Wrinkled Hearts + Freebie!

My little ones and I have been having a blast together! We are loving and learning like crazy. I always start the first few weeks with a TON of bonding activities to help students get to know each other and form loving relationships. The classroom climate is THE most important thing to focus on (in my opinion) to have a successful year together! Teaching my kiddos to have empathy and treat one another with kindness and respect is first thing!

When I saw this perfect idea on Cara's wonderful blog "The First Grade Parade", I knew I had to make it my own and do it with my tiny tots.

We began by reading the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

I explained that we were going to read a story that shows how very important it is to treat one another with love and kindness. I held up a large heart cut-out and explained that each of us has a heart and our heart's hold all of the good feelings and love that we have. We were pretending that the heart was Chrysanthemum's heart. As we read the story, the kid's passed it around and every time someone said something hurtful to Chrysanthemum, we crumbled her heart a little more. This showed how our hearts are feeling when we get our feelings hurt.

At the end of the story, the other characters say much nicer things to Chrysanthemum. The littles tried to smoother her heart back out now that she was getting some love back, but the damage was done and they quickly noticed that her heart did not look perfect.

They realized that it is quite hard to fix a wrinkled heart, no matter how hard they tried!

The moral of the activity was that the words they say to each other can leave hearts feeling sad long after we say them. We worked to heal her heart by bandaging it up! We glued the cute poem in the center as a reminder to choose our words carefully.

I also made little bracelets for them to wear! I used strips of black construction paper as the bands :)

 We hung up the heart in our room as a reminder!

You can download the heart poem and bracelets for FREE by clicking below!

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend :)


  1. Love this! I am doing Chrysanthemum this week. I want to do this activity with the story. How fun for the kids and what a great way to visualize how words hurt our feelings.
    Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

  2. I absolutely love this! Thank you so much for sharing. I am actually having an issue with some students not using their "kind words" and I am sure this will help them better understand the effect they have on others.

    A Learning Affair

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I completed this lesson as part of circle time yesterday and the kiddies absolutely LOVED IT!

    Thanks again :)

  4. I LOve this idea! Thank you for sharing and having visuals.

  5. Great Idea! I am going to use this starting out the year and refer to it. I love how the big heart is modeled and crinkled. The Little ones need to experience what is happening.
    I love your blog! -kelleycervantes