Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly. If you are looking for a Christ centered Valentine’s Day idea that you can do at home with your children or at church with a group of children, these Jesus Loves me fizzy hearts are a beautiful and fun way to think more deeply about God’s love Since we can celebrate Jesus’ love anytime, Even if you don’t get around to doing these on Valentine’s day, making these Jesus loves me fizzy hearts works any ole day of the year!
The hearts are made of baking soda and then we added vinegar to get a fizzy reaction. The concept is nothing new, but it is still fun to watch.
I made these for an AWANA Cubbies lesson for three and four year old children. Older children would still be pretty interested in the activity—Everyone likes to watch things bubble and fizz….right?!? Just look how pretty… ooohh… aaaah…
Scripture for this Christ Centered Valentine’s Day Idea
Our memory verse for this lesson was a short and simple version of 1 John 4:9
God Loved Us and Sent His Son
For older children, I also like these verses from 1 Timothy
And the grace of our Lord overflowed to me, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.…
In context, this verse is even better. It’s the passage where Paul talks about his need for God’s mercy and the transformation that happened in him—even the worst of sinners. What a great message to share with our children about how God’s love and grace flow in us to make us new creations in Him.
Another Scripture that works with this activity is 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
I love using this Scripture as a prayer for my family and for our church. When I pray, I often pray in mental pictures and I love the picture of love overflowing and that it goes somewhere. It overflows FOR one another. This shifts the activity a bit to focus on loving others, but the source of that love is still Christ.
You can use this Christ centered Valentine’s Day idea as an introduction to a more formal Bible lesson or Family Devotional on one of the above verses or you could use the activity to start a less formal conversation with your kids.
When I did this activity at AWANA, we did it as the children come into the room. I did a quick explanation about Jesus’ love, but didn’t force the conversation to be all about our Scripture. Instead, we talked about what was happening to the hearts as they dropped vinegar on them. Their observations were full of wonder….Just as we should be as we think about God’s love in our hearts.
When I provided the materials, I think I said something like…. This is your heart when I have them the heart and this is like God’s love when I gave them the cup of vinegar. For kids this age, much of their attention is spent on figuring out how to use the pipette and the reaction is mesmerizing.
Allowing Kids to Explore the Materials
This activity has the ability to deeply engage children in the process of watching the baking soda react with the vinegar. When children are deeply engaged in an activity, it is usually better to just let them be that engaged and not try to force the discussion toward my agenda.
There is a bit of a balance here that is tricky. As a leader you don’t want to rob them of the actual play experience, by making it all about the point you are trying to make. That ruins the play and the discoveries they are making on their own. Instead, I sometimes test the waters to see if they are interested in talking about the point I am trying to make—in this case love, and then I let the conversation flow (kinda like those hearts started to flow after a few drops of vinegar).
They kept at it until all the hearts I had made were used up and would have kept going if there more hearts to dissolve…but alas… we did have other things to do to teach the children about God’s love and the gift of Jesus.
Connecting the Activity to Scripture through wondering
Our lesson talked about God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We talked about how God sent Jesus to die for our sins because of his great love for us.
One of the best ways to connect lesson activities to your teaching time is through wondering. For this activity we wondered…
I wonder what you liked best about our fizzy heart activity…
I wonder how you think God’s love changes our hearts like the hearts changed in our activity…
I wonder how God shows us his love…
I wonder how Jesus felt about dying for our sins….
I wonder how you know God loves you…
I wonder how you show others you love them…
You can come up with others, but the idea is to start a conversation. Silence is an acceptable answer and so is boredom with your questions. If they don’t seem particularly into the conversation, move on without killing the energy of the experience.
How to Make Jesus Loves Me Fizzy Hearts: A Christ Centered Valentine’s Day Idea
- Baking Soda (buy the big box)
- Food coloring or liquid watercolors
- Heart shaped molds- I used a candy mold and a heart shaped ice cube mold
- A Freezer
- Vinegar (I used white vinegar)
- Trays or cookie sheets that are about an inch deep.
- Small cups (for the vinegar)
- Pippettes or Medicine droppers (Make use of all those droppers you get from the pharmacist when your kids need antibiotics)
- Protective eye wear or goggles
If you can’t find these materials at the second hand store or your own stash..here are some ideas from Amazon
To create these Jesus loves me fizzy hearts I combined baking soda with colored water. I colored the water before adding it to the baking soda with food coloring. You want a thick paste so add the water slowly. If you end up with something that is too runny, just add more baking soda.
When you have a thick paste, fill the heart shaped molds and press firmly. I found our molds at the second hand store. I see them a lot around Valentine’s day. I have one that was a candy mold, one that makes smaller hearts that is an ice cube tray, and one that makes heart shaped muffins. I used them all. The shallow candy mold worked the best.
You will need to freeze the hearts for at least an hour. So if you need to make more than one batch to have enough, be sure to leave extra time. I made them with my daughter so even the process of making them was part of the experience for her.
Once frozen, the hearts are pretty easy to work with, but if they aren’t cold they are pretty fragile. You will want to keep them frozen until you are ready to work with them.
I set up individual trays for each child and let them rotate through the activity in small groups. (We only had six droppers so only six kids could work at a time).
I let them choose the color of heart they wanted to use and provided them with a small cup of vinegar, a dropper (pippette), and the heart on the tray.
I did have to show most of them how to use the dropper. This activity doubles as great fine motor practice.
A note on safety: The vinegar (and probably the baking soda) will burn if it gets in the eyes and it shouldn’t be left on the skin for very long. I did have one girl get a bit of vinegar in her eye and there were a few tears. Not enough to keep her from returning to the activity, but if you can get your hands on something to protect those little eyes—Use it!
Have a plan for clean up in place before you begin. That always helps me not to stress about the mess. We have a bucket handy to dump the dissolved hearts into so we could reuse the trays. If you are at home, the sink works just fine (I think it will even help clean out your plumbing—bonus!!!)
We also had wipes available so the kids could wash their hands and we took a bathroom break for hand washing when everyone was done. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a sink where you teach. We are not. It’s a big bummer.
Do you have plans to help your kids focus on Christ during the love holiday?
How do you help kids learn about Christ’s love for them?
Please share you Christ centered Valentine’s Day idea in the comments
You may also enjoy…
This Jesus loves Me sensory bin that works well for a lesson on Jesus’ love or a Jesus loves the little children lesson.