Heart Activities

Make an origami heart:

A variety of origami hearts can be found here including 3-D hearts and flat hearts.

WikiHow has illustrated video instructions on how to make a flat origami heart.

Learn how to make an origami heart with this YouTube video or a heart shaped box with this one.

Tip: Some of the flat origami hearts will allow you to slip a little message inside.

Heart related activities:

Enchanted Learning has a bunch of Valentine’s Day activities with hearts here. You will find: Cards, wreaths, mobiles, chains and more.

What kind of animals can be made with hearts? Check out on DLTK’s Heart Animal Paper Craft where you will find ways to make: Dogs, elephants, cats, fish, frogs and more from hearts. This site has printable templates.

Heart related activities can be found here on Fran’s World of Discovery such as: Pin prick cards, cut out hearts, decorated hearts and more.

Learn how to make a heart with a twist balloon! The YouTube video provided will show you how.

Wikipedia: Heart (symbol)

History: What is the origin of the heart symbol?

YouTube: Hearts Playlist – Heart related craft ideas with instructions.

Related activities on Fran’s World:

Chocolate Activities – Learn the history of chocolate and make some yummy things with chocolate.
Valentine’s Day – Learn the history of Valentines Day and make some fun crafts that relate to the holiday.

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Chocolate Activities

Chocolate Activities by Fran W.
Make a day out of learning about chocolate in some really fun ways!

Learn about chocolate, make an old time chocolate egg cream, find out if chocolate is a fruit or a veggie, and get links to other chocolate resources such as virtual field trips, puzzles and historical information.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Make your own delicious hot cocoa mix and get tips on how to make an extra special treat out of it!

Learn how to make delicious chocolate covered pretzels.

Directions for making your own cocoa lip balm. 

Make your own body wash or bubble bath.
Connect with Funschooling and Recreational Learning!

Note:  Has this or another activity on Funschooling and Recreational Learning inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Chocolate covered pretzels

Chocolate Covered Pretzels by Fran W

Chocolate covered pretzels are really easy and fun to make at any age, and they make a great gift too!

To make your own, you will need…

1-2 1lb Bags of real chocolate chips

Pretzel Rods or your favorite shaped pretzel – 1 Large bag/container or 2 small

Bowl or heat-proof container

Spoon or a fork

Parchment paper

Flat pan

Plastic zip-top bags or long air-tight containers

Optional: Mini chocolate chips, nuts, cookie pieces, crushed peppermint sticks, shredded coconut, candy bits, white chocolate chips, nonpareils candy (sprinkles), sugar crystals, crushed candy such malted milk balls, toffee bars, etc.

What to do…

Melt chocolate in a heat proof container in either the microwave or a double boiler, dip pretzels in chocolate, knock off excess chocolate, place on a parchment covered pan and sprinkle with a favorite topping. When the chocolate hardens put pretzels in zip-top bags or air-tight containers.

Try different types of flavored melting chips too: Milk Chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch chips, peanut butter, etc.

Helpful Tips…

For best results, use real chocolate or melting chips.

When using the double boiler method to melt chocolate, do not get chocolate wet! Water will make the chocolate unusable for dipping pretzels!

If you decide to use small pretzels, put them in the melted chocolate and take them out with a fork. Tap off excess chocolate before putting them on parchment paper and decorate while wet.

To dip pretzel logs, use a tall heat-proof cup or mug and tilt it to cover as much of the pretzel as possible. Use a spoon to cover more space and leave a little pretzel on the bottom so it can be picked up and held easily. Tap off excess before placing on parchment paper.

If needed, put chocolate covered pretzels in a refrigerator for a 5-10 minutes to speed up the cooling process. Warning, if kept in the refrigerator too long, the chocolate may turn white, if this happens, they can still be eaten.

To give as a gift, put pretzels in an air-tight bag or container.

Related activities on Fran’s World of Discovery…

Chocolate Activities
Holiday Gift Wrap

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be fo
und, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Make Your Own: Cocoa Lip Balm

Cocoa lip balm by Fran W.

If you like chocolate, then you may enjoy wearing this lip balm! 

3 tsp (or 1T) Petroleum jelly or shea butter
1 tsp Cocoa powder
1 Vitamin E capsule and a pin (optional)
Craft sticks
Measuring spoons
Heat-proof bowl for mixing
Small containers

How to make lip balm…

*Melt petroleum jelly or shea butter in a heat-proof container, add cocoa and the contents of a vitamin E capsule by piercing it with a pin, and stir with craft stick until smooth.

Once the mixture cools, it will become solid again.

Suggestions for melting jelly or butter…

* Boiled water – Pour boiling water into a heat-proof container, place the bowl with petroleum jelly or shea butter over the hot water, and carefully mix until smooth. Be careful not to get water in the mixture.

* Microwave – Place heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until petroleum jelly or shea butter turns to liquid (do not allow to boil).

Note: If you want to make more lip balm at one time, use 3 parts petroleum jelly or shea butter to 1 part cocoa powder and an extra a vitamin E capsule.

6 tsp (or 2 T) petroleum jelly or shea butter to 2 tsp of cocoa
9 tsp (or 3 T) petroleum jelly or shea butter to 3 tsp of cocoa

Look for small cosmetic containers in the health and beauty department of your favorite store. Contact lens cases can also be used for storing lip balm.

Scent alternatives…

Chocolate-Coconut: Use a small amount of coconut oil or a drop of coconut essential oil to the mixture. 

Try other essential oils such as orange, peppermint, berry, or another favorite scent.

Make Your Own: Cocoa Bubble Bath/ Body Wash

Cocoa Bubble Bath by Fran W

This quick and easy recipe will not only make a fun bubble bath but it can be used as a body wash as well!

To make your own cocoa-scented bubble bath or body wash, you will need…

1c Unscented baby soap (liquid) or 1/2c liquid Castile soap
1/4c Glycerin
1/8c Cocoa power
1 Vitamin E capsule and a pin (optional)
1/2 – 3/4c Water
Bowl for mixing
A bottle that can hold 2 cups of liquid (a recycled shampoo bottle will work)

What to do…

Mix a 1/2 cup of water with cocoa powder, stir with a spoon until the powder dissolves, and set it aside.

Pour the Baby or Castile soap into a bottle, then add the glycerin and water/cocoa mixture. Remove the funnel, pop open the vitamin E capsule (you can use a pin to do this), and squeeze the contents into the bottle and discard capsule. Add the rest of the water to the bottle, close, and shake well. 

How to use…

To use as a bubble bath, shake well then pour a couple of tablespoons or so of the mixture into running water.

To use as a body wash, shake well then put a small amount of liquid on a puff or sponge, squeeze until foamy and wash as usual.

Scent alternatives…

Chocolate Covered BerryInstead of using baby soap, use strawberry or raspberry shampoo as the main soap base.

Chocolate-Mint: Castile soap comes in peppermint and can be used as the soap base. Mint essential oil can also be added to unscented shampoo.

Chocolate-Coconut: Add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil or a few drops of essential oil to the mixture. 
Try some other essential oils such as orange, vanilla, cherry, or another favorite scent.


Make a gift basket: An inexpensive gift basket can be made up for birthdays, holidays, or just because! 
Check the dollar store for travel-size bottles, bath puffs, and baskets. 

Label your creation: Think about making labels for your final product.

Related post:

Chocolate Lip Balm


Chocolate Egg Cream by Fran W

Did you know…

The Cacao Tree’s botanical name is Theobroma Cacao, which literally means, “Food of the Gods”!

Activity: Make an old fashioned chocolate egg cream 

The egg cream is believed to have originated in Brooklyn, New York and has been enjoyed since the 1880’s! 

Here is what you will need to make one of your own…

2-3T Chocolate syrup (*homemade or store bought)

8 oz Seltzer water – chilled
1/4 – 1/2c Milk (cow’s or almond)
Whipped cream
A maraschino cherry
12oz glass or cup

What to do…

Put the desired amount of chocolate syrup into a cup. As you pour seltzer water into the cup with the syrup, mix vigorously with a spoon. Stir in milk and top with whipped cream and a cherry. Enjoy with a straw. Serves 1

* To make your own chocolate syrup, put 1/2c cocoa powder into a saucepan along with 1c sugar, 1/8tsp salt, and 1c of boiling water and stir until smooth. Turn the heat on medium and stir constantly until the mixture boils. Boil for 1 more minute without stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool, stir in 1tsp of vanilla. 

Question of the day:

Is chocolate a fruit or a vegetable?

Learn more:

All About Chocolate

The Field Museum offers information about the history of chocolate, growing chocolate, making chocolate and more

International Cocoa Organization: What Time of Year is Cocoa Harvested?

An informative table to find out when and where cocoa is harvested.

Exploratorium: Exploring Chocolate

Take an online tour of the history of chocolate, learn chocolate facts, about the chocolate making process and more

What is chocolate?

Find out if chocolate is a vegetable or a fruit.

History of ChocolateFollow chocolate through the ages.
ChocolateInformation about chocolate, its history, how it’s grown, types, production and much more. Includes pictures and nutrition information.

Chocolate Jigsaw Puzzle

Do a chocolate jigsaw puzzle on line

Chocolate Puzzles

Printable chocolate related puzzles from About.com

History of the Egg Cream

Take a little trip down memory lane and read about the legend of the egg 

Funschooling & Recreational Learning: Chocolate Resource Page – Chocolate resource page for independent study and for creating a one of a kind study.

Chocolate Chips

Wikipedia: Chocolate Chips – Origins, types, uses and more.

Mental Floss: A Brief History of the Chocolate Chip – Article that talks about the origins of the chocolate chip.

Wonderopolis: Who Invented Chocolate Chips? – Offers a short history. Page reads to visitors. Scroll Down and click on “Listen”.

More chocolate activities on Funschooling and Recreational Learning:

Chocolate Activities

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ctivity on Funschooling & Recreational Learning inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Valentine’s Day

Valentines by Fran W and Becka V

Did you know…

Over 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent in the U.S. each year!

Today’s Activity: Make homemade Valentines

Through the ages, people have made their own Valentines to give away.  

There are many different types of Valentine’s you can make and give to others. Here’s a list of some of the things you will need:

Construction or copy paper, or card stock, ribbons, doilies, feathers, flowers (dried/artificial), lace, ribbon, beads, glue, scissors, stickers, stamps, markers, crayons, something to write with, pushpin, glitter, sequins, hole punch, yarn, tape, needle and thread, heart shaped template, and any other craft supplies you may have on hand.
Optional: Craft mat or corrugated cardboard, craft knife, gold paint and a paint brush (to paint doilies if desired)

What to do:

Make Valentine’s Day cards with the items listed above.

Here are some ideas:

Victorian Pin-prick cards can be made with cardstock or construction paper, a design of your choosing, a pencil, a pushpin, and a craft mat or corrugated cardboard.

Decide on the size and shape you want your card to be, then on the back side of the front of your card, draw a design with a pencil. Using the pushpin, pop small holes in the paper all around the pencil lines. Place a craft mat or a piece of thick corrugated cardboard under your card to allow the pushpin to go through more easily. When you have finished making holes in the design, turn your card over to see the results. 
Tip: Use the full length of the pushpin so that each hole can be seen more clearly.

Doily Cards can be made with cardstock or construction paper, doilies, glue, scissors, dried flowers, glitter, stickers, clip art, and other craft supplies.

Cut out a heart and glue it to the middle of a doily, then decorate the middle of the heart any way you like.
Tip: Other Valentine’s Day related images can be put in the middle such as cupids, arrows, and flowers.

Sewn cards can be made with cardstock or construction paper, a hole punch, ribbon or yarn and tape, or needle and thread. 

Cut out the shape you want, pop holes around the outside of the card with a hole punch, put tape on one end of a length of yarn or ribbon, and sew around the card. Finish off at the top of the heart with a bow and cut off any excess material.  
Another idea is to make a shape or design with a pencil on the front of the card and use a needle and thread to outline your pencil design. 
Tip: Keep your pencil marks light so they can not be seen on the final product.

Fold and Cut Cards can be made with construction or copy paper, or cardstock, a pencil, and a scissor. 

Fold a piece of paper in half and draw half of a heart. A heart template cut in half can help you do this. Cut the heart shape out and keep it folded. Draw a design to cut out with a scissor. 
Tip: For more detailed cut-outs, use a cuticle scissor or a craft knife. This idea is similar to cutting a paper snowflake. 

Question of the day:

How do other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Learn more:

History.com: Valentine’s Day
Watch videos about Valentines’ Day

Wikipedia: Valentine’s Day
Learn about the history and origins of Valentine’s Day and what other countries do to celebrate this holiday

The Toy Maker: Valentine’s Day
Printable (PDF) Valentine’s Day boxes, puzzles, wrappers, cards, ornaments, and more

Activity Village: Valentine’s Day Coluring Pages
This UK site has coloring pages for Valentine’s Day that include: Hearts, cupid, doves, flowers, treats and more

Googol Power: Valentine’s Day Math
A variety of math activities with a Valentine’s Day theme.

Fran’s World of Discovery: Heart Activities
Origami projects and crafts that use hearts to make fun things.

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Note: If this, or any other post on Fran’s World of Discovery, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

Make your own: Bottle Cap Stamps

Bottle Cap Stamps by Fran W

Homemade stamps can be made with inexpensive materials and offer hours of creative fun!

To make your own stamps, you will need:

Bottle caps, foam stickers, markers or stamp pads, and paper
Alternate method: Foam, scissors, and white glue 
What to do.....
Using foam stickers:

Pull the backing off of the foam sticker, center it on the bottle cap, and press it down so it stays in place. 

Stamps made this way can be used right away. 

Any size foam sticker can be used if you have a cap that fits it. 

Alternate method: Using foam, scissors, and white glue:

If you do not have foam stickers, shapes can be cut from foam and glued to a bottle cap. Once the glue has dried, the stamp is ready to go!

Note: When using words and letters, glue them on backward so that they stamp correctly.
Tip: Foam stickers can be purchased in a dollar or craft store, as can sheets of foam. 
Any kind of cap or lid can be used:

Water bottle caps, juice bottle caps, milk caps, caps from jars and plastic lids

How to use:
Once the stamps are ready to use, ink the foam with a marker, then press the stamp onto paper.
 If you huff on the stamp, you will reactivate the ink and stamp with it again, although the stamp mark will be lighter.

Clean stamps with a damp sponge or paper towel and a little soap.

Stamps can be used on fabric if fabric paint or fabric markers are used.
Suggestions for use:

Make cards: Greeting, thank you, birthday, holiday: Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Christmas and any other special day!

Stamp stories: Make custom stamps that fit the theme of the story or poem that you want to create.

Play games: Tic-tac-toe, guess my word, *code breaker and anything else you can think of!

*Set-up for Code-Breaker:

Make six different stamps by using small water bottle/soda tops and foam sticker.

How to play:

You will need: 

Paper cut into 4" x 11" wide strips, makers, stamps, damp paper towel or sponge


1. Decide if you are going to use one type of stamp and four colors or four different stamps and one color before you begin. 

2. On a piece of paper cut into 4" x 11" strips, have one player stamp their code any they want with the stamps and colors and fold it over so that the other player can not see it.

3. The other player will then try to guess what the code is by inking the stamps and putting them in the correct sequence. If any of the stamps are correct, the code maker wi
ll let the player know one of two ways: 1) Underline the correct stamp or 2) Put dots on the side of the line to indicate that there are stamps/colors in the correct place but you are not saying exactly what or where they are. 

4. Once the correct code has been found, switch roles so that the other player can create a code while the other guesses.

When the players get good at the game, opponents can challenge each other to guess the code in any color/stamp combination desired and agreed upon! Change the rules to fit your needs.

Tip: Use a little soap and a damp towel or sponge to clean stamps between colors.

Enjoy being creative!

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran's World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!