10 Valentine's Books and Activities for Kids
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Valentine’s day as teenagers and adults can seem stressful and unnecessary, but for kids it is so exciting! It can be just an excuse to buy and eat chocolate (no complaints about that from me), but I believe it can be used for so much more! It is a great time to explicitly teach friendship, healthy relationships and kindness. Here are a few books that are great for parents and teachers to use as a way to start activities that generate kindness and social/emotional learning. Use these books to jump-start activities that promote kindness and relationship building during this wonderful time of year!
Read on to discover 10 wonderful Valentine's read alouds and activities to teach kindness and friendship!
1. What I'd be Without You
By: Ned Fuller
Give children 10 index cards. As a family or class brainstorm fun and free activities that the kids enjoy doing with their friends and family (or class). Make a big list. Then have the kids write down their 10 favorite activities that they would like to do with their family (or class). Teach children that an important part of building relationships is spending time having fun together. Then make an effort to do one activity a week or month (maybe as a reward) to help develop a positive family/class culture.
This book is also great for teaching similes. It would be a wonderful book to use as a read aloud to pair with a lesson about figurative language.
2. Enemy Pie
By: Derek Munson
Make friendship Pie:
Have students write a recipe for how to make friendship pie. Have them list all the necessary ingredients for friendship and then write them with measurements to make a recipe. Use this as an opportunity to teach students how to read a recipe (and maybe even make a special Valentine's Day treat).
3.Click, Clack Moo I Love You
Give the students a special paper to write down names of new friends they make. Challenge them to talk to another student at their school who they have never talked with before. As they meet new people, encourage them to write down their name and one thing about them that they learned so they can continue to grow their friendship.
Have your children (or students) draw each other's names out of a bowl secretly. Give the students a week to do nice things for each other. Then at the end of the week let the kids guess as to who drew their name. You can repeat the activity for a few weeks in a row so that children (or students) get an opportunity to grow their relationship with multiple people.
4. A Crankenstein Valentine
By: Samantha Berger
Comic Strip or Flip Book:
Have children make a comic strip or flip book about a tradition they enjoy around Valentine’s Day.
Make a paper chain by cutting strips and letting children loop them together as they find things they have in common with each other. Have the kids write 5 or 10 things about themselves. Then have them say one of the things on their list. If someone else has that in common with them, they can put a loop in the next link. If the child is the only one in the class have them read another thing on their list (and talk about how fun and awesome it is that we are all unique). If multiple children can make a connection, just choose one to go next. Then hang your chain up in the home (or classroom) to remember all the connections your family (or class) shares.
5. Froggy’s First Kiss
By: Jonathan London
Share a Kiss:
Get out a big bowl of Hershey Kisses. Give one to one child or student. They have until the end of the day to do an act of service for someone and give them the kiss. Then that person can eat it, but they have to also get a new one from the jar the next morning and they have until the end of the day to do something nice for someone else. If you are doing this with the class, show students a list of their classmates and make sure that they do something nice for someone who hasn’t gotten the kiss yet.
6. The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn
How can we help comfort the people we love? Cut out lots of small hearts. Have kids write things we can say or do on the hearts and give them to classmates and family members. You could even turn this into a community service activity where you give the comfort hearts to a hospital, nursing home or soldiers who are deployed.
7. The Giving Tree
By Shel Silverstein
Giving Tree Challenge:
Make a paper tree using a poster or butcher paper. Tape apples on the tree. On the back of each apple write a kindness challenge for your family (or class) to do together. You can take one apple off a day or one a week and encourage all the students to do the act of kindness before the next apple is picked.
8. Love Monster
By Rachel Bright
Have students make their own monster. You could do this with paper bag puppets, paper plate masks or even just drawing out their monster. Then have the kids write down things about themselves that they don’t think their classmates would know (if you do this as a family you can make it more intimate and have the kids write down a few strengths and a few weaknesses). As the teacher read the list and then allow the kids to guess who owns the monster. As a class talk about how we all are unique and how we can love each other even though we are different from each other (if you are doing this with your family, talk to your children about how we all have things that come easily to us and things that are more difficult and that we can use our weaknesses to relate to others and that it is good that we are all different).
By: Eric Carle
Think of things that we need more of in the world (love, understanding, compassion, friendship, gratitude….). Then use that word and write an acrostic poem about how we can be that word and how that word makes us feel. Use LOVE by Eric Carle as a mentor text with all of that figurative language to express what love feels like.
10. Llama, llama I Love You
By: Anna Dewdney
Read this story and then write Valentine’s with your class or family.
How can I promote positive classroom culture?
Creating a classroom culture of caring is essential for students in order to learn. Great ways to do this from the beginning of the year are social/emotional learning programs, read alouds that focus on kindness and taking time for activities where students can share and get to know each other. Check out Service Learning Projects for more ideas on how to improve your classroom focus and culture.
What are engaging books for students?
It can be difficult to find engaging books for a wide variety of interests and skill levels within your classroom. Finding the right text can increase student motivation to read and learn drastically. Look at some of these booklists for a great holiday read alouds and booklists for all ages.