Changing holidays or seasons provide an amazing opportunity to give your Montessori shelves a face lift with some easy switches to make your activities more cohesive and seasonally-themed. Valentine’s Day is a fun theme to use!
The easiest way to make your shelves seasonally-themed is to switch out the colors of your materials and add a few seasonal shapes. For Valentine’s Day, that could be red, pink, purple, hearts, valentines, etc. I found the absolute cutest materials at Oriental Trading for my Valentine’s Day shelves, and I can’t wait to set them up as soon as we get to February! The best part — most of these materials can be used for several different activities, so you can switch up your trays if one activity has already been mastered.
Here are over 30 Montessori-inspired activities for Valentine’s Day, arranged by section:
Typical Practical Life Transfer Works:
Up first, we have a simple posting work using these Mini Smile Face Heart Erasers. Posting is always a fun and relaxing work that helps build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills such as the pincer grip. I put a bunch of these heart erasers into a small Wooden Heart Tray beside an empty coffee creamer bottle. The bottle is clear, so the child can watch the hearts fall as she drops them one by one into the top.
Posting would also be fun with these more colorful Rubber-Coated Heart Beads! If you prefer, you could cut a slot into the lid of an old container and do it more piggy-bank style.
And if you have a lover of shiny things in your home, these Heart-Shaped Jewels would make a great posting work filler!
Those rubber-coated heart beads are so cute that I had to use them a few other ways, as well! They are great for a simple spooning transfer from one bowl to another using a child-sized pasta spoon.
Ladling is a way to further refine fine motor skills while requiring greater wrist motion, and these Heart Shaped Pony Beads fit perfectly in a child-sized ladle.
Those original smiley heart erasers can be used in so many other works, as well! Try putting some in a bowl with a set of child-sized tongs. This requires a further refinement of the pincer grip to pick up each heart eraser with the tongs and then release it into the second bowl.
To sneak some beginning math skills into your Practical Life section, try pairing those rubber-coated heart beads with tongs and an empty ice cube tray to help promote one-to-one correspondence.
Those erasers and beads are pretty soft and flexible, which makes them relatively easy to grip with the tongs. For more of a challenge, place some of these beautiful Heart Millefiori Beads in your tong transfer work!
Preschoolers may find those tongs to be too easy, so try giving them a pair of tweezers with some of these tiny Valentine Heart Beads.
You could even have them use the tweezers to place each bead into a small pitcher before pouring them all back into the original bowl.
Several of these materials can also be used in a simple dry pouring work to refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Try it with the pony beads…
…or even the tiny Valentine heart beads.
Manipulative/Fine Motor Practical Life Works
I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to do with these Mini Heart Wands, but when I saw them, I immediately thought of in-and-out works. I put some with an upside-down colander so we can put them into each of the tiny holes. This requires concentration and refines hand-eye coordination while working on fine motor skills.
Pencil toppers are another fun way to freshen up a work according to a theme, so I had to get these Chunky Heart Eraser Pencil Toppers! I put the toppers in a small bowl along with some unsharpened pencils. Putting them onto and taking them off the pencils requires great fine motor control and hand-eye coordination.
My girls love bead stringing, and those pony beads fit just right onto a pipecleaner!
The rubber-coated beads have a much smaller hole, so these would be perfect for a preschooler. Your older preschooler could also string them up with a needle and thread to make a necklace!
Those tiny Valentine heart beads are the perfect size for a hand sweeping work. Show your child how to dump out the bowl of beads on a tray, sweep them up, and then pour them back into the bowl.
Those nesting heart trays that we’ve been using as work trays and bowls are perfect for young toddlers to work on their size differentiation skills! The trays can be used like nesting cups, or turn them upside down to stack them from largest to smallest.
Of course we’re not done with those original transfer work fillers! The smiley heart erasers come in three different colors, so you can easily make a color sorting work with them. For younger children, try providing a control of error by putting a circle of construction paper in each of three different bowls to show where each color heart should go.
The heart-shaped jewels also come in several different colors and sizes, so you could use them for a color-sorting or size-sorting work.
Those heart was also come in different colors. You could sort them just on the table or into four different buckets.
Those pony beads come in six different colors, so they fit perfectly in a half-dozen muffin tin…
…as do the rubber-coated heart beads!
The beautiful glass Millefiori beads come in three different patterns, so they are the natural choice for a pattern sorting work.
The colors that can be found in Valentine’s Day-themed materials can also be used in a section of the classroom that you might not expect — MATH! I made this free printable pattern template for a Valentine’s color set. You can keep yours whole or cut out each template individually. These pattern templates can be used with the smiley heart erasers…
…the rubber-coated heart beads…
…the heart-shaped jewels…
…AND the pony beads! I love having so many different ways to use the same materials — it saves a lot of money!
So many of these Valentine’s Day materials can also be used as math counters in a number to quantity work! Just print the free Number to Quantity Cards 1-5 and use the smiley heart erasers to fill each square. This helps make the connection between the written number and what quantity that number represents.
You could also do this with the rubber-coated heart beads, heart-shaped jewels, pony beads, or the Millefiori beads!
Picture to Picture matching is one of the very first language works presented to toddlers, and it’s easy to make yourself! I made some simple matching cards using the Funky Heart Sticker Rolls on some pink cardstock. I laminated mine because I know my kids would try to peel the stickers off otherwise!
Of course, you could also use those heart stickers as a good old sticker work for refining fine motor skills. For younger children, just put some in a small bowl with a piece of paper for free play. I always add a second, empty bowl for the girls to put the backs of the stickers in before throwing them away when they have finished the work.
For older children, you could turn this regular sticker work into a sticker sorting work in the sensorial section, as there are several different patterns of heart stickers that then repeat.
Those heart-shaped jewels are flat on the back, so they would make a great gluing work — your child could even turn it into a Valentine’s Day card for someone special.
I can tell that I am going to have a hard time choosing which of these great ideas to put on our shelves for February — I might have to rotate my works a bit more often just so I can get everything out there! Which ones do you think your children will enjoy the most???
You can find these products and other Valentine’s Day materials right HERE.