Love is in the air! While Valentine's Day is traditionally celebrated as a day for romance and love for couples, it is also a great holiday to teach children about love, empathy and compassion for others. Teaching children about these social emotional concepts helps them to develop healthy relationships with friends and family members.
Children who struggle with socializing often find Valentine’s Day to be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. These kid-friendly, Valentine’s Day-themed activities are sure to win the hearts of your children and students while providing meaningful social emotional learning opportunities.
This timeless activity doubles as a creative craft and an opportunity for kids to share words of affirmation with classmates or their parents and siblings. Arts and crafts are great tools for social emotional learning. This activity can build kids’ self-confidence and give them an opportunity to be generous and kind to other children.
Have your children make a personal “mailbox” for collecting Valentines from others. Next, have each child make a card for each of the other children in the classroom or family. Depending on the age of your children, you can provide different prompts for what to write on the cards.
Conversation hearts are one of the most popular Valentine’s Day candies, and they can be used as intentional conversation starters to turn family time into fruitful conversation or help students get to know each other better.
Grab a bag of conversation hearts (or more depending on the number of kids playing) and pour a handful into a bowl or cup for each participant. Create a list of questions to correspond with the most common conversation heart phrases. Here are some example questions for inspiration:
You may have to be creative depending on the conversation hearts you purchase. Have the kids take turns picking out a heart from their bowl/cup and reading what it says and answering the corresponding question.
Brainstorm with your children and/or students to come up with acts of kindness that they can complete in their homes, school or community. This is a great way to cultivate kindness in your home or classroom. Spark conversation about why the things they come up with are kind or loving, have them write the acts down on a heart-shaped piece of paper, and encourage your kids to try to complete all of the random acts of love by the end of the month.
Storytime! Children’s books can be great tools for teaching kindness, love and empathy. Reading books that show love and kindness in action help children understand and grow in these social emotional concepts. Need some book recommendations? Library Mom recently rounded up 9 New Valentine’s Day Books for 2022.
I have found children’s books to be particularly helpful in my son Guion’s, who happens to have Down syndrome, social and emotional development. In fact, Guion inspired me to write
Guion The Lion, which presents a message of kindness and empathy to young readers.
Guion the Lion is a children’s book about an imaginative little lion who sees things differently from his friends. Using colorful illustrations and charming animal characters, the story portrays that new perspectives and appreciating differences can open the door to unexpected fun.