A cute, easy Valentine's Day activity for toddlers that only needs about 2 minutes of prep: sponge painting! You'll need just a couple of common household items to do this activity. Make Valentine's Day cards with your kids, or simply use it as a Valentine's Day sensory activity to make new fridge art.
This activity can be completed in just a few minutes or can be stretched out to an hour of play for your kiddo.
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Heart sponge painting - sensory activity or craft
This super easy activity involves using a heart-shaped sponge to stamp hearts onto paper.
Depending on how artistic you want to get, your little one can call simply stamp hearts onto a piece of paper, make a cute handmade Valentine's Day card, or stamp a air balloon picture with the hearts!
You can even call it a heart air balloon. Get it?!?
If you're new here, this blog is about overcoming picky eating in toddlers, and sensory play is SO IMPORTANT to get kids to be more open about the different textures of food. In fact, I'm doing a year-long sensory challenge where we do a new sensory activity every week of the year. Check it out: 52 Weeks of Sensory
Here are the basics for how to do this super easy heart-themed toddler craft, but make sure you continue reading for more tips and ideas for this activity!
- clean kitchen sponge
- cardstock paper (blue for a blue sky, or pink for Valentine's Day)
- finger paint - red and white (or use glitter glue for extra sensory stickiness)
Now stamp away to your child's content, or follow these instructions to make a Sponge Stamp Heart Air Balloon card. The bold steps are the ones your child can be helping with, depending on their age!
Sponge stamp hot air balloon Valentine's Day card
Step 1: To make a card, fold a sheet of blue cardstock paper in half.
Step 2: Use a marker to draw two hearts on a sponge, a big one and a small one. Cut out the hearts.
Step 3: Pour a generous amount of red and white paint on a flat surface. We like to use paper plates.
Step 4: Dip the larger heart sponge stamp into the red paint. Make sure the bottom area is covered completely. Stamp the sponge on the blue cardstock.
Step 5: Dip smaller heart sponge and dip in white paint. Stamp several white hearts, like puffy white clouds, around and above the red heart air balloon.
Step 6: Once the paint dries, use a black or brown marker to draw and color in a basket: make two simple lines coming from the sides of the heart. Connect them with two horizontal lines, then make cross hatch marks to fill in the rest of the basket.
The best part about this activity is that you can totally adapt it to your needs. This can be a 5 minute craft, or an hour-long sensory and craft activity.
Honestly, if you've run out of energy but want to do some kind of sensory activity with your toddler: Just give them a sponge, one color paint, and a piece of white paper and call it a day. After all, they're just happy to make a mess.
You can even do this activity with a really young baby: Just skip the paint and glue and let them make prints on construction paper with water.
My #1 tip for doing crafts with your toddler:
Show your kid what to do, but then let them take charge. Don't worry if they're doing it "wrong." My son wanted pink paper and chose to paint over his hearts and made this masterpiece:
The goal is for kids to have fun doing these activities and get excited next time we say "do you want to do some crafts?"
Speaking of mess... how to keep this sensory activity stress-free
This is a sensory activity, it's supposed to be messy. Let your kid go to town with the paint or the sticky glitter glue. But here are a few tips for how to deal with the mess:
- Have a rag or an old towel ready nearby to clean up messes if you're doing this in a place where you don't want paint or glitter glue stains
- Have your child wear old clothes (or no clothes!)
- If you have carpet, put down one of those cheap plastic tablecloths from the dollar store and threaten your kid that you're going into time out if they move off the tablecloth. Just kidding. But am I?
If you did this activity please take a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook to let me know! You can find me at @highchairchronicles.
And please share this on Facebook and on Pinterest if you think other moms might want to do this, or if you want to save this idea for later:
Looking for other ideas to keep toddlers occupied?
Try these activities for active toddlers to tire them out or these water play ideas for toddlers for every budget and space. Or this awesome Fall-themed sponge painting activity.
Looking for more holiday-themed toddler activities?
- Decorate a candle jar for Valentine's Day
- Easy Christmas craft for young toddlers - free printable!
- Free Christmas printable activity sheets
- Monster Donuts - a fun and tasty sensory kitchen activity for the whole family!
- Monster Popcorn
Looking for resources about overcoming picky eating in toddlers? Start here: picky eating in toddlers.
Easy Toddler Valentine's Day Sensory Activity - Sponge Painting
Use a few house-hold items to make a Valentine's Day card with your toddler that doubles as a sensory activity!
- Clean kitchen sponge
- Blue cardstock paper (see below)
- Paint (red and white, see below)
- Paper plate to hold paint
- Optional: To make a card, fold a sheet of blue cardstock paper in half.
- Use a marker to draw two hearts on a sponge, a big one and a small one. Cut out the hearts.
- Pour a generous amount of red and white paint on a flat surface. We like to use paper plates.
- Dip the larger heart sponge stamp into the red paint. Make sure the bottom area is covered completely. Stamp the sponge on the blue cardstock.
- Dip smaller heart sponge and dip in white paint. Stamp several white hearts, like puffy white clouds, around and above the red heart air balloon.
- Once the paint dries, use a black or brown marker to draw and color in a basket: make two simple lines coming from the sides of the heart. Connect them with two horizontal lines, then make cross hatch marks to fill in the rest of the basket.
- You can do this on a full sheet of cardstock paper instead of folding it in half, if you don't want to make a card
- Let your child get creative! If they don't want to follow your lead on the heart clouds or hot air balloon basket, let them decorate their own paper how they like
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