February in kindergarten is always such a busy month with so many potential age-appropriate themes. It can be difficult to fit everything in–especially if, like me, you like to dig deep into themes and spend quality time nurturing curiosity and building understanding. In this post, I’ve compiled some ideas you can use to give the kiddos some Valentine fun without taking time away from the content you need to cover this February.
1. Focus on Friendship with a Kindness Chain
Valentine’s Day in kindergarten is all about caring and friendship. It, coincidentally, falls at a time of year when many classes are in need of a classroom management reboot! Making a kindness chain is a great way to put the focus on positive behavior while adding a festive Valentine’s Day decoration to your room. To make a kindness chain, pre-cut a bunch of strips of red and pink construction paper. Challenge the children to notice and report their classmates’ acts of kindness:1 act of kindness=1 chain link! You might want to add the links during your morning meeting, during snack time, or as you close for the day. Jotting the reason for the link onto the strip before fastening it on will allow you to revisit these acts of kindness as the month goes on. Having the students look for kindness in their peers tends to encourage positive relationships and curtail some of the tattling that seems to crop up this time of year.
2. Encourage Card-Making in the Writing Center
If you have a writing center as one of your literacy stations, set up a Valentine shop for your students to make and write cards for their friends and family members. Equip the center with red and pink paper and pens/markers. Add a mini-word wall with Valentine’s Day words and phrases to get their creative juices flowing. If you throw in some stickers (and teach your expectation of how many materials children should use in one session), they will be begging to go to the writing center! If you want to invest in some print-and-go materials to use year after year in your February writing center, this For the Love of Writing set is available in my TPT store.
3. Slip in Some Valentine’s Day Read-Alouds
A great way to bring the fun and friendship of Valentine’s Day into your classroom is to read Valentine-themed books to your students during your regular read-aloud time and/or while they are eating snack. (This section contains Amazon affiliate links.) The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll (illustrated by Jeni Bassett) is a great story for reinforcing social skills and problem-solving. Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson is a sweet story about acceptance and compassion. Children also love listening to Valentine stories about their favorite characters like Pete the Cat, Curious George, and Mouse (from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie).
4. Indoor Recess? Practice Cutting Hearts!
If inclement weather drives your recess inside, have a station set up where kids can practice cutting hearts out of paper scraps. Teach them to fold a piece of paper in half and draw half a heart along the fold. After they cut along their line, they will have a heart shape and a heart-shaped paper frame that they can use in crafting. Children learn a little bit about symmetry this way while building fine motor skills and getting the satisfaction of learning how to do something new!
5. Add some Valentine Fun to Your Fine Motor Boxes
This Valentine’s Day fine motor activity is free for my email subscribers! I was inspired to make a spin and cover set when I saw this cute pack of heart table scatter at Dollar Tree, but these cards can just as easily be used with mini-erasers or any other little counters you have on hand. (Read more about my Fine Motor Skills Task Boxes here.)
If you would like to get this printable download for free, just head over to my free resource library to download the printable materials. (You’ll need to subscribe to my email list to access the freebies. If you’ve already subscribed you can find the current password in my latest newsletter or just resubscribe to get a fresh email with the password.)
Once you have the printables, print them on card stock, laminate them, and cut them out. Your students can use a pencil and a paperclip for their spinner arrow if you don’t have a transparent spinner (read more about spinner options in this post). This set includes three printable spinners –number words, ten frames, or addition–choose the one that works best for your class or print all three and let the children pick! To complete this activity, children spin the spinner and then place a Valentine’s Day counter on the number that matches their spin. Ultimately, they will have to spin a lot in order to fill their card. This is a great fine motor exercise!
I hope some of these ideas help fill your February with sweet smiling faces!