I LOVE holidays! ALL of them! I love creating memories for my children that center around the holidays. I love making a BIG deal out of each holiday, rather than just focusing on the “bigger” holidays. Why not spend a little extra time and make Valentine’s Day special for your child and family this year? Fun little surprises, festive treats, themed craft projects, special stories, decorations…LOVE LOVE all of it!

I will be giving you ideas for small things you can do around your house this week to make Valentine’s Day just a bit more special this year. When I was in the classroom (have taught 2nd grade, reading, and Kindergarten), I had a thematic bookcase each month. During February, I loved putting out Valentine’s Day stories, and stories about love and family. I am saving a few of the more generic “love” stories for another post, but wanted to share 5 of my favorite Valentine’s themed books with you today.

1. Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli – LOVE this book! Perhaps one of my favorite read alouds of all time, this heart-warming tale tells of a man named Mr. Hatch who is stuck in a rut. One day he receives a special valentine (unknowingly by mistake.) His life changes as he feels loved and special. Upon finding out that the mailman made a mistake, Mr. Hatch begins to go back to his old boring habits. Then, the friends and neighbors he has shown love to, go out of their way to make sure Mr. Hatch knows he is loved. I loved seeing the emotions this story brought to life in my students and children.

To extend – Have your child think of someone they know who could use an extra special valentine this year….someone who could benefit from knowing they are loved and thought about. Have your child make them a special card, and then deliver it!

2. The I Love You Book by Todd Parr – This book in such a simple way, reinforces to children (and parents) that they are loved unconditionally, even when they make mistakes. I love Parr’s colorful and simplistic illustrations. This is a great little story that even young children can sit through and enjoy.

To extend – Have your child come up with 5 ways/times they love another family member, and have them write them down. You can have them dictate for you if they are unable to write.

3. Necco Sweethearts Math Magic by Kris Hirschmann – This is an awesome book that uses illustrations of everyone’s favorite Valentine candy to teach math concepts! What teacher/parent can’t get behind a book that makes math fun?! This book explores addition, subtraction, Venn Diagrams, multiplication…and more!

To extend – I will be posting later this week about learning  projects you can do with candy hearts!

4. I Love You the Purplest by Barbra M. Joosse – What a great book to read, especially if you have more than one child! In this book, the mother talks to her children about the unique ways she loves them. She uses color to highlight parts of each child’s personality. I love that this book shows children how we love them each in their own special way, and that moms truly don’t have favorites. A really cute book with beautiful illustrations.

5. The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond – This is just a cute little story. A little girl find one day that it is raining hearts. She gathers the hearts all up, and notices how each of them are different. She carefully selects just the right heart for each of her friends, thinking about what they will like and what makes them special.

To extend – Put out a selection of papers and accessories. Have your child carefully select materials for specific people. Encourage them to think about what that person will like, rather than simply what they like.

Here are a few other cute stories:

The Best Thing About Valentines by Eleanor Hudson

Arthur’s Valentine by Marc Brown

Be My Valentine by Richard Scarry

Valentine’s Day Is by Gail Gibbons

The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll

Have fun! Get out there this week and read some of these stories with your children! Reading together is such a great opportunity for love. Cuddling..snuggles…quality time….opportunity for great conversation and questions..life lessons…reading is magic. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!