With Valentine’s Day in the middle of February, this is a great time to speak to your children about love and emotions. You can also loop in talking about biology and your child’s body. It can be as simple as singing old classics like “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” to having conversations with children of all ages about close friends versus acquaintances versus strangers and how we should behave around them.

By the way: if you’re liking these themed activities and book recommendations, upgrade to the paid subscription now! I’ll be putting these and my recipes behind a paywall starting very soon.

Multi-age activity:

Helping children learn about emotional regulation is important year-round, and an ongoing lesson. Even infants can start learning about this! Help your child label their feelings, and make sure they know there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” feelings. If your child is non-verbal, you can even make a chart of faces showing different emotions (happy, sad, excited, angry, etc) for them to point to. Of course, making each other valentines is a great activity.

Song list:


Infant: The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

I recommend this book to everyone, even adults. Taylor’s awesome block tower is knocked down, and various animals come to try to help them get over it. Finally, the rabbit just listened to Taylor, instead of trying to fix things. It’s an awesome reminder to us all that sometimes we need to just be there for our loved ones when they’re in crisis.

Toddler: The Boy with Big Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee

This book is a lovely story about a boy dealing with huge feelings that he can’t seem to control. He tries to stuff his feelings down, but with some help from his loved ones and finding an artistic outlet he learns that his big, big feelings are what makes him special.

Beginning Reader: George and Martha books by James Marshall

These short and simple stories are about George and Martha, two hippos who are best friends. Sometimes friends don’t see eye-to-eye, and sometimes practical jokes backfire, but these books show that respecting each other’s feelings and a heartfelt apology can make things better.

School Aged: Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

A chapter book told from the point of view of the classroom hamster, what’s not to love? Humphrey observes the goings on in Room 26, and in this installment he learns how to make friends with someone who he has nothing in common with: the new class pet, Og the Frog.

Other topics include best friends fighting, bullying, and the foster care system. This is a great way for children to learn about these complex issues but from a cute little hamster. Afterwards, you can even try to write about your family from the point of view of the family pet or a squirrel watching from the window.