By Teachers, For Teachers
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate love, friendship and kindness with your students. Welcome this special day in your classroom by partaking in Valentine-related classroom activities that will put your students’ hearts to work. Here are our best teacher-tested (and investigated) classroom activities that you can use to celebrate Valentine’s Day in your classroom.
Valentine’s Day is about being kind to one another. Have students pick their classmates’ names from a jar, and write a brief note of kindness telling them all of the things that they like about that student. Then, you can either post the notes on your bulletin board, or create a kindness tree using clothes pins to clip each kind note to the tree.
Play a variation of the game Hot Potato with your students but using heart cut-outs. To prepare for the game, cut out a class supply our paper hearts in all different colors. Begin the game by randomly giving students hearts, then starting the music. Students must pass their heart to the person on their right until the music stops. Once the music stops, the teacher calls a color. If a student has that color they must spell one of their spelling words correctly. If they do not, then they are out. If they spell it correctly they can continue to play. You can also use math facts, vocabulary words, or whatever other concept students need to review.
Let students get creative by making their own Valentine’s Day boxes to hold all of their special notes and cards from their classmates. As an at-home project, instruct students to take an empty cereal box and choose a theme that represents them to decorate it. On Valentine’s Day, students bring in their boxes and before handing out their valentines, they present their boxes to the class to get judged. The winner with the most creative box receives a get-out-of homework free pass.
Some schools are unable to celebrate Valentine’s Day for religious reasons. So instead of a Valentine’s Day celebration, you can have a friendship celebration. On this day, invite students to wear red and pink, write friendship letters to one another and make friendship bracelets.
Students can send a message from the heart to anyone of their choosing. To begin, give each student two paper hearts, one red and one pink. The red one should be a little bit bigger than the pink one so the students can paste the pink one on top of it. Once students glue their hearts together, instruct them to look through magazines and choose words and/or pictures that describe the recipient of the heart. They should glue the words, phrases, and pictures to the heart so it looks like a collage. Add a fancy bow or ribbon and you have yourself a personalized valentine.
Learning centers are always a fun time for students. This Valentine’s Day have students move through a variety of centers where they can create a heart valentine, play Valentine bingo or lotto, play a game where they must pick up candy hearts with chop sticks, and of course, eat some fun Valentine’s Day treats.
Sweeten your valentine festivities by reading some heart-warming stories. Here are a few favorites.
Purchase a bunch of plastic hearts from the Dollar Store. You can use them for a variety of heart-related activities. For math, you can have students choose a heart and complete the problem inside. For every five hearts they get correct, they earn a chocolate-covered strawberry. For language arts, you can have students do the same thing but this time they have to answer a writing prompt.
Play a fun game of Valentine Bingo using candy hearts. Give each student a blank bingo board and instruct them to write the following words randomly in each square: Hugs, love, wow, cutie, best friends, be mine, 2 cute, hearts, you’re great. Then, using the candy hearts, students will play bingo. The first one to get three in a row yells “Valentine’s!” and wins!
Invite all of the classrooms down your hall to participate in a Valentine’s Day door decorating contest. Each class comes up with a theme and together decorates their classroom door. Then, appoint one student from each participating classroom to be a judge. The classroom that wins receives a Valentine’s Day cake for their class party.
What Valentine-related activities do you do in your classroom? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts!
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.