Valentine’s Day is mainly associated with romantic love, but it’s also a great opportunity to teach middle school students the value of love of all kinds, such as love for their family, friends, community, and themselves!
But how do you find new and exciting ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in class and make sure your students learn something too? That’s where these 17 Valentine’s Day middle school activities come in!
But before we get into the activities – including art activities, English activities, and STEM activities – let’s take a look at the origins of this lovely holiday.
The Origins Of Valentine’s Day
There is a lot of debate around the origins of Valentine’s Day, and the saint which the holiday is named after.
There have been 3 Saint Valentines that the holiday is believed to be named after. All of these saints broke Roman laws, like presiding over marriages between young couples, or helping people escape Roman persecution.
Unfortunately, these saints were martyred by Roman emperor Claudius II.
It’s believed one of the Valentines sent out the first ‘Valentine’ greeting after falling in love with a young woman.
He signed the letter with the famous phrase ‘From your Valentine,’ a saying that lives on in Valentine’s cards and letters today!
In a Valentine’s ‘this or that’ game, students are given a card and are asked to compare what they chose with the other option, which is sure to spark some fun conversations!
Trivia games will be a guaranteed hit with students, and it’s also fun for teachers too!
While scavenger hunts involve careful planning, it’s worth it as students are sure to have a blast. These scavenger hunts can be planned for a single class, or the whole school can join in.
The sense of accomplishment students get from crafts makes it well worth organizing some crafting activities for Valentine’s Day.
With straightforward instructions, students are sure to have so much fun creating these paper hearts.
Unity and school spirit is crucial for any school, and a spirit week in the run-up to Valentine’s Day can build excitement among your students and help them form deeper connections with each other.
Is there anything more exhilarating than shouting out ‘bingo!’ in a nail-biting game? To make the game even more fun, make sure to have some Valentine’s Day sweet treats on hand for the lucky students.
For this activity, print a jar for every student in your class with their names labelled. Let students write compliments about each other, and put these kind words in the jar.
Much like spirit week, this is an amazing way for students to create connections with each other.
We all know how important it is for students to build their self-esteem and this activity helps them do just that.
A classroom debate is a great way to discuss topics relating to Valentine’s Day such as relationships, self-esteem, interpersonal skills, and so much more!
You should also encourage students to do their research so they’re well-prepared to make their case eloquently within the given time limit.
This fun science experiment is sure to blow students’ minds! You can create hidden messages and teach the students how to read them.
The science element will get your students interested in how such magic is possible!
Escape rooms are always a fun, exciting activity for students and a great way to encourage teamwork! Put them in teams so they can solve the clues to get out of the room before their other classmates.
Another fun STEM activity, this candy box project is a great way to get your students’ minds working differently, as they will have to really think about how they are going to design a box that can adequately hold all their candy.
Yet another STEM challenge that is an amazing way to combine Valentine’s Day with science! It’s also a great creative task for students while getting them involved in STEM.
Give the students a time limit to up the challenging aspect of the task, but also the creative freedom to design their own unique structures.
Valentine’s Day karaoke could be a fun, laidback classroom activity. You can ask your students to make a playlist of appropriate love songs to sing, or ask them to write their own songs.
Tasking students to find out about Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world is an amazing, fun way to improve their research skills, and also their presentation skills, as they will then share their findings with their classmates.
Sonnets are usually classified as love poems, which makes them the ideal creative writing task for Valentine’s Day!
One of the most famous sonnets is Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day’ and this iconic sonnet is a great way to teach students about the structure and form of sonnets.
Asking students to write a resume for Cupid is an amazing way for them to learn the practical life skill of writing their resumes when they are ready for the working world.
In this task, students are asked to put themselves in Cupid’s shoes, and write a resume for him so he can be hired as a matchmaker.
Students use the resume template to note down cupid’s interests, personality traits, qualifications and skills, and are encouraged to be as detailed and creative as possible – making it an awesome creative writing exercise too!
Before the activity, ask students to do some research on Cupid so they can write the best resume possible.
How Do You Teach Middle School Students About Valentine’s Day?
There are many ways you can teach students about Valentine’s Day, and celebrate the holiday with them.
For example, you could teach them about the history of Valentine’s Day, how it differs in cultures all over the world, and how celebrations of Valentine’s Day have changed over time.
For English teachers, you may want to take Valentine’s Day to introduce your students to iconic pieces of literature that feature love as a central theme.
If you want to get more artistic with Valentine’s Day, you can encourage self-expression among your students by tasking them with writing love sonnets, creating Valentine’s Day art, or creating STEM-based Valentine’s Day projects.
If you would like some more inspiration for Valentine’s Day celebrations at school, you can have a conversation with peer leaders or their coordinator.
You can even work with peer leaders to arrange an activity that celebrates the holiday. After all, nobody knows what students would enjoy more than their peers!
You can also talk to your fellow teachers to arrange a Valentine’s Day sporting activity or dance for the students, for which you can ask parents and even local businesses to participate.
After all, schools are an integral part of the community, and opening up activities to the wider community will help students form a stronger bond with and pride for their community.
What Are The Most Iconic Valentine’s Day Symbols?
There are a lot of symbols that we associate with Valentine’s Day, and a lot of these have a universal meaning across cultures.
Let’s take a look at the most popular symbols you can use for decorating the classroom.
Cupid is a cherubic figure and is a famous symbol of romantic love, and is often depicted with an arrow which he shoots at people to make them fall in love.
Cupid is a figure from Roman mythology, while his Greek counterpart is Eros. Cherubs are often depicted as mischievous figures.
There are many reasons we associate the iconic heart shape with love.
In Ancient Rome, a now extinct plant named silphium was the main ingredient in ‘love potions,’ and this leaf was shaped like the heart motifs we know today.
Before we had the medical knowledge we do now, many people believed that our hearts were shaped like the iconic heart motifs.
The origin myth regarding red roses states that the flowers were born from the blood and tears of the lovers Adonis and Aphrodite, that when their blood and tears hit the ground, roses sprouted.
It’s been a universal symbol of love ever since!
February is a busy month, packed with important events and holidays, and Valentine’s Day is one of them! How people celebrate Valentine’s Day differs all over the world, and while some people prefer not to celebrate the holiday, it is still an opportunity to introduce fun, educational tasks into the classroom.
We hope our article on the best Valentine’s Day middle school activities have inspired you to get creative in the classroom this Valentine’s Day. We’re sure your students will love them!
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