Valentine’s Day is often synonymous with candy and cards, and children look forward to the holiday with much anticipation. Harness their enthusiasm for all things red and pink by introducing a few Valentine’s Day-related activities into your lesson plans. Your students will be able to celebrate this much-loved holiday, and you’ll be able to teach them a thing or two at the same time. Here are 18 ideas to get you started.
Math Valentine’s Day Activities
1. Use Valentine’s Day candy as math manipulatives
Give each student several pieces of candy and some simple adding or subtracting problems. Show them how to use the candy to figure out the answer to each math problem. Your students will love this activity even more if they get to eat the candy when you’re done!
2. Practice counting money by opening a Valentine’s restaurant
Have your students practice counting money in a fun way by opening a classroom restaurant with a Valentine’s Day theme. Assign prices to several treats (real or paper!) and then have your students figure out how to pay for the items they would like. This activity can be modified for early elementary students just learning to count coins and made more challenging for older students who are learning to count dollars and coins at the same time.
3. Practice counting with Valentine’s-themed beads
Small children just learning to count can get in on these Valentine’s Day math activities by counting pink, red, and white beads. Write a number value on the bottom of a heart-themed cupcake liner and then have students count out the same number of beads. Make it more challenging for older children by having them count the beads by 2s, 5s, or 10s.
4. Use red and pink cubes or Valentine’s Day candy to practice weight and balance
Get out your balance or scale and red and pink cubes or even Valentine’s Day candy. Have students make predictions about which ones weigh more or less and then let them try out their predictions.
5. Solve Valentine word problems
Write several Valentine’s Day-themed story problems for your students to solve. Make the activity even more fun by providing conversation hearts or heart-shaped beads that your students can use as one method for solving each story problem. Extend the activity by asking your students to draft their own story problems and then switch with classmates to solve each other’s stories.
6. Make candy heart bar graphs
Give each of your students a pile of conversation hearts and have them create a bar graph that shows how many of each color they received. Ask your students questions, such as which color they had the most of and which color they had the least of. Students can also compare their graphs.
7. Measure Valentine’s Day-themed pictures with conversation hearts
Use those iconic conversation hearts as a measurement tool. Print out several Valentine’s Day-themed pictures or cut out a variety of different-sized construction paper hearts. Provide students with conversation hearts and show them how to line the hearts up to measure each picture or each heart.
8. Make patterns with red and pink heart-shaped beads
Completing and making patterns is a key elementary math skill, and Valentine’s Day is a fun time to practice. Give students red and pink heart-shaped beads and have them make as many patterns as they can think of.
Literacy Valentine’s Day Activities
9. Make silly sentences with conversation hearts
Grab a couple bags of conversation hearts and divide them up among your students. Challenge your students to string as many hearts together as they can to create silly sentences. Encourage students to write down their sentences so they can also practice capitalizing the first letter and writing the correct end punctuation.
10. Have your students write Valentine letters to one another
Letter writing is an important skill for young children. Once you teach your students proper letter writing form, they can write Valentine letters to one another. Extend the lesson by also teaching your students how to properly address an envelope. You can find small mailboxes at dollar stores, which will only add to the fun of “sending” a letter. This is one of those Valentine’s Day activities that every student will love.
11. Practice phonics matching with construction paper hearts
This activity can be modified depending on the age of your students. For preschool and kindergarten age children, cut several construction paper hearts in half. Write a capital letter on one half and a lower-case letter on the other half. Mix the hearts up and have students match the letters. For older children, write letter blends or vowel teams on one half of each heart and a word that contains that combination on the other half.
12. Have students color these magic paper hearts and read each word aloud
Cut out hearts from white paper. Use a white crayon to write a different word on each heart. You might write sight words or spelling words. Provide your students with red and pink markers and have them color each heart. As they color, the words will magically appear. Ask the students to read each word aloud as they work.
13. Have your students create a heart friend and write a story about them
Set out a variety of red, pink, and white paper, as well as glue, scissors, crayons, and assorted craft supplies. Have your students make a heart friend. Once their heart friend is created, they can write a story about them. Encourage students to focus on skills you’re working on during writing class, such as using interesting adjectives or stretching their sentences to make the story more exciting.
STEM and Science Valentine’s Day activities
14. Challenge your students to make a LEGO heart
Give each of your students a small basket of building blocks and challenge them to make a heart. Once they have built their heart, ask them to record how many of each color they used in their creation.
15. Build candy heart towers and and measure how tall each tower is
Have your students stack different numbers of candy hearts and measure how tall each tower is. They might also make predictions about how tall they can make their towers before they tip over or work on strategies to build towers that don’t tip over.
16. Make Valentine’s structures out of gummy hearts and toothpicks
A fantastic way to encourage your students to think creatively is to challenge them to make a structure using only gummy hearts and toothpicks. Don’t give any other rules for the activity. You’ll be amazed at what your students can create when given the freedom to be creative.
17. Conduct a candy heart experiment with water, soda and vinegar
Start by filling one cup with water, one with vinegar, and one with soda. Ask your students to come up with a hypothesis of what they think will happen to candy hearts when placed in the three different liquids. Drop several candy hearts into each cup and ask your students to watch and see what happens.
18. Make sparkly heart-shaped crystals out of borax powder
Start by asking each of your students to bend a red or pink pipe cleaner into the shape of a heart. Then you’ll need to boil four cups of water with two cups of borax powder. Once the borax has completely dissolved in the water, allow the water to cool. Fill jars with the cooled liquid and then suspend the pipe cleaner in each one by tying it to a pencil and setting the pencil on the rim of the jar. Wait two or three hours and your students will be amazed to have sparkly heart-shaped crystals.
Of course, your students will be eagerly anticipating your classroom Valentine’s Day party, but the fun can start well before the party does with these educational and entertaining activities!