When it comes to Valentine’s Day most children really just want to let their mommies know how much they love them which might be the perfect opportunity to talk about love and kindness in an effort to foster empathy and compassion. We mainly talked about friendship, and asked:
“What is love?”
“What makes you feel loved?”
“How can we show love?”
Most of our Pre-K art group thoughts about love were centered around sharing something valuable: time, precious items, gestures of affection. The children’s answers were so priceless that we included them in a photo collage project (inspired by this one!) which would make a great gift for Valentines or Mother’s Day ♥ :
“Love is… when you share your toys and favorite dresses.”
“Love is… hugs and kisses and getting candy.”
“Love is… when my mommy shares her paint with me.”
“Love is… my mommy bringing me to school every morning.”
“Love is… when my mommy plays soccer with me.”
We started by reading the book “My Many Colored Days” (Dr. Seuss). We talked about how colors can show different feelings and asked questions like “What’s your favorite color?” and “How does this color make you feel?”.
“Pink makes me feel like a princess!”, “Red makes me happy!”, “Black is stronger than all the other colors!”.
Why explore feelings?
Art can be a powerful medium to connect with ideas, thoughts, knowledge and emotions. Letting children create and express themselves allows them not only to connect to their feelings but also builds self awareness and an early sense of “self”. As young children begin to express and recognize themselves as enduring, differentiated and individual “beings” with their own unique voices, they also begin to show major advances in their understanding of others people’s needs and feelings which presents us with the perfect opportunity to model kindness, compassion and positive behavior! Let’s show children that their actions and thoughts matter, and help them make sense of what they’re experiencing about themselves, the world and their own interactions early on!
After comparing and relating colors to many different feelings we went on to color our canvas – using colors that we like best, that show how we feel right in this moment or simply make us feel good. You can use paper for this as well (we often use sturdy watercolor paper for any and all projects)!
The children picked one photo out of the three that they felt represents them best and glued it on their canvas. I also sat down with each child to write down their thoughts to the questions “What is love – how can we show love?”. They really enjoyed the attention and that their thoughts are being taken seriously!
The children were so proud of their canvas and so focussed in creating something so meaningful and personal of themselves for their mommies… really, is there a more meaningful present?
… much love to you and yours!