So often Valentine's Day becomes just another reason to have a party and eat candy. The kids look forward to sharing cards, but for the most part they just want to see (and eat) all the delicious candy from their bag/box/other storage method you use for Valentines.
Who doesn't love a good sugar rush, right? However, this is also a great opportunity to engage your students in service learning and thinking beyond themselves.
Unique Ideas to Celebrate Valentine's Day in the Classroom
The ideas below were some of my favorite ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day in my classroom. While none of them are super time intensive, they are all impactful and fun.
1. Make cards for a nearby nursing home or assisted living facility.
My students and I did this last year in class, and after the school day ended my daughter (then just 18 months old) and I went and delivered them. I was nearly reduced to tears upon leaving.
The people at the nursing home we visited were so happy to get these cards, and they ate up my mini-me as the delivery mechanism.
The thing about our visit that touched me the most was a gentleman who told us that his wife had died recently and she had hand made him a Valentine every year of their marriage. He had been dreading the day since this would be his first Valentine's Day without her, but he was so happy to have the card from one of my students.
Little Bean and I spent about twenty minutes just hanging out with him, and it could not have made my heart happier.
2. Do a Valentine's week Random Acts of Kindness chain.
The week leading up to Valentine's Day tends to be a week where students progressively become less focused on learning and more focused on the upcoming party and candy haul they are about to receive.
Encourage kindness toward others by creating a Random Acts of Kindness chain. Just cut red, white, pink, and purple papers into strips.
As kids observe someone doing some thing kind for another student they can nominate that person for the chain by writing down what they saw on a strip.
Each day review the strips and add them to the chain.
An added bonus is it creates easy party decor, too!
3. Collect donations for a local animal shelter or food bank.
So many students love to bring their teacher candy or treats.
At the end of the day, you end up with so much candy, and you know you'll never be able to eat it all…or if you do manage, you might need jeans the next size up.
Instead, find out what a local animal shelter or food bank near you needs. You can even research this with the students to actively engage them. Put a box out and collect canned goods or dog/cat toys to deliver on Valentine's Day.
This ends up being less expensive for families too, and if you send out an email to families, you may even get more than you expect!
4. Create a Buddy Bench or other method to encourage friendship.
Valentine's Day is a great time to remind students about the importance of friendship and inclusiveness. Use it to help support those students who may feel left out.
If you haven't heard of a Buddy Bench, you can read more about it here. If a bench just doesn't work for you, see if you can find an alternative way to help your students recognize the importance of being inclusive and supportive of their classmates.
With very little effort, you can transition Valentines Day from a day full of sugary sweets to something more meaningful for your students and yourself..
Looking for more ideas this Valentine's Day?
Valentine's Day is such a great learning opportunity. If you're looking for another fun Valentine's Day project that creates a great display for your classroom, be sure to read about my Valentine's Day Writing Banner