Simply put…yes. A Valentine’s snack certainly can develop fine motor skills, and what preschooler doesn’t want to make their own sweet treat to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
When we celebrate Valentine’s Day in preschool, we consume ourselves with lessons and activities about friendship and kindness.
We are always learning how to be good and better friends, and Valentine’s Day happens to be a useful vessel to carry on those lessons and activities in a formal manner. We read books about how we can show our friends that we love them and care for them. We make sweet cards to share with our classmates, addressing them as “friends” instead of by name. And, we celebrate by enjoying a snack together where we have to help and share.
Materials for Valentine’s Day Snack
- graham crackers
- favorite white frosting
- kool-aid packets (one for each color frosting)
- holiday sprinkles
- sandwich sized zip-top baggies or piping bags
- paper plates or food tray for each child
The Set Up
Start by making your frosting in advance. I just used a basic white frosting recipe where you just add a little milk to some powdered sugar until it becomes the consistency you like. You’ll want it just slightly thinner than usual to make it easier for the children to pipe onto their graham cracker. You won’t need much, either.
With the white frosting made, divide into equal parts in bowls. Mix in 1/2 to one whole kool-aid packet, depending on how strong you want the flavoring. We did an entire packet for about one cup each of color and the flavor ended up quite strong, so taste test as you work. Also, if you choose a citrus flavor (like pink lemonade), the outcome may end up quite sour. Again, taste test as you work.
Put each color frosting into a zip-top baggie, pushing out as much air as possible. Cut the tip of a corner to make it into a “piping” bag.
Pour the sprinkles into a small bowl.
Make a Fine Motor Valentine’s Snack
- Give each child a paper plate and a graham cracker.
- Invite the children to squeeze a bag of frosting to pipe some onto their cracker. If using multiple colors, be sure to remind the children that just a little frosting goes a very long way! (Here, our friendship lessons kick in because ethe children have to wait their turn and share the frosting.)
- Allow the children to use clean fingers to pinch the sprinkles onto the frosting on their graham cracker.
- Enjoy a Valentine’s snack!
Want Some Printable Valentine’s activities?
Click on the images below for more details.
The Fine Motor Side of Things
So, where is the fine motor work I promised?
First, children gain a lot from squeezing the bags of frosting. Not only do the children have to coordinate how to hold the bag (twisting the top makes it easier), but they also have to learn just the right amount of pressure to apply to pipe the frosting. Here you can read more about the value of squeezing to develop fine motor skills.
The second fine motor piece is sprinkling the sprinkles onto the frosting. This uses the pincher grasp, which is necessary for mature pencil grasp.
My preschoolers thought it was so awesome they could make their own frosted cracker, and as a teacher I can support this activity because of the fine motor practice.
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction