Printable Valentine Cards

Printable Valentine cards

Today we have a download that supports skills in kids (and adults) with these printable Valentine Cards. Use these printable activities along with some treats for a kid-made gift that helps them develop skills while making the cards. What parent or teacher wouldn’t love that type of holiday card! This PDF file is a winner when used to develop handwriting skills, coloring, visual motor skills, direction following, and more! Add this fun idea to your list of Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activities.

Also be sure to get our Valentines Day I Spy activity for more skill-building. You’ll also love our Conversation Heart Sort. It’s a sorting worksheet for a fine motor activity with conversation hearts.

Printable Valentines Cards

Printable Valentines Cards

Sometimes a fun activity can make skill-building better! That’s where these adorable cards come into play. Grab a copy of the printable valentines and add your own message for working on handwriting skills, empathy, and more. It’s a fun way to develop goal areas using the holiday fun!

Can you believe how big this holiday is?  Billions of dollars are spent buying Valentine’s gifts for others, millions of cards are sent, and hours of time is spent preparing for the festivities.  However shallow and costly this may seem, we could all use a reason to celebrate.  Some months it seems we slog from one week to the next waiting for the weekends to arrive, only to do it all over again on Monday.  An added day or week of excitement breaks up the monotony and gives us a reason to celebrate.  These free Printable Valentines Cards are perfect for celebrating without breaking the bank!

Kids of all ages can use these printables in occupational therapy sessions, the classroom or the home.


If you are looking for the perfect classroom valentines, look no further.

Not everyone has the money or belief to spend lots of money every time a holiday comes around.  Many recipients find a homemade card or gift to be much more meaningful than a store bought one.  

Let your learners of all ages show their creativity with these free printable Valentine’s cards to color.  Enter your email address below and your printable Valentine’s day cards will shoot directly into your inbox.  

The free printables are a great tool to work on coloring skills with an end result, while still allowing the kiddo (or user of any age) to show creative expression.

Get out lots of different art supplies to help your learners use their creativity. Pens, markers, glue, glitter, sequins, dot markers, paint, crayons, ribbon, tissue paper, and anything that can be used to decorate the free printable Valentine’s card will be a win with your learners.

As an added benefit, using the foldable printable Valentines Day cards to color and develop fine motor skills, users can work on eye-hand coordination, pinch and grip strength, visual motor skills, and more.

As you walk down the hallways of different schools, you might see different types of art projects.  What do you notice?  Many of them are cookie cutter, with all of the pieces exactly where they belong, looking identical to one another.  

While this is super cute to send home to parents, there are a lot of reasons to stop doing this.  

  • Young learners thrive on experimentation, getting messy, and free expression
  • Parents have a better picture of their child’s abilities if they see what their child makes independently
  • Learners get comfortable making mistakes while noticing their picture looks different than others
  • What better way to learn cause and effect by dumping a bottle of glitter and heaps of glue onto their printable Valentine’s card?
  • Teachers can witness their learner’s ability to independently follow a model without intervention, track their progress, and see their skills without influence.  
  • Caregivers can learn a lot about the sensory system by watching young learners create.  The sensory seeker might put their hands in the paint and spread it up to their elbows.  The avoider might pick crayons instead of messy markers.  A seeker tends to mark heavily on the paper with vigorous strokes, while the avoider draws with lighter strokes.
  • The ABC Learning Center has a great article on what artwork reveals about a person

An open-ended tool such as these thoughtful valentine’s day gift cards can support skill development while still allowing the user creative expression oppourtunites. 

Free Printable Valentine Cards to Color

Start practicing today with the free printable Valentine cards to color.  Make the decision to put out the supplies and let the students create their masterpiece independently.  You can show an example so the students get an idea, however encourage learners not to just copy yours. 

  • Stop prioritizing product over process
  • Sit on your hands if you need to.  Sometimes the urge to “fix” things is overwhelming.  Learners don’t always need reminders that they forgot to draw a nose, or that clouds are not pink.
  • Limit the amount of directions you give
  • Talk about their art.  “I notice your whole picture is blue, what made you decide to choose that color?”  
  • Encourage experimentation.  As ugly as we might think it might be, young learners think mixing all of the paints into the infamous gray blob is exciting
  • Try not to criticize.  Notice the process instead

There are times when the end product is supposed to look like the model in order to address following directions, however it does not have to look exactly like the model if the learner is unable to do this independently.  You can discuss with the class your objectives for the task such as color inside the lines, cutting on the lines, and having legible handwriting. 

This is not easy.  There are some educators and therapists cringing as they read this.  One teacher I work with only offers colored pencils because everything else is messy.  Another freaks out if something goes awry.  On the opposite end, I have teachers who embrace me coming in and letting their learners get messy and create how they are able.  This week not one penguin looked like the other in the hallway outside one class!!


As you set out the free printable Valentine’s day cards, get excited about how different each learner’s art will be.  Watch as they make messes and get creative.  

Younger children can simply decorate the printable cards. Older users, teens, or participants of any age can use the printable cards as last-minute valentine’s day cards that support handwriting and direction-following skills.

Take time to notice the great skills they are working on as they complete their printable Valentine’s cards:

  • Folding paper
  • Coloring inside the lines
  • Sensory exploration – drippy glue, sequins, glitter, finger paints, paper shreds
  • finger/hand strength
  • Cutting along lines
  • Using glue to paste images onto the cards
  • Writing on differentiated lines
  • Handwriting for writing name, letters, etc.
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Executive function, following directions, attention, attention to detail, focus, sequencing, planning, task completion, neatness, impulse control, compliance, behavior, and work tolerance to name a few
  • Social function – working together in a group, problem solving, sharing materials and space, turn taking, talking about their work, making mistakes

These printable Valentine Cards would look great on an occupational therapy bulletin board or sent to special teachers or paraprofessional support individuals in the school, too. This is a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift that “gives” in more ways than one!

A general search on the OT Toolbox brought up dozens of posts and resources for Valentine’s day including hole punch cards, fine motor worksheets, fine motor printables, Valentine’s busy bag, Valentine sensory bottle, Valentines sensory bin, and more.

Enjoy the Valentine’s day celebration, however you choose to share it with others.  Make time for creativity, and of course eating chocolate!

Free Printable Valentine Cards

Want to add this activity to your printable therapy resources? Enter your email address into the form below to access this therapy tool. This printable PDF is also available inside the Member’s Club. Members can log in and access the printable cards on our Valentine’s Day Therapy Theme (Level 2) or under Fine Motor Activities (Level 1 and 2).

FREE Printable Valentine Cards

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    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    Sorting Colors Activities

    sorting colors

    Sorting colors is a big deal. Young learners in the toddler and preschool stage start out by sorting items such as blocks, plastic animals, coins, or colored items.  Later in child development, sorting colors morphs into sorting silverware, matching socks, organizing drawers, or filing papers to name a few life skills. 

    Sorting colors

    Sorting by color is an important skill for organizing items into categories to make sense of them, or for ease of locating them later. It is far easier to find a pair of socks in a drawer when they are matched together rather than in a large multi-colored pile. But what developmental skills are required for sorting colors? How can you support this essential skill?

    Sorting Colors

    First, let’s break down what we mean by sorting colors…

    Sorting by color can refer to anything from colored blocks to silverware does not involve being able to name the item. 

    Developmentally, a young learner does not need to know their colors in order to sort. They are arranging the items according to their properties. You could sort foreign coins into their respective piles without any idea what they are. By participating in sorting color activities, the young child obtains hands-on practice in several areas of development: 

    Hopefully as your learner continues to sort items, they may start recognizing the qualities of each item.  This can include shade, or color, shape, form, number, etc.

    Sorting Colors Development

    As with many skills, there is a hierarchy of learning to sorting tasks. Young children develop these skills through hands-on play and by playing with toys.

    Development of color sorting progresses through these stages:

    1. Grouping items that are exactly the same.  Examples; colored plastic bears, blocks that are all the same size, coins, pompoms
    2. Sorting items that are similar: different brands of socks in similar colors, silverware in varying sizes, towels, a bag of buttons
    3. Sorting items that are similar AND different: sorting items by the color red, that are all different items. Sorting socks that are all different sizes, shapes, weights, and colors. Sorting items by colors that vary (five different shades of red).
    4. Sorting items that have more than one category This stage of development progresses to categorizing objects that can be sorted such as a pile of paper to file. In this case there needs to be one similar quality selected first in order to sort, such as putting all the medical bills together, sorting by date, alphabetizing the papers. The last stage is where we may see challenges impacted by working memory. Those struggling with development of executive functioning skills can be limited in sorting objects in various categories, particularly when a background is busy such as a messy desk, cluttered locker, or home.

    Sorting by color is not the easiest way to sort. When there are multiple items that are similar such as 100 colored plastic balls, your learner may not recognize these as different items.  They see balls first, not colors. Try sorting very different items first.  Example: 5 identical buttons, 3 towels, 4 pencils, and 6 spoons.

    Color Sorting and Visual Perception

    Sorting involves recognizing an item’s properties, but also visual perception.  Through development of these skills, children move from thinking through the sorting of colors to visual efficiency which allows for automaticity in tasks.

    Below are some thought processes that integrate color sorting with visual perceptual skills:

    • Figure ground lets the “perceiver” see the items as part to a whole, 
    • Form constancy recognizes that two balls of different colors are still balls. or two shades of red are still red.  
    • Visual discrimination allows the learner to tell difference between items. 
    • Visual memory is the ability to remember what is seen as the eyes are scanning the items

    Color Sorting Teaches Mental Flexibility

    When teaching sorting, teach mental flexibility.  Sort many different items in many different ways. Sort by, color, size, similarity, quality (4 legged animals), texture, weight, or two qualities.  

    Sort the same items two different ways.  First sort the plastic fruit and veggies (affiliate link) into color, then sort by type.  Later your learner can sort by larger categories such as fruits versus vegetables.

    Color Sorting and Functional Tasks

    Why do some people have difficulty organizing and cleaning up? 

    Sometimes a large task seems very overwhelming, therefore shut down and refusal tends to occur.  The most effective way to combat this is to teach sorting and categorizing. Go into your child’s messy room and look for the categories.  

    • Books all over the floor
    • Dirty clothes everywhere
    • Papers and trash scattered around
    • 9 dishes and plates
    • 29 stuffed animals
    • 84 hair clips
    • 64 crayons

    Now this task seems much more manageable.  I often had to solve this dilemma with my younger daughter.

    What other, more complicated ways could she organize this messy room?

    • Sorting the books into genre, size, type, or alphabetizing
    • Organizing the dirty clothes into whites and colors
    • Determining trash versus recyclables
    • Crayons may be part of the “school supplies” category
    • Hair accessories or toys might be a larger category

    How would you tackle this chore?  

    • Sort into the larger category first such as books, then sort into their subcategories?  
    • Sort into subcategories such as stuffed animals, games, action figures, puzzles, then group into toys?  

    There is no wrong answer depending on how your brain works. Actually the only wrong answer is not getting started or having a meltdown.

    When working on basic sorting colors, and feeling it is futile or pointless, think about the bigger picture.  A person who can put their laundry, silverware, and toys away will be more independent than one who can not.

    Color Sorting Activities

    So, are you wondering about a fun way to build development in this area? We’ve got plenty of ideas.

    The OT Toolbox has a great resource for teaching sorting using everyday items.

    Amazon has tons of toys and games for sorting!  (affiliate link) Don’t limit yourself to store bought items though.  Your kitchen, bathroom, junk drawers, and desk are filled with items that can be grouped and sorted.  

    Color sorting activities can include ideas such as:

    • Sorting colored circles (cut out circles from construction paper)
    • Sort different objects by color and drop them into baskets or bowls
    • Use color sorting activities along with a scavenger hunt. This color scavenger hunt is one fun idea.
    • Cut out cardboard shapes and sort by color or shape. This cardboard tangram activity is an easy way to make shapes in different colors.
    • Sort colored markers or crayons
    • Laminate a piece of construction paper and use it as a play mat. Sort different colored craft pom poms or other objects onto the correct mat.
    • Print out color words and sort them along with small objects. The Colors Handwriting Kit has these color words and other printable activities for playing with color.
    • Make dyed pumpkin seeds and sort by color.

    This color sorting activity is a powerful fine motor activity and a super easy way to learn and play for toddlers and preschoolers.  We’ve done plenty of activities to work on fine motor skills in kids.  This straw activity is the type that is a huge hit in our house…it’s cheap, easy, and fun!  (a bonus for kids and mom!)  

    A handful of straws and a few recycled grated cheese container are all that are needed for tripod grasp, scissor skills, color naming, and sorting.  

    SO much learning is happening with color sorting!

    Fine Motor Color Sorting Activity with Straws

    This color sorting activity is a powerful fine motor activity and a super easy way to learn and play for toddlers and preschoolers.  We’ve done plenty of activities to work on fine motor skills in kids.  This straw activity is the type that is a huge hit in our house…it’s cheap, easy, and fun!  (a bonus for kids and mom!)  A handful of straws and a few recycled grated cheese container are all that are needed for tripod grasp, scissor skills, color naming, and sorting. 

    This color sorting activity is great for toddlers and preschools because it helps to develop many of the fine motor skills that they need for function.

    I had Baby Girl (age 2 and a half) do this activity and she LOVED it.  Now, many toddlers are exploring textures of small objects with their mouths.  If you have a little one who puts things in their mouth during play, this may not be the activity for you.  That’s ok.  If it doesn’t work right now, put it away and pull it out in a few months. 

    Color sorting activity with straws

    Always keep a close eye on your little ones during fine motor play and use your judgment with activities that work best for your child.  Many school teachers read our blog and definitely, if there are rules about choking hazards in your classroom, don’t do this one with the 2 or 3 year olds. 

    You can adjust this color sorting activity to use other materials besides straws, too. Try using whole straws, pipe cleaners, colored craft sticks, or other objects that are safe for larger groups of Toddlers.  

    There are so many fun ways to play and learn with our Occupational Therapy Activities for Toddlers post.

    Kids can work on scissor skills by cutting straws into small pieces.

      color sorting activity using straws

    We started out with a handful of colored straws.  These are a dollar store purchase and we only used a few of the hundred or so in the pack…starting out cheap…this activity is going well so far!  

    Cutting the straws is a neat way to explore the “open-shut” motion of the scissors to cut the straw pieces.  Baby Girl liked the effect of cutting straws.  Flying straw bits= hilarious!  

    If you’re not up for chasing bits and pieces of straws around the room or would rather not dodge flying straw pieces as they are cut, do this in a bin or bag.  Much easier on the eyes 😉  

    Kids love to work on fine motor skills through play!

     Once our straws were cut into little pieces and ready for playing, I pulled out a few recycled grated cheese containers.  (Recycled container= free…activity going well still!)   We started with just one container out on the table and Baby Girl dropped the straw pieces into the holes. 

    Here are more ways to use recycled materials in occupational therapy activities.

    Toddlers and preschoolers can work on their tripod grasp by using small pieces of straws and a recycled grated cheese container.

    Importance of Color sorting for toddlers and preschoolers

    Color sorting activities are a great way to help toddlers and preschoolers develop skills for reading, learning, and math.

    Sorting activities develop visual perceptual skills as children use visual discrimination to notice differences between objects.

    By repeating the task with multiple repetitions, kids develop skills in visual attention and visual memory. These visual processing skills are necessary for reading and math tasks.

    The ability to recall differences in objects builds working memory too, ask kids remember where specific colors go or the place where they should sort them.

    These sorting skills come into play in more advanced learning tasks as they classify objects, numbers, letters, etc.

    And, when children sort items by color, they are building What a great fine motor task this was for little hands!  Sorting straws into a container with small holes, like our activity, requires a tripod grasp to insert the straws into the small holes of the grated cheese container.   

    These grated cheese containers are awesome for fine motor play with small objects!

    Sorting items like cut up straws helps preschoolers and toddlers develop skills such as:

    • Fine motor skills (needed for pencil grasp, scissor use, turning pages, etc.)
    • Hand strength (needed for endurance in coloring, cutting, etc.)
    • Visual discrimination (needed to determine differences in letters, shapes, and numbers)
    • Visual attention
    • Visual discrimination
    • Visual perceptual skills
    • Left Right discrimination (needed for handwriting, fine motor tasks)
    • Counting
    • Patterning
    • Classification skills

    Preschoolers can get a lot of learning (colors, patterns, sorting, counting) from this activity too.  Have them count as they put the pieces in, do a pattern with the colored straws, sort from smallest to biggest pieces and put them in the container in order…the possibilities are endless!

    Cut straw into small pieces and provide three recycled containers to sort and work on fine motor skills with kids.

    Color Sorting Activity with Straws

    Once she got a little tired of the activity, I let it sit out on the table for a while with two  more containers added.  I started dropping in colored straw pieces into the containers and sorted them by color. 

    Use colored straws to sort and work on fine motor skills with recycled containers.

    Baby Girl picked right up on that and got into the activity again.  This lasted for a long time.  We kept this out all day and she even wanted to invite her cousin over to play with us.  So we did!  This was a hit with the toddlers and Little Guy when he came home from preschool.  Easy, cheap, and fun.  I’ll take it!

    Looking for more fun ways to work on color sorting?

    You’ll find more activities to build hand strength, coordination, and dexterity in this resource on Fine Motor Skills.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Colors Handwriting Kit

    Rainbow Handwriting Kit– This resource pack includes handwriting sheets, write the room cards, color worksheets, visual motor activities, and so much more. The handwriting kit includes:

    • Write the Room, Color Names: Lowercase Letters
    • Write the Room, Color Names: Uppercase Letters
    • Write the Room, Color Names: Cursive Writing
    • Copy/Draw/Color/Cut Color Worksheets
    • Colors Roll & Write Page
    • Color Names Letter Size Puzzle Pages
    • Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages
    • Colors Pre-Writing Lines Pencil Control Mazes
    • This handwriting kit now includes a bonus pack of pencil control worksheets, 1-10 fine motor clip cards, visual discrimination maze for directionality, handwriting sheets, and working memory/direction following sheet! Valued at $5, this bonus kit triples the goal areas you can work on in each therapy session or home program.

    Click here to get your copy of the Colors Handwriting Kit.