Valentine's Day is a greeting card holiday. A lot of people hate the lesson it teaches -- the idea that you only have to show your love and feelings this one day every year.
What if we take it and turn it into a time to help us get better at dealing with our day-to-day emotions? By helping our kids help themselves, we can teach them better tools to help others.
Valentine's Day is all about feelings, so let's help our kids learn to deal with the feelings they have.
I have taken two fun activities and given them a Valentine's spin. You can <3 these even more by adding some heart glitter/confetti. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any at the stores I went to.
Valentine Mood Jar
I have seen these on the internet but there were so many versions that I didn't know where to start. A friend who happens to be a school counselor makes these for various groups and classes, so I went with her recipe.
First, you want a bottle. Voss water bottles are the best but anything will do. The rest of the supplies are easy: Light corn syrp, glitter glue, water. Optional: dish soap, food coloring, and extra glitter.
Fill the bottle 1/3 of the way full with corn syrup. Add several squeezes of glitter glue (I have found the generic stuff from the dollar store works best). Fill the bottle the rest of the way with hot water. Add a couple of drops of food coloring and extra glitter, if you would like. Shake shake shake. If everything is not mixing as well as you would like, add a drop of dish soap and shake some more. You may have to squeeze or skim any foam off the top.
The idea is that when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or anxious you can use it to help calm down. We actually call them "calm down bottles" in our house. They help with mindfulness and slowing your thoughts as you watch the glitter settle to the bottom.
You may have made gak before and this will not be much different. We are concentrating on adding pink and red food coloring and glitter as a visual reminder of Valentine's day.
You'll need: Borax, school glue, water. Optional: Food coloring and glitter.
Empty the contents of one 4oz bottle of white school glue into a glass bowl. (We added an additional 2oz of glitter glue, since we had it leftover. I am not factoring that into my measurements for this... adjust accordingly if you add extra glues). Stir in 6oz of warm water and any glitter or food coloring you choose.
Pour 1/2 cup of warm water into a measuring cup and add one teaspoon of borax. Stir until it dissolves.
Slowly pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture and stir. It will start glooping together and looking a little curdled. Just about the moment when you think you have completely ruined it, it will start to come together. At this point, use your hands and kneed it for a minute. Then you'll have a fun squishy substance.
Gak for mindfulness?
I love these types of hands-on sensory activities for my anxious kid. They get her out of her head a bit and also make her more willing to open up and talk to me about what she's feeling. Do you need to fidget when you're having important conversations? It's like that.
*Some people worry about the toxicity of borax. From what I have found online, it seems that it is only an issue if you ate a lot of it. Just getting it on your hands, even if you put your hands in your mouth, should not be a problem.
Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. She has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at rhiyaya.com. To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook and Twitter.