Valentine's Day is typically filled with chocolate, cookies, cupcakes and candy. This article provides some suggestions for healthy snacks for children to make, cooking activities for teachers to provide in the classroom and ideas for parents or guardians who are bringing treats for a Valentine's Day preschool party (all of these suggestions are peanut-free).
Healthy Snack Choices for a Valentine's Day Party
Very often parents or guardians are selected or have volunteered to bring in food for a Valetine's Day party at preschool. There are many regulations and guidelines now about making healthy food choices. There are still ways to make the food look appealing, taste great and have that special treat quality to them. Some ideas are:
- sliced apples and heart shaped cheese
- pink flavoured, heart shaped Rice Krispie 'squares'
- fruit bouquet made with fruit kebobs
- healthy muffins with cream cheese icing and sprinkles
- jello jigglers
- chocolate dipped strawberries
Valentine's Day Snacks for Preschool Children to Make
It is a good idea for a quality preschool program to include cooking activities to help develop self help and fine motor skills. Here are some suggestions for snacks made by preschool hands:
1. Heart Shaped Jam Sandwiches
The ingredients and material required are:
•individual cutting boards
•two slices of bread (brought in by parents is a good idea)
•a small bowl of jam
•a small bowl of butter, margarine or cream cheese
•a plastic knife or a butter knife
•a large heart shaped cookie cutter (optional)
With this cooking activity, the preschoolers are allowed to make their very own jam sandwich. For some three and four year olds, it may be their first time using a knife for spreading. When the preschooler is finished, the teacher can cut the sandwich with the cookie cutter into a Valentine heart. The child could eat his/her sandwich right away, or it could be held to eat at a group setting.
2. Mini Bagel and Pink Cream Cheese
Similar to the sandwich, allow preschool children to spread strawberry flavored creamcheese onto a mini bagel for a healthy snack choice. Multigrain bagels/breads are always the healthiest choice of all.
3. Fruit Kebobs
Before this cooking activity is set out for the children, the teachers must prep the chosen fruit into small, bite size pieces, and choose kebob sticks that are not too pointy. Some fruit suggestions are: strawberries, bananas, pineapple chunks, and melon balls. This activity is both healthy and fostering fine motor development.
4. Smoothie or Fruit Salad
This activity involves everyone pitching in to receive the final result, and correlates well to a friendship theme, discussing cooperation and togetherness.
5. Heart Shaped Pancakes
This cooking activity involves the teacher's guidance and monitoring. The teacher can place out the pancake mix with water for the children to stir and then using a heart shaped cookie cutter, allow the children to place the mix into the shape for cooking. A great idea to facilitate this step is to use a turkey baster for the pancake mix. The pancake can then be enjoyed with strawberry flavoured syrup, or some yogurt or whip cream with sliced strawberries.
Valentine's Day Treats for the Preschool Teacher to Make
Sometimes one of the best treats for preschool children is being given something special from their teachers. Following are some ideas:
•strawberry yogurt ice-cream with sliced strawberries and sprinkles
•sliced fruit and chocolate fondue
•waffles with whipped cream (or yogurt) and fruit