Friday, 11 February 2011

Happy heart art

Here's a lovely Valentine's themed activity for younger children. It starts with a high energy party game - a twist on the classic treasure hunt, and ends with lots of making and sticking to win prizes.

Treasure hunt for hearts

A little bit of preparation is needed before starting the game.

You will need to:

1) Collect scraps of decorative paper to make the hearts for the hunt - I stuck to a theme of gold and red, as pictured above. Include newspaper and wrapping paper if you like.

2) To make lots of different sized hearts quickly, cut the paper into squares of various sizes; you'll need at least 30. Put a few similarly sized squares together and fold in half. Then draw half a heart on one side - the centre of the heart towards the fold. Cut along the drawn heart outline and then separate the satisfyingly symmetrical heart shapes.

3) Now hide - well, put - the hearts all around your home (use sticky tac if you want them on vertical surfaces).

How to play:

1)Provide everyone with a basket or box and send them off to find and collect the hearts.

2) When all the hearts have been found, provide each player with a large piece of card. This could be covered in foil or plain wrapping paper, whatever you have to hand to make an attractive background.

Create heart art:

3) Now to count up those hearts. To do this, get them to stick their collected hearts over their background card. We used a glue stick rather than gloopy PVA to avoid too much mess.

4) They can do this just how they like, but the hearts should be arranged so that every heart can be seen and so counted. If they put a heart on top of another that's OK but it should be a smaller heart so both can be seen.

5) Lots of prizes can be given; for the most hearts collected, for finding a shiny heart, or a patterned heart etc.

We played this last year and my children - three and four at the time - really loved it. I knew they'd like the treasure hunt part, but it was great to see them so enthusiastic about selecting, comparing, counting and arranging their hearts before sticking them to the card.

We'll be playing it again tomorrow of course. Happy Valentine's Day.

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