I remember being so excited for Valentine's Day as a kid. The excitement of choosing the perfect set of valentines, then carefully choosing which one to give each friend or classmate. And of course the silly, girly anticipation of whether that cute boy two rows back would give me a valentine that let me know they felt the same way. (Didn't happen, folks!)
I think one reason I loved Valentine's Day was because my dad made it special. He would always get my sister and me flowers or a card or something special to let us know how much he loved us. Sometimes he would even take us out of school for a special lunch date! Those were sweet times I still cherish when I look back on my childhood.
Now that I'm older Valentine's Day has taken a bit of a backseat. I know, I know. I'm married and have someone and should be celebrating. But alas it always tends to be a holiday that doesn't get a lot of attention in our house. Plus Sean's birthday is four days later so there are other things to celebrate at that time.
Whether I celebrate it or not a holiday is always a reason to find new books! So here are a few books and activities to go along with them that you can do at home with your children or in the classroom. Wishing you a love-filled day, every day!
This is NOT a Valentine by Carter Higgins, Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Summary: An adorable story where a little boy makes sure to let his friend know all the gifts he gives her are NOT valentines. Those are too mushy. The thoughtfulness shown in each gift is a sweet reminder that cards and flowers aren't the only way to show our love!
Activity: Brainstorm a list of ways we can show people that we care other than giving them the traditional valentines. Choose one or two things to do for a family member or loved one.
Love Monster by Rachel Bright
Summary: This monster isn't cute or fluffy. But he wants someone to love him for who he is and goes on a journey to find that special someone. A great reminder that sometimes love finds us when we don't expect it and we are each unique.
Activity: Write a letter to someone you care about telling them all the unique things you love about them.
Classroom Activity: This would be an awesome classroom activity to build each other up and create an end of the year gift at the same time! Have a student sit on a stool in front of a whiteboard and write those unique characteristics around their head as classmates brainstorm. Then take a picture of that student and all the attributes. At the end of the year you could frame the picture to give to the student.
Valensteins by Ethan Long
Summary: A hilarious read perfect for those kids that want to cry "Eeeewww!" when Valentine's Day comes around. Fran is in love and all the other ghoulish creatures just can't understand it. A unique mixture of Valentine's Day with Halloween, this book reminds us that love is about what we feel in our hearts and not the gifts we give.
Activity: Have students finish the sentence "Love is when..." with a description of things they do when they love someone. You can brainstorm together as a class. For example, I might start my kids off by saying, "Love is when Mrs. Sacoman gives someone her last bite of a cookie." (Really, truly, if I give you ANY part of a dessert it means I love you.) They could also branch out to things other people do for them. For example, "Love is when my mom makes me dinner." Then students illustrate their sentence. This would be great to put together and make a class book! You can get a paper I created for their writing here.
The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
Summary: Cornelia Augusta knows it must be close to Valentine's Day when it starts to rain hearts. So she collects them and chooses each one carefully to give to her friends. A sweet story of knowing your friends and doing something to let them know they are special.
Activity: Pass out one heart to each student (template here). Have them choose someone special to receive the heart and write that person's name on the line. Then give them supplies such as markers, crayons, glitter, glue, etc. to decorate that heart for the recipient. This would make a great display in the school hallway!
Sorting Activity: This activity is great for younger students and children. In the story Cornelia Augusta notices all the hearts are different. Cut out hearts that are different sizes, shapes, and colors. Then have the students sort the hearts by color, size, or shape. You can even have the kids choose how they sort their hearts and see what everyone chooses to do. You can use this template on different colored paper or find your own hearts to use. Other great heart sorting supplies would be the candy valentine hearts with sayings or stickers for little ones.