Animals and math: all in one Valentine's Day-themed art project? This imaginative shape activity will introduce your little learner to the world of shape and color, while building basic math skills. Puzzle together hearts in all colors and sizes to create cats, dogs, or even elephants through the art of collage!
Start off by helping your child research his favorite animal. Take a trip to the local library or search the web for kid-friendly information on our furry (or feathered) friends. Point out photos or illustrations and ask your child to name facial features and animal body parts. He'll love turning pointy cat ears or fluffy bunny tails in Valentine’s Day hearts!
What You Do:
- After deciding on an animal, ask your child to name the features and parts that make up the specific creature (tail, feet, ears, and so on).
- Talk about how he can use hearts in different sizes or colors to design each part of the animal. For example, a large slim heart turned on its side might work well for a horse's body while a smaller wide heart may be ideal for a dog’s face.
- Invite him to draw hearts on the construction paper in a variety of sizes, and help him cut these out.
- Ask him to place the hearts on a blank sheet of paper in the general shape of the animal. Compare this to putting together a puzzle.
- Help your child gently lift the hearts, after they have been placed onto the paper, and glue them down.
- Add smaller hearts or details with markers for eyes, noses, whiskers, and other tiny details.
Use traditional Valentine’s Day colors such as red and pink, or turn this into a colorful animal creation. Repeat this project with other non-heart shapes such as circles or squares for a fun lesson in geometry!
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.