Heart Sensory Pillows

heartpillows These easy-to-make heart-shaped pillows provide a multi-sensory activity experience for children as they make precious keepsakes or gifts for Valentine's Day!

Goals:

  • To promote tactile and auditory exploration
  • To help develop fine motor skills while encouraging creativity
  • To teach the children how to recycle common household items and avoid wasting paper

Before You Start: Have children bring empty paper and plastic shopping bags from their last grocery trip and old newspapers. (Teachers may need to help collect some bags and newspaper.) Gather one-hole punches to make holes for "stitching" pillows. Set out Colorations® markers and crayons, glitter, glue sticks, and a variety of other materials the children can use to decorate their paper hearts. (Colorations® Confetti Glitter Glue can add a sparkly touch on these works of art.) Prepare newspapers and plastic grocery bags to use to stuff pillows, and cut pieces of yarn to weave the hearts together. You may consider shredding or cutting the newspaper into small pieces before this activity, or having the children do so if they are old enough.

Let's Get Started! Step 1. Flatten clean, empty paper grocery bags and have children draw a large heart shape on one side (you may want to provide a stencil or template). Have them cut out their paper hearts (or cut them out for younger children), making sure to cut through both sides of the bag. This will make two matching heart-shaped sides for the pillows. Reserve any left over paper clippings for "stuffing." You may want to have the children turn the hearts over if designs were already on the outside of paper bags.

Step 2. Have the children hold the two hearts together and demonstrate how to punch an even number of holes with a one-hole punch around the outside edges of the hearts for "stitching". (Teachers may need to help children with this step; alternatively, they might want to punch the holes for young ones.)

Step 3. Encourage children to experiment with different colors and textures as they decorate their two heart shapes any way they like.

Step 4. Once the hearts are decorated and dry, it's time to make the pillow. Starting at the bottom of the hearts, have children tape one end of yarn between two holes (leaving an inch or two free for stuffing later), and demonstrate to children how to weave the yarn through each of the holes (both sides at the same time) until you've gone around the entire heart. Make sure to leave yarn allowance on both ends to tie up and close the heart after stuffing.

Step 5. Have children "stitch" their own pillows, helping as needed, and then show children how to stuff them with the different sensory materials. As you use the different bags and paper, crush and crinkle it, in order to demonstrate how they each make various sounds. As the children stuff their pillows, it can be an opportunity to discuss what different sounds they hear and feel.

Step 6. When pillows are stuffed, show how to tie the ends of the yarn into a bow and trim any excess from the ends. Now everyone has a unique and squishy pillow of their own!

Furthermore: Pillows can be displayed in the classroom for the Valentine's Day holiday and/or taken home to use as a special Valentine's gift or keepsake. Or, make it an "all about me" activity! Heart pillows can be decorated with one or more pictures of people and things the child loves. These can be photos brought from home, cut-outs from recycled magazines, or drawings they do themselves. Children can then share their finished pillows as a group and describe the different pictures they used.

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