There are a few things in life that I stress about, but Valentine’s Day has never been one of them (yes, even when I was single). I like to make things fun, but not if that means spending countless hours planning and prepping for something that will last an hour (if that). Even my wedding was simple so I could avoid the drama that comes with saying yes to everything on Pinterest (though…Pinterest wasn’t around when I got married so I lucked out I guess!). Anyway, I’ve compiled a list of ideas for Valentine’s Day classroom ideas that might help the big day go a little bit easier for you.
If you’ve decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the classroom, you’re probably going to want to let parents know. As I just said, I like to keep it simple. And that means I ask parents to not label valentines with each students’ name. Let me explain.
If students don’t have to go searching for “Gavin’s” Valentine bag, they pass them out waaaaay quicker. It’s extremely helpful for primary grades because they have trouble reading their peer’s names, which means it can take an hour to pass out Valentines, which isn’t actually that fun. So, I ask families to not address Valentine cards and to simply have their child sign them. You can grab the editable parent letter here. It has a version where you can type all of your student names and another that asks families not to put names on them. You can grab the editable Valentine’s Day party letter here.
After you send a parent letter home, you’ll need to figure out how you want Valentine’s to be passed out and stored. The first year I taught, I did the traditional shoe box Valentine decorating gig. I decided pretty quickly that that was a lot of work for something that would end up in the trash .5 seconds after students got home. So, I went with basic brown paper bags. A pile of heart stickers (thanks to the previous year’s Valentine’s Day clearance), crayons, and markers and we set sail to Practicalville (I live there pretty much year round). I recommend that you do this on the same day that they pass out Valentines (I schedule it for the first 20 minutes of our Valentine’s Day celebration time). You can download the editable Valentine bag labels by signing up for my newsletter below.
Now, depending on how much time you’ve allotted to “celebrate” Valentine’s Day in your classroom, you may want to have some activities for students to do. I like these editable strip puzzles because they can be differentiated to fit whatever your students are working on (you can make multiple puzzles using the same template–just edit the numbers at the bottom). Grab this free Valentine’s Day activity here.
Another fun, low prep and CHEAP Valentine’s Day game you can easily do with your class is the Qtip Cupid. Cut out a heart froma piece of paper (you can keep the heart and the cutout heart if you want to have 2 groups doing this activity at the same time). Place it in the middle of the room. Give each student a straw and a Qtip. Students take turns blowing their Qtip through their straw and aiming for the heart in the middle of the room. You can have them try from various positions in the room or by taking a step back each time. This game is a hit with kids (and adults) of all ages!
And if you have time for another game, this Candy Hearts Relay (similar to a spoon/egg relay) is super easy and fun to do. Divide your class up (you can decide how many relay teams to do based on how much time you have–the bigger the team, the longer the game) and give each team 3 conversation hearts and tongue depressors/popsicle sticks (the big and wide kind are ideal). This will work best if you have a long space (i.e. a hallway). Have teams divide up and line up on opposing sides. One side will have a popsicle stick loaded with 3 stacked candy hearts and carefully walk across to meet a teammate on the other side to pass the stick off to. The relay team that finishes with all members first wins!
My absolute favorite Valentine’s Day crafts are ones that are easy. If kids have to spend a crazy amount of time cutting, tracing or gluing? Really frustrating when you want to focus on writing. This Love Robot craft makes a great book companion to Robot in Love (get the book here), and the Love Monster writing craft pairs really well with this book. And because they’re editable, you can use them for whatever you’re wanting students to practice (retelling, metaphors, topic sentences, poetry…you name it).
Another fairly cheap activity is cookie decorating. This can be done for pretty much any celebration, andhere’s how I make it easy on myself. I buy premade cookies. That’s right. Cookies that are already baked. In whatever holiday shape I need. Check with your grocery store bakery if you don’t see any on the tables by the bakery and see if they’ll do an order for you. Make a cookie decorating station with just a few ingredients. Add cans of pink, red and white frosting, plastic butterknives and Valentine’s Day sprinkles and you’re set. A yummy and affordable center that you can *test* out while you show students how to properly frost a cookie (spreading frosting on the top is hard for those primary kids sometimes–so you may need to
eat a couple of cookies demonstrate a few times. Aww shucks.
If I have spare time (haha, I know), I like to make some special Valentines that my students are more likely to save for years. I know some people don’t consider themselves artists, so when I made these Valentine portrait templates, I included the basics to make it a little easier. I originally made these to draw my own students and give them as my Valentine’s, but I know many people also let their students draw each other and use them like that. Really, you can do both. There’s no limit to your creativity here! If you want to make portraits for your students, I recommend that you print them on white cardstock at least a week in advance (this way you can take them with you and work on them when you have a moment), write each of their names on the cards, use a pencil first, outline with thin black marker, and color with colored pencils and cut out.
I also like to keep a few Valentine cards on hand to give out to students and let other students give to classmates (especially for the years when I didn’t get around to doing the student portraits above). An alternative to this is to ask parents to send in any extras because often times boxes of Valentine’s don’t have the same number that is in your class so they’ll end up with extras that would otherwise end up in the trash. You can grab some printable Valentine’s Day cards here.
And I probably don’t need to remind you, but don’t forget your own coworkers or your own child’s teacher! If you’re looking for something other than another mug or something else they’ll likely regift…a gift card to somewhere you know they’ll shop never fails. You can find this cute little editable otter card here. I printed this one on white cardstock and used some double sided tape to attach the gift card. This one can be used with any gift card (you can’t go wrong with Amazon, Starbucks, Target). Just type in who it’s from, print and cut and you’re set! Easy peasy! You could also write a little note behind the gift card if you wanted (I left it blank just in case you wanted to write something in that spot).
And what holiday celebration would be complete without a read aloud?! Here are some of my favorite Valentine’s Day Read Alouds! You can click on any of the books to see them here.
And lastly, if you need your class to burn off some sugar or wiggles, YouTube is always a hit. There are tons of options out there, but here’s a fun run in place and cheer for one character Valentine theme video.
So that’s it! I hope you found this post somewhat helpful in finding Valentine ideas for the classroom. Have a special one you use year after year? Drop a comment below to share. I’d love to here what your tried and true Valentine’s Day activities are!
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Love all of these ideas!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!