Who knew we needed this holiday so much!? Celebrating friendship, love, appreciation, and inclusivity – Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to bring your class some fun and good-feels after a tough year.
In normal times, we’d be organizing handmade paper valentines, classroom activities, candy hearts, and other treats for an in-person celebration. But this year requires a little creativity in moving the holiday online and rocking it – luckily, we’ve gathered up a list of 13 great ideas to help you do just that!
1. Throw a party – Yep, even if you’re teaching remotely you can still throw a great virtual party. The key is creating a fun mood and tone. Decorate your space in pink and red (even just a little goes a long way) with things like garlands, paper heart cut-outs, paper flowers, and other crafts. Check out tips on resources, tech, and tailoring for different grade levels here.
2. Make Valentine’s Day cards – These are the beloved Valentine’s standby – and the good news is they’re not going anywhere. With some planning ahead, you and your class can still make traditional paper cards (see #s 2, 3, 16, and 18 here) or you can go totally virtual using any of the many online cardmaking apps out there. We also have free downloadable teacher-to-student Valentine’s cards on our blog.
3. Do holiday word games – From word scrambles to crosswords and rhyming exercises check out these holiday-themed downloadable worksheets.
4. Get crafty – Send a craft packet out to your students ahead of time and add craft-making to your party plan. The ideas are endless: beaded hearts with pipe cleaners, heart pockets, friendship bracelets, collages, and more – find dozens of ideas here and here.
5. Embrace magnetic poetry – Students can create poetry for the occasion by using this easy-to-use free online tool.
6. Facilitate peer shout-outs – Part of the beauty of Valentine’s Day is lifting up the things we find great about another person. Use this cool heart-shaped word cloud to help students create clouds containing things they love about their fellow students or family members. This exercise is great to assign to student pairs.
7. Do a candy heart experiment – Slip in some science with this fun activity. Best for preschoolers or kindergarteners (requires parental supervision).
8. Spread the love – Check your local Children’s Hospital or hospital’s pediatric unit to see if they have a Valentine’s Day card campaign your classroom can join. These can be done online and be delivered electronically. Pro tip: hospitals usually ask that the message sticks to a Valentine’s theme rather than a “get well” message.
9. Share stories – Ask students to create their own “Things I Heart”: on a heart-shaped paper cut-out, they can write down things they love in their life – this could be people, pets, food, activities, sports – anything that makes them happy and feeling good. Besides being good for the holiday, this also helps them start strengthening their gratitude muscle. Download our printable template here.
10. Do a kindness challenge – Devote the day, a week, or even the whole month to a kindness challenge. The idea is to have kids think of little kindnesses they can do for others – such as leaving a thank-you note for their mailman, doing an extra household chore for their parents, or hanging a birdfeeder for hungry birds. Find more ideas here and here (make Covid adjustments as necessary).
11. Have a poetry reading – There are a zillion poems about friendship and love – and plenty appropriate for every grade level. Have students find a poem they like and then share it with the class (older ones can memorize and recite; little ones can read from the page or screen).
12. Do some creative writing – There are so many writing prompts for the day! Have students write their own poetry, write a friendship letter, make a gratitude list, draft a love letter to the earth or write thank-you notes.
13. Holiday gif – Kids can easily make Valentine’s-themed pixel art for free at home. A great intro to animation!
Just because Valentine’s Day may not happen in the classroom this year doesn’t mean it can’t still be great. Enjoy this day of kindness and love with your students – kindness really does make the world go round!
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