This blog post gives ideas on easy, even last-minute party ideas and activities you can do for Valentine’s Day on a small budget!!! (Please note that all the projects can be embellished with glitter, paint, and other art supplies). However, I kept this SIMPLE, in order to save the sanity of new or exhausted special ed/primary teachers! Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect! A calm, peaceful, imperfect teacher is better than one stressed out by doing ALL THE THINGS, and then is impatient with students. You can do this!
Simple, Traditional Card Craft
Buy some doilies and little heart stickers (foam ones shown here) at the dollar store (but check to see if you have any already). Cut out a heart pattern from an old file folder that is ½ bigger than the doily.
Below are the basic steps, but you need to determine how much you need to prep ahead of time based on the abilities of your students. If you want to take more time, then have students do more stuff (with or without help). Think about what a para or older student can prep for you. Remember that sorting can be a good vocational skill.
- Trace pattern on construction paper. Cut out.
- Glue doily on one or both sides.
- Add heart or valentine shapes. (Use glue if they aren’t stickers).
- Fold in half.
- Write To: ______________ From: ____________ Add a message if desired or able.
To get more mileage out of this project, consider having a prep work task center earlier in the week. Have students sort foam stickers by shape or color. They could also divide stickers and doilies into a set for each student to use at the future card-making station.
Classroom Tip for Valentine Exchanges:
A word about exchanging Valentine’s Day cards/gifts in younger grades. You should always send home a list of student names. Include any students who spend some time in your class during the day (i.e. special needs). I tell students that if they want valentines, they need to bring valentines. They can make them at home. They can make them during free time at school.
Then, when the day actually comes, the first thing my staff and
I ALWAYS save extras Valentines from past years (or buy them cheap after the holiday and save for next year). Then I give the student however many Valentines they need for the class. If the student can write or at least copy letters, I have them fill them out.
Depending on the student, they might be able to make some – cut a piece of white copy paper into 8 pieces. Kids can add stickers or draw their own hearts on it. Now if your school has a specific policy on Valentines, of course, follow the school policy!! I’m just telling you how I encourage kids to bring them, but then I am prepared to help them if needed.
Idea: You might tell parents that if they have extra unused Valentines, they can send them in a baggy for you to keep for future years.
I personally have never had an actual gift exchange as a teacher, but I think the same principle applies…make sure to have extra gifts for students who don’t bring any so all can participate.
Solutions for Party Treats Dilemma
In recent years, treats at school parties have come under fire. Some schools don’t allow parties with sweet treats at all.
At one of my schools, we could only have healthy snacks at all parties during the year. So for Valentine’s Day, I sent home a note asking parents to sign up to bring/send in a healthy treat that was red, pink or white in color. Items I suggested were: cherries, string cheese, strawberries, bananas, red apples, popcorn, and yogurt. To help kids get excited about this, brainstorm party foods and make a list by color similar to the list above.
Then when the sweet treats came (because they always will), we bagged them up and sent them home with the kids at the end of the day.
Remember, you can keep doing Valentine’s Day activities AFTER Feb. 14th! Kids will still love
Use manila folders to make heart pattern templates of different sizes (you can probably tell from the image below that I have used them for years!) Then use glue and pipe cleaners to make this cute heart butterfly!
Below is another idea of what to do with leftover hearts or construction paper. I had students use the heart templates to trace and cut out hearts in different colors. Then, they put them in a pattern (might be different depending on size and how many colors you have), then glued them into a heart wreath. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the finished product, but you get the idea. Turn this into math by writing math facts on one side, or write descriptive sentences, or write one word per heart to write a sentence.
Finally, don’t forget the books! Always read Valentine’s Day-themed books. This might not be the most popular one out there, but nevertheless, it tells a good story about a student who says he doesn’t want ANY valentine’s on Valentine’s Day.
Q: What did the rabbit say to his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day?
A: Some-Bunny loves you!
Q: What did the kitty-cat say to her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day?
A: You’re my PURRfect Valentine!
I hope you have found some simple, fun party ideas you can use in your classroom this week! Thanks for reading!!