Our Playful Holiday Advent Calendar was such a hit with the kids, so I knew we needed to recreate it for Valentine’s Day! They loved the idea of opening up a surprise activity every day, and I loved the idea of having 24 days of activities ready to go! For our playful Holiday Advent Calendar, I filled paper bags with the materials needed for each activity. It takes a little bit of prep work, but like I said, having 24 days of activities ready to go was soooo worth it!
An alternative to prepping 14 bags for a Valentine’s Countdown is to have a crate packed and ready to go with all the materials and cut outs you will need, and then make a display of cards with each activity written on it to flip over each day!
I have included 18 activity ideas below, a few extra so you can pick the ones you think your kids would like best! Some of them will require extra items that can’t really be packed in a bag (like water, vinegar, trays, etc) but having the basic supplies ready for each activity is such a time saver for busy parents!
For activities that need paint, you can either add the paints from your art shelf the day of, or pick up a pack of disposable sauce cups from the dollar store to pack a small portion of paint!
Check out the activity ideas below and let me know which one is your favorite!
1. Heart Symmetry Painting
- Construction Paper cut into a heart shape
Let your little one paint on one side of the heart, then fold and squish together and open to reveal your symmetrical design!
2. Magic Love Notes
- Index Cards/Cardstock
- White oil pastel or crayon
- Watercolour Paints
Write positive affirmations on the index cards using the white oil pastel or crayon, and make sure to press very firmly! When it’s time to play, use the watercolours to paint the index cards and reveal the love notes.
3. “Roses are Red” Collage Art
- Red Paint
- Variety of red items such as tissue paper squares, yarn, sequins, buttons, pom poms, construction paper hearts, ribbon, feathers…really anything you have around the house!
- *Red glitter glue for some extra sparkle!
You can cut the cardboard/cardstock in the shape of a heart if you want, then have your little ones decorate it with any of the items they want! You could also use a sharpie to draw a large heart and encourage your little one to fill up the inside of the heart with their decorations!
4. Love Monster Playdough
- Red Playdough (Check out our recipe here, I added a couple drops of cinnamon bark essential oil and it smells just like a red candy heart!)
- Googly Eyes
- Pipe Cleaner pieces
- Paper Straw pieces
- Acrylic Heart gems or any other decorations
Let your little ones create their own love monster using the playdough and loose parts!
5. Cloud Dough Cupcakes
- 4 Cups Flour
- 1/2 Cup Cooking Oil
- Silicone Muffin Cups/Muffin Tray
- Pom Poms
- Spoons/measuring cups
Let your little one pretend to bake something sweet for their sweetheart. The cloud dough mix itself won’t fit in the bag, but you can add the rest of the “ingredients” and head to the kitchen to mix up the cloud dough!
6. Cookie Cutter Painting
- Heart shaped cookie cutters
I love painting with cookie cutters, especially with toddlers! You will need a plate/tray to spread out the paint in a thin layer for stamping. Once dry this would be cute to cut into smaller rectangles/hearts and turn into some adorable cards.
7. Fizzy Hearts
There are a couple different ways you can set this up. Here I am describing how to make ahead some fizzy hearts with hidden treasures!
- Baking Soda
- Dish Soap
- Food Colouring
- Small gems/sequins/buttons/glitter
- Heart Shaped silicone mold or small cookie cutter
- Add some baking powder to a bowl with a few squirts of dish soap and some glitter if you like
- Mix the food coloring and water, and slowly add to the baking soda just until you can form it into a shape without it crumbling
- Fill the silicone mold or cookie cutter with the mixture, stopping half way to add some gems/treasures in the middle for your little ones to discover.
- Let the hearts dry overnight before placing in the bags with some pipettes
- Have some vinegar on hand for the day of play and let your little ones enjoy the fizzing bubbles and the hidden surprise inside!
8. Heart Resist Painting
- A heart shaped cut-out
- Masking tape
- Painting tool of choice (Pom poms on a clothespin or sponges work well, anything that you can dab!)
- Tape a heart shaped cut out in the middle of a larger paper
- Use pompoms/sponges/fingers to dab paint all over the paper.
- Remove the cutout to reveal your heart outline!
9. Noodle Necklaces
- Tube shaped pasta
- Food Coloring and a splash of vinegar OR Acrylic paints
- Parchment Paper for drying
- Plastic needle or a pipe cleaner to help with threading
- Dye the tube shaped pasta in Ziploc bags and let dry over night
- Add some string and a needle or pipe cleaner twisted into a mock needle for threading.
- Have fun creating unique noodle necklaces to wear or as a gift for someone special. (Use your cookie cutter painted paper as wrapping paper if you plan to give it as a gift!)
10. Coloring Pages & Stickers
This one pretty much explains itself! add some coloring pages, crayons and stickers to the bag for an easy and quiet activity! You can get personalized Valentine’s Coloring Sheets to download + print here, or make your own using a sharpie to draw a variety of hearts big and small!
11. Magic Love Potions
I know their is already a fizzy play activity in here, but can you ever have too much?!
- Baking Soda
- Colored salt
- Rose petals/Loose tea
- Food coloring + water
- Vinegar or lemon juice
- Small containers or jars
- Funnels (optional)
Use the spoons to scoop the dry ingredients to your potions, then use the pipettes to add the liquids and make some magic happen!
12. Marbled Hearts
- Shaving Cream
- Washable Tempera Paint
- Tooth pick
- Thick Paper/Cardstock cut into a heart shape
- Squeegee or a cardboard “scraper”
You will need a tray for this one, and a good size surface for scraping! Squirt the shaving cream to cover the tray. Add some drops of paint and use toothpicks to swirl them around. Place the paper on top of the shaving cream and push down gently. Flip the paper over and use the squeegee or cardboard to scrape off the extra shaving cream and reveal your design.
13. Sticky Heart Suncatchers
- Clear adhesive shelf liner
- Construction paper
- Tissue Paper
Cut a heart in the middle of the construction paper. Cut out a square of the shelf liner to match the paper. Remove the backing and stick the construction paper frame onto the sticky side. (Replace the backing if you are prepping it ahead of time)
Cut tissue papers into squares or let your little one cut/rip it themselves if they are able. Let your little ones decorate their suncatchers by sticking the squares on. Hang your creations in the window to watch the light shine through!
14. Pipe Cleaner Bracelets
- Pipe Cleaners
Add beads to the pipe cleaners, then twist it shut to make it into a bracelet. You could also bend it into a heart shape and add a ribbon to hang it as a special decoration.
15. Bubble Love Wands
- Pipe Cleaners
- Bubble solution
Decorate half of your pipe cleaner with the beads, this will be the handle of your bubble wand. Then bend the top part of the pipe cleaner into a heart shape and use the bubble solution to blow some bubbles!
16. Mosaic Resist Hearts
- Painters tape
- Paint brushes
Cut the cardboard into a large heart shape. Use the painters tape to create a line design over the cardboard. Have your little ones paint the heart, then peel off the painters tape to reveal your mosaic design!
17. Puffy Paint Cookies
- Shaving cream
- Liquid Glue
- Cardboard circles/heart shapes
- Sprinkles/Coloured Rice
- In a bowl mix together shaving cream, paint, and glue to make your puffy paint “icing”
- Spread the puffy paint “icing” on your cardboard cookies and add your Sprinkles on top.
- Let dry (probably over night!) then add a baking sheet and your “cookies” to your play kitchen!
18. Lacing Hearts
- Hole Punch
- Plastic needle or pipe cleaner
- Cut out a heart shape from the cardboard.
- Punch holes along the border of the heart
- String the yarn onto the needle or fold a piece of pipe cleaner into a needle shape.
- Let your little ones sew their lacing card. Model an up down pattern and encourage them to pull their string all the way through each time!
I hope these ideas help inspire some extra Valentine’s Day play and fun!
Be inspired to play always,