Valentine’s Day is a holiday commonly associated with love of the romantic kind. But we all know that this day can also be used to celebrate other types of love, such as family and friendship.
This Valentine’s Day, why not take the opportunity to teach students the importance of these kinds of relationships? As well as encouraging gratitude and appreciation, you can also use the day to teach tips for self-love and self-esteem, and showing kindness and compassion for others.
These 12 Valentine’s Day activities are perfect for using in the classroom to highlight these important practices and add a fun twist to any Maths, Science, Art or English lesson!
Teach a lesson on the story of St Valentine
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in class than to teach a lesson on it?
Teaching your students the story of St Valentine will educate them on the real meaning of Valentine’s Day and work in some history too!
St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. He is believed to have been a Roman priest who got into trouble with Emperor Claudius Gothicus because of his involvement in helping persecuted Christians marry.
You could teach the story of St Valentine using picture cards, a book, or this free teacher-made PowerPoint presentation on Twinkl.co.uk. After you’re done discussing the story, students can have a go at rewriting the story themselves either in their own words or using word cards.
Write notes of kindness
Valentine’s Day is of course all about love and being kind to one another. Writing notes of kindness is a great way to teach students the importance of thinking about others and how sometimes, the biggest reward can be from the things we give, not from what we get.
Have your students write and decorate letters to someone they love, telling them all the things they like about that person and why they’re grateful for them. This could be a parent, grandparents, a sibling, their best friend, anybody.
Alternatively, put all your students’ names in a jar and have each member of the class pick each one. Ask everyone to write a few words saying what they like about that person and exchange notes.
Make a heart collage
Make a fun Valentine’s Day wall display using lots of differently coloured paper hearts that your students have decorated. You could let them decorate the hearts however they wish with pens, glitter, and craft materials, or write or draw pictures of things/people they love.
You could even use this art project to create an empowering self-love wall, by encouraging the students to write words of encouragement and positive affirmations. This way, students will always have a source of inspiration nearby.
Have a candy heart estimation jar
Who doesn’t love candy hearts this time of year! As a fun game, put a large bag of candy hearts into a jar and have students guess how many there are.
Have all guesses written down on a piece of paper next to the students’ names. At the end of the week, the student with the closest guess wins the jar!
This game is great for encouraging volume estimation and Maths skills.
Read & write Valentine’s Day poems
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to look at romantic poetry in an English lesson and study their language, rhythm and meter. Look at early modern examples such as Shakespeare, for instance, and compare to more modern poems. Find a variety that use different rhyming structures and discuss with the students which ones they enjoy most and why.
You could then challenge students to write their own Valentine’s Day poems, talking about their favourite people, foods, hobbies or pets. They can follow the style of the examples you’ve looked at or create their own. A simple structure for younger children might just be starting each line with “I love…” and then listing their favourite items.
Bake up some yummy heart-shaped treats
A fun Food Technology lesson would be to bake up some yummy sweet treats for the students to take home and share with a loved one. There are plenty of easy recipes that even young children will be able to join in with, and the students can have fun decorating them however they want.
Baking is great for stimulating fine motor skills and even Maths skills, when measuring and weighing out ingredients.
Here are some lovely recipes that are simple too:
Slice-and-bake Valentine’s biscuits – BBC Good Food
Iced Heart Biscuits – Good To Know
Heart-Shaped Jammy Biscuits – Netmums (these are like homemade Jammy Dodgers!)
Vegan Shortbread Heart Biscuits – Sneaky Veg
Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Hearts – Kind Earth
Make Valentine’s Day Cards
Of course a simple and fun Valentine’s Day activity will be to create some handmade Valentine’s Day cards! Not only will this be a great arts and crafts lesson, it also incorporates an English element when the time comes for students to write their own messages in the cards. The cards can be for a member of their family or a friend in the class.
Start by showing them some examples and then provide materials such as coloured paper and card, glue, scissors, glitter or glitter glues, pens, paint, and even textured materials. You can have the whole class make the same card, practising listening to directions such as fold, cut and glue. Or let them get creative and make their own card from scratch.
For the messages, let your students look at some classic simple Valentine’s Day messages and then either use those or come up with their own. You could even combine this activity with the Valentine’s Day poem-writing exercise mentioned earlier.
This one is a fun experiment for either a Maths or a Science lesson. Using lots of tooth picks and heart-shaped marshmallows, let your students build their own tower structures.
If they happen to be learning about volumes and 3-dimensional shapes in Maths, you could set them specific problems to solve using the apparatus. Otherwise, let them get creative! See who can build the highest tower, or the most interesting structure.
The best part is that the students will love getting to eat the marshmallows at the end!
Perform acts of kindness
Promoting acts of kindness goes a long way towards benefiting the school community and showing students how they can give to others.
Perhaps you could have a ‘Good Deed Week’, where every child has to speak about a good deed they’ve done each day. Or you could work together as a class to perform a positive act of kindness for someone else in the schools community, such as parents, caretakers or dinner ladies!
Alternatively, let the students do acts of kindness for each other. Reward students who offer to help others with their work, or go out of their way to ensure somebody else is included. At the end of the week you could maybe award a gold star to the person who showed the most kindness.
Valentine’s Day bubble blowing
Bubble blowing can be a fun hands-on science lesson for younger children and is easy to give a Valentine’s Day theme!
To make the bubbles, you’ll need:
- 1 cup liquid concentrated dish soap (a brand that makes strong bubbles)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- Heart-shaped tray(s)
- Heart-shaped biscuit cutters
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Reusable coloured straws
First, create the bubble mixture. You could ask some of the children to help with this as its a good chance for them to practise their measuring skills.
Next, pour the mixture into the trays and place the heart-shaped cutters on top. Let the students practise blowing bubbles through the straws, either in groups or as a whole class. In the meantime you can share some information on how bubbles are created, for example:
- Soap forms the thin wall or skin of the bubble
- This thin layer traps air inside creating the bubble
- When two bubbles meet they join, sharing one common wall
- When two bubbles of the same size meet they become one
- When the water evaporates, the bubble pops.
Encourage the children to experiment creating different bubbles and notice what happens each time. Some questions you could ask are:
- “What happens when you blow hard and fast into the straw, or softly and slowly? Are the bubbles different?”
- “Can you use the biscuit cutters to blow bubbles?”
- “Can you use the straw to blow bubbles inside the biscuit cutters?”
- “Can you push your straw into the bubble without it popping?” (Trick: dip the straw into the solution first to create a barrier.)
- “Can you hold a bubble without it popping?” (Trick: make your hands soapy first!)
Have a competition with your students to see who can build the biggest bubble tower! Provide little cups of pre-made bubble solution and straws.
Images & tutorial by Pre-K Pages.
Make Valentine’s Day sensory bottles
Sensory bottles are a great prop to place in any ‘calm down’ corner or for the students to make to take home. By using a few themed materials, they are easy to make Valentine’s-themed and can provide lots of discussion along the way.
To make this Valentine’s-themed sensory bottle by Teaching Mama, you’ll need:
- Transparent water bottle or flask of choice
- Red food colouring
- Heart-shaped beads or shapes, and other pink/red beads (or let students choose the colours).
To make the sensory bottles:
- Fill the bottle or flask with water and add food colouring until water has reached desired colour.
- Add in glitter, beads and any other heart-shaped accessories.
- Slowly pour in the oil so that the beads and objects move around slowly and clump together (like a lava lamp!).
- Affix the lid, shake up the bottle and watch the contents float around!
Images & tutorial by Teaching Mama.
Make a gratitude wall display
Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to also remind students of the importance of gratitude and to think about things they are thankful for.
With the help of the whole class, you can create a gratitude wall that will remind students to pause and feel gratitude throughout their day. They can write/draw their gratitude lists onto paper hearts or cards, and decorate them using magazine cutouts and crafts materials. Get a small group of students to cut out larger letters to create positive gratitude statements that can also go on the wall.
You could even give students a disposable camera and have them take photos of everything they are thankful for – from their favourite foods to their favourite TV show or pair of shoes.