10 February, 2011

Sensory Valentines

This week we began work on a special Valentine's Day project.  The thought process I went through when conceiving this idea went something like this:


I want this project to be interesting sensorily involving touch and smell.  I also want the end product to be interesting and something a parent can keep.  I wonder if the children could needle felt?  The wool feels so soft and smells wonderful, and a felt heart would be something that would last well.

I must be crazy!  The needles for needle felting are way too sharp.  Maybe we could wet felt?

An experiment was certainly in order.

My students know only too well, I am always up for an experiment.  So before any of us knew it, we were off and running.  We filled up one of our dish washing buckets with warm soapy water and added two drops of lavender oil.  I knew this might make it a little difficult for the fibers to stick together, but I thought the smell of the lavender along with the feel of the warm water and the wet wool would make it worth the risk.

Th experience of wet felting didn't yield such a fantastic result in terms of the wool fibers sticking together, but it was a lovely sensory experience for all the reasons I listed above.  I brought the four little valentines we managed to make, home and used an old needle felting tool I had purchased last year, to stick the fibers together better.  That got me thinking again.

 Maybe the children could needle felt if they used this tool.  It does have 5 needles and a plastic guard.  If I sat with each child . . .

So the next day . . .
The children came over to the table, one at a time, and selected their roving.  They pulled large or small pieces from the skeins and then laid the pieces on top of a felting mat in whatever design they wished.  I instructed the children to put one hand on the table (not on the felting mat) and hold the needle felting tool with the other hand.  I held the tool with each child and together we "punched, punched, punched" the wool until the fibers were intertwined.  Here is a picture of my daughter giving it a try.  She is a little bit older than some of my students, so I let her try alone for a bit.  

Punch, punch, punching . . .

The fibers are intertwined here.  See her heart design?


After the soft and fuzzy valentines were completed, each child added a drop of essential oil.  Most children chose lavender.  Our whole classroom smelled heavenly.   The experience of needle felting wasn't quite the same as wet felting, but the roving was very soft, and the children noticed the smell of the wool as well as the smell of the lavender oil.  

We wrapped up each of the valentines in some tissue paper for the children to bring home to their parents.  

Here are a few of the children's "sensory valentines."

This one has a "M" for my student's name.  Cute!

I hope you have a very happy, soft, and aromatic Valentine's Day!


  1. I have a blog award for you over at my blog:


    Your blog is such a treat to visit! You are always doing the coolest things!


  2. Very cool idea for multi-sensory Valentines. Such a sweet project too.
    Have a nice weekend,


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