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February 11, 2011 Valentine's Day Sweets and Heartbeats By Allie Magnuson
Grades PreK–K

    Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday at school. With heart and flower decorations and a focus on friendship, love, and kindness, what's not to like? I like to extend the easygoing and cheerful atmosphere all day and all across the curriculum. Read on to find activities in every subject area that center around my favorite thing: the heart.


    Subject Areas: Science and Physical Activity

    Subject: The Heart

    Teach This: Show your students where their hearts are located, and help them pin paper hearts on their shirts to mark the spot. Then show them an air pump and explain that the heart pumps blood and that tubes called arteries take the blood through the body. Set up a tunnel to represent arteries. Then explain that other tubes called veins bring blood back to the heart. Have students jump rope to get their blood pumping back to their hearts.

    Teaching about the heart on Valentine's Day

    Get your school involved in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart event.


    Subject: The Heartbeat

    Teach This: While they are sitting and inactive, have students place their hands on their chests to feel their heartbeats, and/or let them take turns listening through a stethoscope. After they do something active, such as marching or jumping, have them feel their heartbeats again. Explain that during exercise their hearts have to work harder, so they beat faster. To show that hearts have rhythms, listen to music with a beat while students feel their heartbeats.

    Teaching about the heart on Valentine's Day


    Subject: Heart Health

    Teach This: First, explain that food is fuel for the body and that "everyday" foods are better fuel than "sometimes" foods. Put pictures of both kinds of foods in containers placed about five feet apart on the floor. Have two students at a time be race cars and refuel at each container by picking a card at random and then either running to the next container if they pick an everyday food (good fuel) or taking baby steps if they pick a sometimes food (not-so-good fuel). After everyone has had a chance to race, talk about cholesterol that can stick around the heart and cause disease. Have the students hula-hoop to bust their cholesterol.

    Teaching about the heart on Valentine's Day


    Subject Area: Reading

    Sweethearts candyImage via Wikipedia

    Subject: Word Recognition; Vocabulary; Oral Language 

    Teach This: Tell your students that Cupid shot his arrow into so many hearts that he needs help finding some of the letters, words, and phrases he used. Have students identify them on candy conversation hearts. Afterwards, students can have conversations or try to make sentences with the words or phrases.
    Conversation hearts Valentine's Day reading activity

    Subject: Independent Reading

    Teach This: Write a variety of short poems and iron them, with some decorations, in between pieces of wax paper. Tie them all together with string and have students read the valentines.

    Valentine's Day Poetry


    Subject: Story Retelling

    Teach This: After reading The Biggest Valentine Ever, students can make mouse puppets, made entirely of hearts, that look like the valentine in the book. Then they can retell the story using the puppets.

    The Biggest Valentine Ever



    Subject Area: Math

    Subject: Ordinal Numbers

    Teach This: Play the card game hearts or a simpler variation of it. Read the nursery rhyme "The Queen of Hearts" and have some tarts.

    Playing Hearts on Valentine's Day


    Subject: Matching; Patterns

    Teach This: Make several small paper hearts out of brown and black paper and decorate them in sets of different patterns. Put the hearts in an old candy box and have students match them up.

    Chocolates Matching Game


    Subject: Sorting

    Teach This: Have your students sort candy conversation hearts by number of letters, number of words, and color.

    Conversation hearts Valentine's Day math activity


    Subject Areas: Art, Language Arts, and Social Studies

    Subject: Friendship; Art; Writing

    Teach This: Have your students make the valentines they will be giving to their classmates — as glittery and sappy sweet as possible. I made the glitter backgrounds for my students, and they decorated the cards with glitter foam letters, glitter die cuts, glitter stickers, confetti, sequins, gems, ribbons, and more glitter.

    Glitter valentines for Valentine's DayGlitter valentines for Valentine's Day

      Glitter valentines for Valentine's Day

    Send home a letter asking for donations to send valentines for Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week.


    Subject: Art

    Teach This: Have your students make their own valentine holders, too. We made houses out of construction paper to hold our valentines.

    Valentine houses for Valentine's Day


    Subject: Friendship; Writing

    Teach This: Have each student pick a name at random and be their secret admirer for a week. They can leave secret notes and pictures for their friends, or do kind things for them. I keep out a supply of tiny note cards, lollipops, and Hershey's Hugs and Kisses.

    Secret admirers for Valentine's Day


    Teacher Love for Valentine's Day
    Mrs. Magnuson and Miss Bindergarten really love their students, who are always willing to do whatever is asked of them.


    I'd love to hear your ideas for Valentine's Day.

    Have a heartfelt weekend!



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