On 14 February across the world, people will be exchanging gifts and cards to show their appreciation of each other. Valentine’s greetings can be traced back as far as the Middle Ages, with written Valentine’s appearing after the 1400s, and small gifts or handwritten notes being exchanged in Great Britain around the 17th century.
Valentine’s Day can be a perfect excuse for children to show their appreciation for someone in their life (it doesn’t all have to be about chocolates). Their gifts could be for classmates, parents, siblings, carers, guardians, teachers, other students – whomever they like! Here are some ideas to (hopefully!) inspire you:
1. Kindness notes
This is an easy one and requires minimal set up. Place every student’s name in a hat or box, and then each student pulls out a name (putting it back in if they draw their own name). Their job is to write a few words saying what they like about that person and then everyone can exchange notes. If you want to make this a bit more involved, students could make cards and put them into a post box to be handed out at the end of the day.
2. Kindness collage
Instead of writing notes to exchange, why not have each student write their kindness note on a paper heart to put up as a classroom display?
3. Valentine’s Day Wreath
This is a fabulous idea from Fun Learning for Kids (https://funlearningforkids.com/valentines-day-wreath-craft-alphabet-activity/). Cut out the middle of a paper plate and use the outside edge as a basis for your Valentine’s Day wreath! Fun Learning for Kids suggest using heart stickers to practise identifying letters, but why not be even more creative with your decorations or use a personalised message?
4. Secret backwards valentines
Why not use hearts to have fun with mirrors? Since a heart is a symmetrical object, students can have fun drawing half a heart to see how the mirror makes it seem whole. Why not take this a step further and write secret flipped messages in the half of the heart, so whoever their valentine is for can use a mirror to find the secret heart and secret message!
5. Draw a picture from a heart
Most of us have played the game where you draw a squiggle on the page and then have to think of a creative way to make it into a picture. You can do the same for Valentine’s Day! Tell the children to draw a heart (or more than one) on a page with a coloured pen or pencil. It is up to them if they make it short or tall or thin or fat. Then tell them to make an image out of it and see what they come up with – maybe it will be two swans facing each other, the bottom of a dress or an elaborate hairdo. Use a second colour if you want the heart to stand out in the image.
6. Sneak in a bit of biology
Hearts aren’t only a symbol for love. Every single one of us has a heart inside of them and there’s loads of fascinating facts about them. Why not use Valentine’s Day as a chance to learn a bit about the human body? You could tell them some cool heart facts (your heart is as big as your fist!) and then remind them how important a good diet and exercise is to keeping your heart healthy.
7. Painting rocks
Who doesn’t love a pet rock? Students can find their own rocks at school or rocks could be brought in, and then they can choose someone they want to show their appreciation to. Then they can paint their rock however they want – hearts are a classic, or students could do the recipient’s favourite animal, a nice message, a pretty pattern or something else they think they could like.
We would love to hear if you used any of these ideas or have your own suggestions for Valentine’s Day!