Tania K. Cowling is a former teacher, a published book author, and award winning freelance writer.
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We all know kids love holidays. But not every child gets excited about celebrating Valentine's Day. My elementary students were never into the gushy, romantic symbols, but when I got them engaged in the day—drawing and cutting out hearts and playing games—they were eager to participate. With the following Valentine's Day ideas for teachers, you can really get your students into the spirit of the holiday.
Further Reading: Celebrate Valentine's Day With These Sweet Ideas
Connected Heart Garland
While the heart garland craft is nothing new, I've added an engaging twist to it in my classroom. Start by passing out large sheets of construction paper in shades of red, pink, white, and lavender, and then show your students how to make connected hearts. As the kids are working, hold a discussion about the word "connected." Ask these questions: Who do you feel connected to? Who are your best friends? Which family members do you particularly like to spend time with? (Don't forget about the family pets!) Then have your students write their answers on the hearts of their garland. Before the day is over, connect all the strands together to make one long banner to hang around the room and across the windows.
Digital Photo Booth Bulletin Board
Why not use the popular trend of taking photos with props to create a fun and unique bulletin board for Valentine's Day? Have your students invite a friend or two to take photos with. Provide a box of props like funny glasses, feather boas, hats, or little signs. After the kids get decked out with the props, have a helper snap a digital photo or let your students use a selfie stick. My students loved this project, and it was hard to get them to stop! Print the pictures, arrange them on a classroom bulletin board, and use a catchy title such as "Funny Friends Are Filled with Love."
Rebus Love Letters
Have your students write a Valentine's Day riddle using the rebus concept, where symbols and pictures are used in place of words. Just set out markers, old magazines, scissors, glue, and construction paper, and your students will be ready to start brainstorming. Once they have a symbol for each word or syllable, they can join the parts together with plus (+) signs. Randomly place these papers around the room and see how many rebus puzzles your class can solve.
Clothespin Heart Relay
String some twine across a couple chairs or bookcases. Each team will have a clothes basket, red felt hearts (at least two per child), and clothespins. When you say go, the first player takes a heart from the basket and runs to the clothesline to hang it up with a clothespin. Then he or she runs back to the team and tags the next player. This process continues until all the hearts from the basket are hung on the line, and the team that empties their basket first wins the game. Your class will have fun, and they'll also get a mini workout.
Further Reading: 5 Reasons to Love Teaching
Conversation Heart Hunt
Another favorite game of mine involves searching for candy conversation hearts. Hide them around your classroom and send your class on a quest. Award players one point for each pink or orange heart they collect, two points for each yellow or blue heart, and three points for each green or white heart. As a bonus, players who find matching phrases earn 10 points for each pair. Add up the points and whoever has the highest score wins.
Even though candy is the name of the game on Valentine's Day, there are a lot of other treat options to consider. For instance, consider trying: