.

When Groundhog gets sick in the cute and quirky story Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller with illustrations by Kathi Ember [Albert Whitman & Company: 2006; ISBN: 978-0-8075-7644-1], he must figure out which of his friends has the necessary characteristics to be able to perform his job in his place. In a surprise ending, visiting Armadillo turns out to be the perfect stand-in. Parents and teachers can use this story to teach problem-solving strategies, how to compare and contrast animals, and how to make predictions.

Full of a mischievous spirit that many young children will be able to relate to, Groundhog refuses to go hibernate when he is supposed to in Groundhog Stays Up Late by Margery Cuyler with illustrations by Jean Cassels [Walker & Company: 2005; ISBN: 0-8027-8940-4]. Like the Grasshopper in Aesop’s fable, Groundhog spends his time playing instead of preparing for hibernation, and he resorts to tricking his friends and pretending that spring has come early once he becomes hungry and in need of shelter. Parents and teachers can use this story to help children practice analyzing characters and to discuss themes such as fairness and what it means to be a friend.

Though the position has always been held by boys before, through perseverance and the use of her keen senses, Phyllis convinces her Uncle Phil to appoint her the next groundhog to predict the weather in Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill with illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler [Holiday House: 2005; ISBN: 0-8234-1872-3].

Unable to settle to sleep, the hero of the very funny Go to Sleep, Groundhog! by Judy Cox with illustrations by Paul Meisel [Holiday House: 2004; ISBN: 0-8234-1645-3] keeps popping out of bed to experience the various fall and winter holidays that he usually sleeps through. Kids will enjoy seeing him tucked back into bed by a witch, a turkey, and even Santa Claus, and parents and teachers can teach information about Groundhog Day itself by using the final event and an informative author’s note at the book’s end as a jumping-off point for further discussion.

In The Secret of the First One Up by Iris Hiskey Arno with illustrations by Renée Graef [NorthWord Press: 2003; ISBN: 1-55971-867-6], a little girl groundhog learns from her Uncle Wilbur that she will discover the truth behind an important family secret if she is the first one to wake up in spring. Suitable for preschoolers, kindergartners, and early elementary students, this picture book can be used as a focus for lessons discussing science topics such as hibernation, the first signs of spring, and whether or not groundhogs are accurate in predicting when spring will come. It ends with an author’s note about the historical traditions behind this holiday.

In this warm and thoughtful tale published years after his death, author-illustrator Don Freeman tells the story in Gregory’s Shadow [Viking: 2000; ISBN: 0-670-89328-5] of how Gregory relies on his friend Shadow to feel brave but must deal first with being separated from Shadow and then with figuring out how to stay near Shadow yet not disappoint the farmers by telling them that spring will be late.

Like her ancestors before her, the heroine of Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day! by Abby Levine with illustrations by Nancy Cote [Albert Whitman & Company: 1998; ISBN: 0-8075-3058-1] must find the courage to Go Out on February 2, moving this tale beyond a simple look at what a groundhog does on Groundhog’s Day to an exploration of how people feel when needing to overcome the fear of trying something new for the first time.

An older, out-of-print cumulative tale, Wake Up, Groundhog! by Carol Cohen [Crown: 1975; ISBN: 0-517-516934] uses gentle humor and entertaining onomatopoeia to narrate the lengths to which Mr. Groundhog’s new neighbor Miss Pigeon goes to try to wake him up before learning that is the season of spring, not a collection of clocks and bells, that will rouse this kind of mammal.

Children’s Nonfiction Books About Groundhog’s Day

Stock a home or classroom library with a few of these nonfiction picture books and either read excerpts from them or allow kids to do their own research to learn more about subjects such as the history of traditional festivals scheduled to mark the coming of spring, other animals believed to be able to predict the weather, how the real mammals we call groundhogs (or woodchucks or whistling pigs or marmots) live, the turning of the seasons, and weather forecasting.

Groundhog Day from the Pebble Plus: Let’s Celebrate Series [by Clara Cella; Capstone Press: 2013; ISBN: 978-1-4296-8731-7] uses large photographs and simple text to cover not just what happens during this February holiday but specifically why the day is important and how people celebrate it. Nonfiction text features include a table of contents, headings, a pronunciation key, a glossary, and an index. Content covered includes what a rodent is and what people in old Europe did during Candlemas. This book works well to introduce younger children to basic concepts about the holiday and can also be read aloud easily by beginning readers.

Small-sized for little hands but packed with rich information carefully written to be understandable by early readers, Groundhog Day from the Rookie Read-About Holidays series [by Michelle Aki Becker; Children’s Press: 2003; ISBN: 0-516-25883-4] provides a nice introduction to the holiday for kindergartners and early elementary students. Nonfiction text features include maps, pronunciation keys, photographs, illustrations, a picture glossary, and an index. Topics covered include a few facts about groundhogs, what happens when Phil does or does not see his shadow, and some information about Punxsutawney.

Groundhog Day from the Celebrations in My World series [by Lynn Peppas; Crabtree Publishing Company: 2011; ISBN: 978-0-7787-4926-4] presents facts about the holiday in a slightly more complex way, mixing a great amount of text with photographs, captions, a map, and fact boxes. It also contains a table of contents, headings, a quiz, a glossary, and an index. Topics covered include the life of a groundhog, hibernation, the season of winter, Candlemas customs, Punxsutawney Phil and the community in which he lives, similar celebrations related to predicting the coming of spring, and even the Bill Murray movie.

As beautifully illustrated as her other nonfiction works, Gail Gibbons’ Groundhog Day! [Holiday House: 2007; ISBN: 978-0-8234-2003-2] skips a bit back and forth between various topics, covering the history of spring festivals in vague outline, going into more detail about how and where groundhogs live, discussing what happens in Punxsutawney on February 2 (revealing the artifice behind the tradition), and touching on some ways kids might celebrate this special day. Nonfiction text features include labels, captions, cross-section diagrams of a groundhog’s skull and a typical burrow, maps, and a series of illustrated facts about Groundhog Day and groundhogs.

The engaging text and cartoony illustrations of The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old with illustrations by Paige Billin-Frye [Albert Whitman & Company: 2004; ISBN: 978-0-8075-3066-5] help entertain kids while they learn detailed science and social studies information about the life cycle of groundhogs, hibernation, the cycle of the seasons, traditional spring festivals, and the history of how the holiday of Groundhog Day started. Dense with information, it is best shared as a series of read-alouds spread out over several days or as a resource for researching Groundhog’s Day topics. Features include a table of contents, silly groundhog riddles, and a chapter full of ideas for a Groundhog’s Day party (crafts for Groundhog Day, games, science activities, and so on).

Enrichment Activities for an If You’ll Be My Valentine Lesson Plan

paper and crayon heart card for valentine's day

The sweetly poetic children’s picture book If You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka [HarperCollins: 2005, ISBN: 0-06-009269-6] can be used for everything from a fun read-aloud for preschoolers to a focus for creative writing activities for kindergartners and early elementary school students.

The text of this book is made up of a series of poems, each one taken from a different valentine card that a little boy has made for various important animals and people in his life.

Reading Comprehension Activity – Identifying the Audience

Because each poem in this book is a valentine written for a different recipient, children can use each set of verses in an easy activity practicing the skill of identifying the intended audience of a written text. Suggest that children use clues such as the images drawn on each Valentine’s Day card, the picture of the author with the recipient, and the things the author describes in each card to guess who the recipient is and what his or her relationship is with the little boy. To challenge older children, read them each poem by itself and do not show them the pictures unless they need more clues.

Social Studies Activity – Why People Send Valentine Cards

Once kids have read the book once, use it as the focus for a short discussion about the reasons why people send Valentine’s Day cards and who they send them to. The discussion could cover such topics as who the important people are in kids’ lives, what feelings people usually describe in valentine cards, and what other things people might do to show that they care for one another.

Language Arts Activity – Analyzing Rhyme, Rhythm, and Pattern in a Poem

Because each poem follows a similar pattern, children can study and compare the poems to practice identifying and analyzing rhythm and rhyme in poetry.

  1. Copy out at least three or four of the poems.
  2. Have children count how many syllables are used in each line. Children may hold a hand under their chin while reading the lines aloud, or children can clap and count the syllables. Record the number of syllables next to each line and have children compare the beats per line in each poem. As an extension activity, have children identify the stressed and unstressed syllables.
  3. Read the poems aloud again and work with children to circle the rhyming words at the end of each line. After comparing at least three poems, note that the rhyming pattern the author is following is to rhyme the second and fifth lines each time.
  4. After children have identified the pattern of rhythm and rhyme these poems follow, identify any other rules the author seems to be following to write these valentines. Then challenge children to follow this pattern to write their own poems. Children should note that the first line of each poem is identical (If you’ll be my valentine) and that the second line always tells what the author will do in this case (I’ll [verb]…).

Writing Activity – Following a Pattern to Write Poetry

Once children have figured out the pattern that the author of these valentine poems is following, they can brainstorm ideas for and write their own poems.

  1. Have children identify the person or animal to whom each poem is addressed. Then ask kids to make a list of family members, friends, pets, and other people to whom they would like to send Valentine’s Day cards.
  2. Discuss the pattern of the poems in If You’ll Be My Valentine. Note how each set of verses describes an activity that the little boy would like to enjoy with the recipient. Point out how the drawing on the front of each card represents the activity.
  3. Have children choose a valentine and follow the pattern to write their own poem to this person or animal. Younger children can focus more on just following the “If you’ll…I’ll…” pattern, while older children can try to match their syllable count and rhyme scheme to those of the poems in this book.
  4. After children have finished writing and revising their poems, have kids fold a piece of cardstock in half, copy a neat version of their finished verses inside, and draw a picture on the cover to illustrate it.

For more literature-based educational Valentine’s Day activities for preschoolers and kindergartners, parents and teachers can use the children’s books Mouse’s First Valentine, Lilly’s Chocolate Heart, and A Circle Is Not a Valentine.

A Circle Is Not a Valentine Math Lesson Plan for Preschoolers and Kindergartners

painting valentine shapes

As part of a fun Valentine’s Day math lesson plan for preschoolers and kindergartners, parents and teachers can use H. Werner Zimmermann’s children’s picture book A Circle Is Not a Valentine [Oxford University Press: 1990; ISBN: 0-613-89279-8] to teach the shapes of squares, circles, triangles, and hearts, then assess what children have learned through a creative art project.

First, share the book with kids. Then, have boys and girls paint and label their own shapes to make a Valentine’s Day book, practice sorting the four shapes, and explore the concept of symmetry. Finally, children apply what they have learned to use these shapes to make valentine cards in a fun preschool Valentine’s Day craft activity.

How to Use the Book A Circle Is Not a Valentine with Preschoolers

Begin by inviting children to share any prior knowledge they have about shapes, Valentine’s Day, and shapes associated with Valentine’s Day. Then, display and discuss the book’s cover. Check to see if children can identify the shape shown on the painting (circle). Have children look for clues (paintbrush, easel) to help them predict what Alphonse will be doing in this book.

Next, read the book, stopping at times to do the following:

  • Point out the date February 14 on the title page and discuss its significance.
  • After Alphonse declares that a Valentine is special and says, “I love you,” have children share suggestions for what shape or picture can best tell someone you love them.
  • Have children identify each shape after Alphonse paints it but before he provides the correct name for it.

How to Teach Shapes by Making a Valentine’s Day Shapes Book

Provide each child with four sheets of paper. Depending on children’s ability levels and the available home or classroom supplies, kids can make a shape (square, circle, triangle, heart) on each sheet in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Have children trace cut-out shapes and then color them in or paint them.
  • Have children color in or paint stencil shapes.
  • Provide children with stamps for each shape.
  • Have children look at examples and then paint or draw the shapes freehand.

Once children have a page for each kind of shape, help them write the name for each shape beneath or provide them with already-written labels to stick beneath each shape. Then staple the sheets between two pieces of construction paper and have children use art supplies to decorate the cover.

Preschool Math Activity – How to Sort Shapes

Prepare for the sort by cutting many copies of the four shapes (square, circle, triangle, heart) out of construction paper. For an easy sort, cut out copies that vary only by shape, and are the same size and color. To make the sort more difficult for older children, cut out shapes of different sizes (small, medium, large) and colors (pink, red, white).

Give small groups or partners piles of the paper shape cut-outs, along with a blank sheet of paper. Have them sort the shapes into groups and then help them make a chart with headings for each group (children can draw a picture of each shape or shapes in the group that shows the attributes by which the shapes were sorted) and tally marks showing how many of each shape are in each group.

How to Use Shapes to Teach the Concept of Symmetry to Preschool Children

Without using the term symmetry, teachers can still introduce preschoolers to the concept of a shape being able to be folded into equal halves. Pass out one of each of the paper shapes to children. Demonstrate how to fold the heart equally in half. Challenge children to fold the square, circle, and triangle in half the same way (make sure that the paper triangle shape is equilateral or isosceles!).

Then, have kids use black crayons to draw a dotted line down the fold to identify the line of symmetry. Have older children experiment with folding the shapes and lead them into a discussion about how the heart only has one line of symmetry, while an (isosceles) triangle has two, an (equilateral) triangle has three, the square has four, and the circle has too many to be counted (an infinite amount).

Preschool Valentine’s Day Craft Activity

To conclude this preschool Valentine’s Day lesson plan, have children use what they have learned about shapes to make valentine cards to tell someone “I love you!” They can color the paper shapes from the sort and glue them to other sheets of folded paper. They can also draw these shapes or other shapes or stick down stickers shaped like squares, circles, triangles, and hearts. Once children are done, invite them to present their valentines to the class and explain why they used the shapes they did to say “I love you!”

For more literature-based educational Valentine’s Day activities for preschoolers and kindergartners, parents and teachers can use the children’s books Mouse’s First Valentine and Lilly’s Chocolate Heart.

Teach Art Elements Form and Space with Hearts as a Valentine’s Day Lesson Plan

colorful heart candy for Valentine's Day

Using the ideas in this Valentine’s Day elementary art lesson plan, parents and teachers can help children understand two of the seven elements of art — form and space. Kids will learn what each art element is and then use them to depict the same simple subject – the shape of a heart — by creating artworks in several Valentine’s Day art activities.

How to Teach the Art Element Form with Valentine Hearts

Begin by introducing the concept of form, or how a shape that takes up a flat, two-dimensional area can change into a form that takes up a filled-out, three-dimensional area. Pass around a handful of candy hearts and a few flat paper cutout hearts. Have students compare the two. Then, discuss how the paper hearts have two-dimensional shapes and the candy hearts have three-dimensional forms.

Have students experiment with form in a Valentine’s Day art activity by making their own three-dimensional valentine hearts out of flat pieces of cloth. Provide them with two heart shapes cut from fabric or felt. Have them sew the pieces together along the sides, leaving a hole at the tip for stuffing. Ask students to turn the sewn-together pieces inside-out, stuff the hearts with cotton batting, and then sew the hole shut to complete their three-dimensional stuffed fabric hearts.

Next, for a second Valentine’s Day art activity, provide students with three small lumps of red or pink modeling clay. Have them sculpt each lump into a different heart shape. For example, one heart might have straight sides, while another might have curvier sides. Or one heart might be tall and thin, while another might be short and squat. Once students are done, invite them to share their three-dimensional clay valentine hearts with the class and discuss the variety of forms a simple heart can take.

How to Teach the Art Element Space with Valentine Hearts

Once students understand that the form of an artwork’s subject is the area it takes up in three dimensions, discuss space (as it is used in pictures), or how an artist can create the illusion of a flat picture having three dimensions. Explain that although there are many ways to create the illusion of space in a flat artwork, this lesson will focus on two: overlapping items and drawing objects in perspective.

First, display a collection of flat, paper valentine heart cutouts in a variety of colors and sizes. Overlap and glue them down in a few different arrangements to demonstrate how the paper hearts in front now look closer, while the ones in back look farther away. Then, provide students with piles of paper valentine heart cutouts and have them experiment with overlapping and gluing them down to create their own illusions of three-dimensional space. Once students are done, invite them to share their pictures. Discuss the techniques students used and how well each worked at creating the illusion of space.

Next, for a final Valentine’s Day art activity, have students arrange in a small pile the clay hearts they sculpted during their exploration of the art element form. Provide them with good-quality paper and a pencil. Have them use shading and perspective to draw a picture of their clay hearts that makes the hearts look as if they have three dimensions.

Understanding how to create different forms is essential to making three-dimensional works of art. Understanding how to create the illusion of space is essential to making sophisticated pictures. Once children have learned about the art elements of form and space, they will be able to analyze other people’s artworks better. A practical knowledge of the art elements of form and space will also assist students in creating more developed artworks of their own.

By using the same shape – a Valentine heart – in elementary art lesson plans to teach the seven elements of art, teachers and parents can focus the attention of elementary students on similarities and differences between each element. Continue children’s introduction to the seven elements of art with Valentine’s Day elementary art lesson plans that use hearts to teach art elements line and shape, to teach art elements color and value, and a third that uses hearts to teach art element texture.

Teach Art Element Texture with Hearts as a Valentine’s Day Lesson Plan

two and three dimensional texture effects

Using the ideas in this Valentine’s Day elementary art lesson plan, parents and teachers can use heart shapes to teach the art element texture. First, introduce and define two-dimensional texture and three-dimensional texture. Then help kids gain experience with using the art element texture by having them create artworks in two Valentine’s Day art activities.

How to Teach the Art Element Two-Dimensional Texture with Valentine Hearts

Discuss how the texture of an artwork is the way its surface looks. Focus first on two-dimensional texture. Explain that a two-dimensional texture is created on a flat surface on which the artist designs regular patterns or otherwise draws lines, dots, streaks, and other marks. Sometimes the texture is meant to still look flat, while other times a texture creates the illusion of real depth.

Provide students with crayons and heart shapes cut from thin paper and have them go around the classroom or outside the school and make rubbings of different surfaces. Then, have small groups of students share their rubbings with each other and work together to come up with adjectives such as grainy, bumpy, rough, smooth, and dotted to describe each rubbing.

Next, provide students with markers or colored pencils and heart shapes cut from thick construction paper. Have students draw different kinds of lines, different arrangements of dots, or any other repeated pattern they can imagine. Invite students to present their patterns to the class and have the class work together to discuss and describe the different patterns and how they were created.

Finally, for a Valentine’s Day art activity exploring the effects an artist can create with two-dimensional textures, provide students with more paper cutout hearts along with tempera paints and various tools, such as toothbrushes, combs, plastic utensils, and small paint brushes. Have students use their fingers and the tools to experiment with creating various textures on the different paper cutout hearts.

As a focus for this activity, suggest that students try to use the colors of the paint and the different textures to convey different moods a heart might feel, such as anger, happiness, sadness, fear, loneliness, love, or nervousness. For example, a sad heart might be blue and covered with comb scratches, while a happy heart might be red and covered with thumbprints. Once students are done, group the hearts that were meant to convey the same emotions and discuss how different student artists used different colors and textures to express the same feelings.

How to Teach the Art Element Three-Dimensional Texture with Valentine Hearts

Once two-dimensional textures have been covered thoroughly, turn to three-dimensional textures. Discuss how three-dimensional textures pop out of a flat background into the third dimension of real life space. Sometimes they are meant to be felt, while other times the viewer experiences them only by looking at them.

Then, for a Valentine’s Day art activity exploring the effects an artist can create with three-dimensional textures, provide students with a variety of collage materials (with a variety of textures), such as tissue paper, foil, feathers, pom-pom balls, pipe cleaners, small pieces of cloth fabric or fake leather, corrugated cardboard, bubble wrap, small beads, tiny silk flowers, small rocks, uncooked pasta, or cotton balls.

Again, suggest that students make hearts to express different emotions, this time by gluing collage materials to cardboard heart cutouts to create different three-dimensional textures. Again, once students are done, group the hearts by emotion and discuss the different choices each artist made and techniques he or she used to convey each feeling.

Textures add a finished touch to artworks. Understanding how texture can be used to create different effects will help students interpret other people’s artworks better. Mastering the ability to create different textures will also assist students in creating more sophisticated effects in their own artworks.

By using the same shape – a Valentine heart – in elementary art lesson plans to teach the seven elements of art, teachers and parents can focus the attention of elementary students on similarities and differences between each element. Continue children’s introduction to the seven elements of art with Valentine’s Day elementary art lesson plans that use hearts to teach art elements line and shape, to teach art elements color and value, and to teach art elements form and space.