A Valentines Day theme can be a difficult theme in that we try to promote a healthy snack policy, but we provide lots and lots of friends, hearts and love as the focus instead!
For the past few years we had a Valentines Card Exchange day. We send a note home to the parents that they should make home made Valentine cards with their children (enough for everyone in the class including their child! They always give one to themselves!).
We let them know that they should NOT put any food or candy items on them (allergies and our healthy snack policy in mind!), but they can add pencils or things like that.
The goal is for the parents to do an activity with the children! We suggest that they make 3 a week throughout the month of January with with children so that they are done in time for our Exchange Day!
We also, in September, send home a note asking the parents to send in any shoeboxes they have (they usually purchase new shoes in the fall!). We save these for our Valentine Exchange.
A week before the party, the children decorate one box with all kinds of this and that art items...paper, sequins, etc.
On the day of the party, the children place one of their home made Valentines in each of their friends' decorated boxe
Let the Valentines Day Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for this Theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Looking for a Friendship Theme? Click Here
Looking for our Post Office Theme? Click Here
Fist Heart Painting
Materials Needed: red paint, white paint, paper with predrawn large hearts, scissors
Children should cut out (as best they can!) a large paper heart of their choice.
Help children make 2 fists with their hands and place their hands into the paint tray (their pinky side of their hands should go into the paint).
Help them to press their hands onto their heart paper, with their fists together. It will look like a heart paint print. Have them print as many hearts as they want with their fists!
When dry, they can glue on notes for their families or friends.
EXTENSION: For notes, print the phrases I LOVE YOU or HAPPY VALENTINES DAY on papers at the Writing table and encourage the children to copy the printing onto their own paper strips. They can then glue that note onto their painted heart.
Valentines Day Shades of Red!
Materials Needed: Red and white paint, paint brushes, paper plates (to mix paint on); blank sheets of white paper
Place red and white paint on a paper plate (one paper plate per child) and provide them with a paintbrush.
They will have fun making their own shades of red and pink!
EXTENSTION: Instead of you placing the paint on their paper plates, provide them with cups of white and red paint and a plastic teaspoon and let them measure their own paint ont the paper plate!
Materials Needed: Red and pink paint, small toy cars, heart shaped paper.
Children dip the cars into the paint and "drive" the cars on their hearts to make heart tracks. When dry, they can send these home to family members as Valentines Day cards! Encourage them to write messages or their own names on the hearts!
Materials Needed: Small precut hearts (approximately 4 inches X 4 inches), craft sticks, glue, stamp pads (washable of course!).
Encourage the children to use their thumbs or fingers to make finger prints on the small hearts.
Glue each heart onto a craft stick.
Tie a bunch of them together with a note that reads "THUMBbody loves you!" This would make a great gift for a family member for Valentines Day!
VARIATION: Instead of using stamp pads, use paint. Have the children paint a very thin layer of paint on their thumb with a paintbrush and then stamp their hearts.
Paper Plate Picture Cards
Materials Needed: Paper plates (either prepurchased in Valentines Day colors or plain white--then have the children paint them one day and do this activity another day when the plate is dry); glue; miscellanous arts/craft supplies (such as sequins, pieces of ribbon, hearts, doilies, etc.); a picture of each child.
The children glue on different items to their paper plate.
In the middle, they glue on a picture of themselves.
They print their name on the paper plate.
(I recomend that you add the name of your program and the year on the back as a memory keepsake!).
Materials Needed: different sizes of heart cookie cutters (or other Valentine themed cutters you may have), a variety of paint colors; white paper
Put paint out in shallow trays.
Show children how to dip the cookie cutter into the paint and then onto their paper. When dried, these can be used as Valentines cards to send home!
EXTENSION: Before they work on their own papers, provide a large paper for them to work together to cover with heart stamps. Use this as a bulletin board to display their art or pictures throughout the theme!
Coffee Filter Heart Rainbows
Materials Needed: Coffee filters precut into heart shapes; markers; spray bottles with water;
cover table with a waterproof tablecloth or shower curtain.
Children color the hearts with markers.
They spray them with the spray bottles and watch the colors run together!
Have MANY hearts available as many of your children will want to make a lot of these! Encourage them to color with just red and blue so they can see the shade of purple that they make. Experiment with other colors as well!
VARIATION: Instead of spray bottles, provide the children with eye droppers and small cups of water to drop water where they want. Great fine motor skill practice!
These dry very quickly so you will be able to hang them right away! They would make a great impromptu bulletin board! We write their names on them in pen before they begin so that they can take them home at some point!
Valentines Day House
Place red, pink and other stuffed animals in your block area. Wrap some blocks in themed wrapping or tissue paper to allow for houses to be built with patterns!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Valentines Day Theme!
Acts Of Kindness Board
Materials Needed: LARGE precut heart labeled "Acts of Kindness"; many smaller hearts (large enough to write their names on).
Hang this paper at circle time. Discuss kindness with them. Ask for examples of being kind.
Explain to the children that Valentines Day is more than just GETTING cards but giving kindness as well!
Tell the children that when you or the other teacher(s) see them being kind to a friend, you are going to write their name on a heart and place it on the board. Also, if THEY see a friend being kind, they should tell a teacher what they saw so that their friend's name can go on the board. ONE RULE! They can NOT tell of the things THEY do ("Miss Cheryl, I helped Mary pick up the puzzle!"). Tell them that this is about noticing what OTHERS do, not what THEY do! Tough concept, but they can get it!
I've had this up for weeks at a time. I suggest that the first day, you make every effort to be sure that you notice one act of kindness for each child so that they see that what they do is important and noticed and on the Act of Kindness Board! Also, you could write their name and WHAT you noticed! I kept a clipboard and listed one kind thing that was noticed for each child. At the end of the day (when the children went home), I posted them on the Kindness Board. The next morning, we reviewed what was on the board from the day before!
The Missing Heart
Materials Needed: Programmed paper hearts with a concept you are working with written on them. For example, if you are working on specific letters, print one letter on each heart. You could also print numbers, the children's names or just have different color hearts.
Place the hearts on the floor at circle. Tell the children you are going to remove one and they have to guess which heart is missing.
Tell them to close their eyes and NO PEAKING! Remove one heart. Tell them to open their eyes and guess which is missing!
If it becomes very easy for them, remove 2 or more hearts and have them guess which 2 or 3 are missing!
EXTENSION: Place pieces of dryer sheets or felt behind the hearts and place them in the library area with a felt board for them to continue the guessing!
Find Your Match
Materials Needed: Pairs of identical hearts
Give each child a heart. 2 children should receive the same color or pattern heart. If you have an odd number of children, have 3 children with the same color or pattern heart.
Tell them to walk around the circle (I play music while they do this!) and find their match!
Repeat as long as there is interest.
EXTENSION: Place the hearts in the math area for more matching game fun in smaller groups!
EXTENSION: Cut the hearts in different ways down the middle (such as with zig-zag cuts, straight cuts, etc.) and have the children find the friend who has the matching heart!
Valentines Day Counting Hearts in the Dish
An old tried-but-true favorite!
Materials Needed: Lots and lots of paper valentines; dish or paper plate (cut into a heart!).
Valentine Valentine in the dish,
How many valentines do you wish?
Ask each child and have them count that number of valentine hearts into the dish.
I usually have a set of number cards for the children to choose from. If not, you'll be trying to figure out how many "one hundred, forty-two, eleven" is! ;)
Materials Needed: Give each child a paper heart of different colors so that 2 or 3 children have the same color.
The idea of this activity is for the children to follow directions. Tell the children that they need to listen to what you sing and do the action ONLY if they have the color heart you are singing about! If color recognition is new to your children, have each one of them tell you what color their heart it.
Sung to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb
If your heart is red stand and jump
stand and jump
stand and jump!
If your heart is red,
stand and jump
and then sit back down.
If your heart is blue reach up high,
reach up high
reach up high
If your heart is blue reach up high
and then sit back down.
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific theme questions while making these fun snacks!
The disclaimer: PLEASE, PLEASE check files for allergies..we've had a child allergic to strawberries, another to hazel nuts (all tree nuts, actually) and yet another to egg products. It is important for you to know before doing any cooking with the children.
Ingredients and Items needed: Bread, Heart shaped cookie cutters; spread (margarine or cream cheese or cheese spread or strawberry jelly/jam!); colored VALENTINE sprinkles
Make toast (1 piece for each child). They use a cookie cutter to cut out a heart.
They spread on whichever spread you have provided and sprinke with pink and red sprinkles. YUM!
Valentines Day Punch
Ingredients and Items Needed: 3 quarts of fruit punch; 1 quart of sugar-free ginger ale; 1 six ounce can of frozen orange juice and 1 six ounce can of frozen lemonade.
Have children help pour each of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix. This batch serves about 20-25 people.
Ingredients needed: pieces of fruit--strawberries, apples, grapes, etc. and strawberry yogurt! Let the children cut the fruit (supervised of course).
Provide them with their own portion of yogurt and dip away.
EXTENSION: Place the fruit and yogurt in a blender. Add a splash of orange juice for a great fruit smoothie!
Materials Needed: We usually theme our dramatic play area as a Post Office during our Valentines Day theme to go along with all the letters and cards we are making!
To do this, add work aprons, boxes (shoe boxes) as mail boxes, a lot of small stamps and stamp pads, envelopes, and canvas bags to deliver the mail!
Color Scientist Painting
Provide several colors of paint (including RED!) and white paint at the easel. Have the paper already on the easel. Let the children explore and learn about color and how to make different shades of colors. Be prepared......the colors WILL get mixed in the cups! If this is a problem for any of your children, you may need to provide each child with their own cups of paint and/or allow one child at a time to be at the easel.
Exploration is a very important part of art and color.......and of being a preschooler! There should be no pressure with this activity of "DON'T MIX THE COLORS"!
Materials Needed: watercolor paint, small paint brushes, Valentine themed stickers, paper
Have children create a an adventure for their stickers by placing stickers on the page and painting a scene around it!
Fishing For Your Name Hearts
Materials Needed: Laminated hearts with letters on them (have enough letters to spell ALL the children's names--you may need 12 letter A's etc.), paper clips; dowel rods or rulers (1 per child).
In advance, place paper clips on each heart. Tie yarn on dowel rods or rulers. Tie a magnet or magnet wand on the other end of the yarn.
The children should "fish" for the letters in their name. Suggest that they look for the letters in order!
I usually limit the number of children who can play this at once to 2 children...more than that with a game like this typically turns into a new game of "Watch the teacher unknow the yarn fishing poles"! Not a favorite game of mine ;) And the children get frustrated!
Hide 'N Seek Hearts
Materials Needed: Large hearts of different colors made out of construction paper (or felt)
Hide these hearts throughout the room or area you will be playing this (outside is fun as well!). Tell the children they need to ONLY find one.
EXTENSION: Provide the children with miscellaneous arts and crafts items to glue on to make a decoration for your classroom. Send them home before Valentines Day so they can give it to a special family member!
Heart Stompin' Fun!
Materials Needed: Large red hearts (laminated and then taped to the floor)--one for each child; cd player and music
Have the children dance around the room as the music plays. When the music stops, they have to find a heart and stand on it!
EXTENSION: When the music stops and they are all on a heart, hold up or say a number and have them stomp or hop on their heart that many times!
Musical Heart Chairs
Materials Needed: One chair for each child lined up in two rows with the chairs back to back. Place a different colored heart on each chair. Give each child a corresponding colored heart.
They should walk around the chairs holding their heart as music plays. When the music stops, they should find their heart by finding the chair with the same color heart and sitting on that chair.
VARIATION: You can add letters or numbers to the hearts to encourage letter and number recognition.
Reach the Heart
Materials Needed: Bean bags; heart shape drawn on floor with chalk or a large paper heart taped to the carpet (if you have no floor space available).
The children toss the bean bags and try to get them into the heart shape.
VARIATION: Theme this up a bit! Use a large cardboard box with heart-shaped candy box drawn or glued on one side. Cut a good size hole cut-out in center of heart, or a few small holes for older kids.
Use brown bean bags (representing chocolate)
Tape to mark distance line
How To Play: Place cardboard heart-shaped candy box a little distance from a wall with a paper box lid on floor to catch chocolate bean bags. Mark your distance line according to age and skill of children.
Line children up behind the line and place a bucket of chocolate bean bags beside them. Give each child three tries to get their bean bag through the hole.
Materials needed: 2 Large construction paper hearts per team
How To Play: Divide children into teams of 2 children.
The first child places one of the hearts in front of the second team member. That child steps on the heart while the first child places the next heart in front of the second child.
The goal is for child 2 to keep placing the hearts in front of their friend to get them across the room.
When done, the team members switch roles!
Great teamwork game!
Book Suggestions for the Library
Tic Tac Toe Hearts
Materials Needed: Tic Tac Toe Board (one you already have or one you make!); heart shape pieces in two different colors (5 of each color). Play as you would Tic Tac Toe but with different pieces!
Cover the Hearts Game Materials needed: One piece of construction paper with 12 hearts glued on it.
12 hearts (the same size as the hearts that you glued on the paper from the previous step).
Have the children come up with the rules of how to play! They have great ideas and this gives them some control over a game!
Count the Caps
Materials Needed: Empty Valentines Day candy boxes; many milk container caps!
Place your milk cap collection in a bowl and provide the heart shaped boxes. Let children sort by color and type.
VARIATION: If you don't have candy boxes, provide large hearts made out of paper for them to use as sorting mats.
EXTENSION: Add numerals to each box or piece of paper for the children to count that many caps into it.
Crazy Heart Dude!
This activity is to help develop those small hand muscles!
You will need: A large heart (cut out of construction paper--1 for each child); 4 strips of construction paper for arms and legs; wiggly eyes; markers; glue.
Line them Up
Provide hearts in progressing sizes from small to large out of many different colors. The children use these to seriate in order from smaller to larger or to make patterns with (blue, red, blue red, etc.).
Provide red, pink and white pony beads and chenile pipe cleaners for children to make bracelets. Encourage them to make up their own patterns!
I Love You Song
OK, OK, I know! Don't sing this one if you're sick of Barney!
Sung to the tune of This Old Man:
I love you.
You love me.
We're as happy as can be.
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you.
Won't you say you love me, too?
I love you,
You love me.
We're best friends like friends should be.
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you.
Won't you say you love me, too?
Love My Friends Exercise and Song
Sung to: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Love, love, love our friends,
Yes, we really do.
Valentines, Valentines, Valentines, Valentines,
Sent from me to you!
Do some healthy exercises with the children each time you sing it such as:
Running in place.
Touch your toes and reach for the sky.
Mail Myself To You
I'm gonna wrap myself in paper.
I'm gonna dab myself with glue.
Stick some stamps on top of my head.
I'm gonna mail myself to you.
I'm going to wrap myself in paper
I'm going to stick myself with glue
I'm going to tie a BIG bow on me
I'm going to mail myself to you.
I'm gonna tie me up in red string,
I'm gonna use blue ribbon too.
I'm gonna climb up into your mailbox.
I'm gonna mail myself to you
Helping Friends Dance
Materials needed: Hula Hoops or LONG pieces of string or yarn to make large circles on the floor.
The children should dance outside the hula-hoop or string circles or walk around them as you play music.
When the music stops, they all have to get into a hoop or circle before you count to 10. Tell the children that more than one child can be in a hoop or circle--this is a help your friends game!
After 2 times of playing, remove one hoop or circle. Play two more times.
Continue until there is only one hoop or circle left and they all need to help each other stay in the circle!
Add dish detergent and red food coloring to your water table. Provide egg beaters or wire wisks to make bubbles!
In advance prepare pairs of textured hearts with cardstock: attach cotton balls, sandpaper, aluminum foil, etc.
Have them describe how it feels and match it to its mate.
EXTENSION: Place one of each in front of the children. Place one of its mates in a box or bag. Have one child feel in the bag without looking and feel the heart that is in it. Then have that child guess which of the hearts in front of them match that texture!
Put a lot of crushed ice in your table. Add red food coloring or paint to about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and mix. Pour it all over the ice.
Provide your children with typical water play items such as spoons, cups, sifters, etc. and, don't forget mittens!
Valentines Day Flower Power
Materials Needed: Artifical flowers of different colors and types; magnifying glasses
Place these items in your science center for investigation. If available (and if no allergies to flowers in your class), provide real flowers for them to take apart and investigate!
EXTENSION: One of our teachers added plain rattan wreaths to the science center with artificial flowers. The children really enjoyed checking out the flowers and making a wreath as well!
Red Explosion...kind of!
Materials Needed: Clear plastic cups; water; vegetable oil; red food coloring; toothpicks
Fill each cup about 1/3 full with water. (1 cup for each child who comes to the science center).
Pour a small layer of oil on the top.
Drip a few drops of food coloring on the oil.
Show the children how to use the toothpick to push the food coloring drop through the oil to the water.
When it hits the water, it will "explode" into color in the water!
VARIATION: Instead of just red, put one drop of red and one of blue. They'll love making a new color in the water!
Texture Touch Coolness!
One of my preschoolers said this was "coolness" so that's what we named it!
Materials needed: cornstarch, water, vegetable oil, large ziploc bags, liquid water color or food coloring; masking tape
In each baggie that you want to make, add 5 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/2 cup water, and a few drops of coloring.
Mix ingredients well, until completely blended together.
Add the oil.
Seal the baggie, getting all of the air out of it.
Place the baggie flat on a table and tape the edges down onto the table.
As the children push the "write" on the bags, the mixture will change as it is used and then as you let it rest!
You can make these with the children or make them in advance.
Materials needed: baking soda, water, grape juice; white paper; small cups; paint brushes
Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda to 1 cup of water. Use this mixture to draw heart shapes, the words I LOVE YOU, etc on white papers. Let papers dry completely.
Provide the children with the papers and cups of grape juice and paint brushes.
When they brush the papers, the designs will appear! Another coolness factor!
I love this one!
Materials needed: metal pie tins, cans of evaporated milk at room temperature; food coloring; toothpicks; dish detergent; don't forget a can opener for the cans of milk!
Cover the bottoms of the pie tins with milk.
Add a few drops of food coloring to the tins, one drop at a time.
The children dip the toothpick into the dish detergent.
They then touch the drops of food coloring, one at a time, with the toothpick.
The colors explode into the milk...it's very fun to watch the experiment AND the children's reactions!
Valentines Day Card Shop
Materials needed: stencils; paper, markers, colored pencils, stickers, glue sticks, index cards, old Valentines Day cards, lots of envelopes!
The children can make cards for anyone and everyone here and our class, they DO! They LOVE to make and create here for their family and friends!
Friend Name Cards
Materials Needed: In advance, prepare a card (index card or name plate) for each child that has their first name written on it and has their picture on it. Laminate them so that you can use them all year!
The children can use these name cards to write their friends' names on letters or pictures they make for them.
EXTENSION: Provide low-odor dry erase markers and facial tissues as erasers. The children can trace their names, erase and trace again!
Valentines Day Party
Use the activities on this page to put together some special Valentines Day Party games and activities. Have parents come in to help! Perhaps one of the parents can face paint hearts on children's faces and hands!
Wear Red or Pink for Valentines Day
In advance, assign one day to be "Wear Something Red or Pink Day". Inevitably, a child will not come in with red on.....help them to make a special red heart out of paper to tape to their shirt!
Valentines Day Theme Classroom Visitors
Invite your local mail carrier to come in and say hi and perhaps show the children their mail bag or truck!
Valentines Day Theme Field Trips
You could visit:
The History of Valentines Day!
Who is St. Valentine and why is this holiday celebrated?
The history of Valentines Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young, single men -- his crop of potential soldiers.
Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first valentines day greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement.
Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today.
Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.