Coming at ya with a super easy Valentine’s Day toddler sensory activity that only needs about 2 minutes of prep: sponge painting! You’ll need just a couple of common household items and you’ve got yourself a heart-themed sensory activity.
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 – Easy Toddler Valentine’s Day Sensory Activity
This super easy activity involves using a heart-shaped sponge to make “art.”
Depending on how artistic you get, you can call this a craft or a sensory activity. I am definitely not artistic (as you can see from the lack of pinterest-worthy pictures here) so I did this activity with my son purely as a sensory exercise.
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!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- clean kitchen sponge
- heart-shaped cookie cutter (or cut out a heart shape from a piece of cardboard)
- construction paper (or use plain white paper)
- paint or glitter glue
Of course, you can modify or add on to this activity. I’ll give you some more ideas below.
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.
Feeling extra craftsy? Get out ALL the pink and red colors, glitter glue, pink and red construction paper, etc. Use different size cookie cutters to make different size heart sponges. Have your kid paint with a paintbrush alongside the hearts they stamp.
You can even get a Valentine’s Day card or a blank card and have your child decorate the card (if you think your child is capable of it… scroll down a bit to see my son’s “masterpiece.”)
Feeling like you’ve run out of energy but you should probably 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. Seriously, just cut a sponge in half to make it smaller and give it to your kid with a piece of paper and a small container of paint. After all, they don’t know this was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day activity, 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 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 and the sticky 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.
Looking for more holiday-themed toddler activities? Try the easy Christmas craft for young toddlers, it’s a free printable!
Looking for resources about overcoming picky eating in toddlers? Start here: picky eating in toddlers.
- clean kitchen sponge
- heart-shaped cookie cutter
- thin permanent marker
- construction paper (pink, red, or any color)
- paint (pink, red, or any color)
- glitter glue
- Optional materials: paint brushes, Valentine's Day stickers, Valentine's Day card or blank card (see notes)
- paint brushes
- Trace a heart onto the kitchen sponge with a permanent marker. Cut out the heart.
- Dip the sponge heart into paint or glitter glue and show your toddler how to make heart-shaped prints on paper. You can also use a paint brush to brush the paint onto the sponge.
- You can have your child decorate a Valentine's Day card, or a blank card
- Let your child paint on top of the stamped hearts for more sensory and artistic play
- Give your child a blank white canvas and let them stamp hearts and other shapes you cut out to make their own "art"
- If you have a younger baby, you can do this activity without paint or glue - use a wet sponge to print heart shapes on construction paper