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Valentine's Day Activities for School: Easy Game and Event Ideas for High, Middle, and Elementary Students

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It's easy and fun to host Valentine's Day activities for students and staff in your school! Games, special treats, fundraisers, and other event ideas - this list is perfect to get every elementary, middle, and high school in the spirit of this fun and festive day in February.

Focus on Friendship and Kindness

Whether or not there are instructional standards tied to Valentine's Day, it always pops up in February in our schools. It's one of those "traditional" days that sparks nostalgia for all of us (parents, staff and students) - even if your school doesn't outright celebrate this day. Our students often arrive wearing hues of red and pink clothes; elementary students often have Valentine exchange parties in their classrooms.

Therefore, it's a great idea to embrace this day and use it to help keep school culture positive! No matter what age your students are (elementary, middle or high schoolers), focusing on 'love' can spark giggles and drama throughout the school. None of us need any more distractions from learning, so I find it helpful to use the day to focus on friendship and kindness throughout our school.

If students find themselves focusing on 'love' (which can be Pandora's Box in a school setting), I take the opportunity to remind them that Valentine's Day in our school is about friendship and kindness towards all.

Here are some ideas of Valentine's Day activities in school that are fun, simple, and promote friendship and kindness in your school.

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Valentine's Day Activities for School Staff

Host a Themed Potluck - 15 Theme Ideas

Our staff enjoys sharing food together, much like many other school teams! Therefore, we never go wrong when we host a themed potluck among our school staff. Some themes that we've floated include:

Potlucks are a great way to bring people together, and having a theme can make it even more enjoyable. Here are 15 Valentine's Day potluck theme ideas that can add a festive touch to the school day:

1. Red and Pink Delight (our school's most common theme in my experience):

- Ask your teachers and school staff to bring dishes that are predominantly red or pink in color. This could include fruits, salads, desserts, and beverages.

2. Sweetheart Desserts:

- Focus on the sweet side of Valentine's Day with a dessert-themed potluck. Staff can bring their favorite homemade sweets, such as cookies, cakes, and candies.

3. International Feast:

- Encourage a diverse array of dishes by having an international theme. Our school staff is very diverse and we have invited them to share their family favorites from their relatives. School staff can bring dishes from different countries that represent cultures or their unique heritage.

4. Heart-Healthy Potluck:

- Promote health-conscious choices by asking your team to bring dishes that are 'heart-healthy.' This could include salads, lean proteins, and dishes with ingredients known for their cardiovascular benefits.

5. Team Collaboration:

- Have Teams (departments, etc.) partner up to create dishes together. This can add a fun and collaborative element to the potluck.

6. Comfort Food:

- Celebrate the warmth of comfort food. School staff can bring their favorite hearty, comforting dishes to share. Think hot dishes, casseroles, soups, and crockpots.

7. Chocoholic's Delight:

- Make chocolate the star of the show. From chocolate-covered strawberries to rich chocolate desserts, this is always a slam dunk theme.

8. Picnic of Friendship:

- Host an indoor picnic with dishes that are typically associated with outdoor picnics. It adds a casual and laid-back vibe to the gathering. If the weather permits in your area (say an unseasonably warm day or you're in a warm climate), consider grilling! It's always a hit and relatively easy to feed many.

9. Fondue Fiesta:

- Set up a fondue station with different types of fondue – cheese, chocolate, and even savory options. Staff can bring dippables or an element of the fondue setup to share.

10. DIY Pizza Party:

- If your school has access to an oven (for example, we have a culinary classroom), DIY pizza is fun and creative. Provide pizza crusts and various toppings for a make-your-own pizza party. No matter what holiday it is, pizza is always a win!

11. Spice is Nice:

- Explore spicy dishes! From spicy appetizers to main courses, you school teammates can bring dishes with a kick to share.

12. Family Favorites:

- Ask your teammates to bring a dish that holds sentimental value or is a family favorite. It's a great way to share personal stories and traditions.

13. Berry Bliss:

- Celebrate the sweetness of berries by having dishes that incorporate strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or any other favorite berries. Think parfaits and trifles, cobblers, pie, salads with berries, and more.

14. Heartfelt Salads:

- Focus on salads with heart-healthy ingredients. Oddly, salads are always a hit among our staff! They're unexpected and is always such a great variety to choose from.

15. Tea Party:

- Host a tea party-themed potluck with various types of tea, finger sandwiches, and delicate desserts. It adds an elegant and refined touch to the gathering.

Feel free to mix and match elements from these themes or customize them to suit the preferences of your school staff. Whatever theme you choose, it's sure to add a special touch to your Valentine's Day potluck!

Play a Staff Game During the School Day

There are several fun games to play among colleagues on Valentine's Day. These games promote healthy camaraderie, collaboration, and connection among your school staff. This is always important when building staff morale and a positive school culture!

Here are three fun Staff Games that can be played throughout the day.

  1. Host a Rock Paper Scissors Contest: This is always a hit among students and staff! Each school staff member starts the day with a colorful stretchy bracelet or necklace (I suggest using festive Valentine's Day themed ones like these).

Staff challenge each other to a round of RPS. Best two out of three wins the other person's jewelry. At the end of the day, the team gathers at a designated location like the Commons to see who are the winners! I suggest choosing the top 3-5 players in order to keep the competition up all day.

Bonus! This is an engaging and fun Valentine's Day activity for school students, too! See details in the Student Section below.

2. Celebrity Match Up Game

The Celebrity Match Up Game is a low-prep Valentine's Day activity for school staff, too! It is a fun way to bring pop culture into the school, encourage mingling among staff, and have lots of fun. Simply print photos of various celebrity or cartoon pairs (Scooby Doo and Shaggy, Camilla and King Charles, etc.) and encourage staff to find their missing partner by a certain time of day . If they find their partner, they win a small prize and go in a drawing for something larger (like a local gift certificate or a chocolate gift basket).

3. Valentine's Day Bingo

Bingo is one of my favorite games to play with students and staff. Give me a topic or a review lesson, I can probably turn it into a bingo game! It's one of those activities that has high interest and very high engagement.

For Valentine's Day Bingo, I print 11x17" traditional bingo cards for staff and place them in their mailboxes. Staff are invited to hang these on their boards - somewhere that students can see, too. At various times during the day, a bingo number is called on the overheard announcements. Students watch and cheer as their teachers and school staff compete to win a bingo - with prizes and all!

If your school team is not a fan of the announcements and the disruption they can cause, you can also email numbers periodically. Staff can weave the number-calling into their school day when it's convenient for their classes.

Treat Wagon

When I was training to be a principal, my mentor got me hooked on delivering treats to my staff at random and unexpected times. This small token of appreciation has stayed in my toolkit for teachers all these years. Without fail, I always overhear how much people appreciate when their administrators do these random visits. We make a big deal about how much we appreciate our staff, and are sure to let students see and hear it, too!

If you don't already have a cart that you use for a treat wagon, I highly recommend purchasing a utility cart just for this purpose. Carts go missing all the time in a school, but if you create a "treat cart" that staff know is your dedicated Treat Wagon, they will leave it alone - I promise!

I have this cart (which I bought for under $50) because the sides prevent items from slipping off. I can also easily tape signs and decorations on it, depending on the theme:

Fill the Treat Wagon with Valentine's Day-themed goodies including:

  • Popcorn

  • Fizzy water or soda

  • Jerky

  • Nuts

  • Valentine's Day candy

  • Fruit options

  • Other favorites for your team!

Side note - I keep my Treat Wagon decorations tucked in a storage box, away from the other general office decor. That way I can always count on them being where I need them! For Valentine's Day, I bought this low-cost decoration kit and keep them tucked away for my Treat Wagon. To promote kindness and friendship, I leave off the "love" banner and use the colorful supplies to make it pop.

Valentine's Day Activities for School - Student Edition!

Students enjoy this special day, too! Even if you don't plan anything for the whole school, you'll see many students wearing Valentine's Day hues and swapping cards and candy with each other. Why not turn it into something great?

Student Activity # 1: Selling and Delivering Candy Grams in School

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Candy Grams are a WONDERFUL fundraiser for a school club, a charity, or an upcoming event! A candy gram is a piece of paper with candy attached that is purchased by someone and dedicated to another person. Students and parents (yes, parents LOVE to spend money toward this, too!) buy candy grams in the weeks leading up to the day.

Many schools have had great success with selling candy grams, then delivering them them to students and staff on Valentine's Day. It does take some coordinating and organizing, not to mention time to deliver them. Be sure you have a dedicated group of students or volunteers to help.

I highly recommend starting the sale of these three weeks before Valentine's Day. That means having them ready to go shortly after returning from Winter Break! Students can buy them and fill them out on-the-spot. Sell them before and after school, as well as during lunch.

I use the school's Amazon account to buy the group's candy in bulk to save on costs. This time of year, Amazon has great bulk candy prices in a Valentine's Day theme.

To take your profits to the next level, post a virtual link on your school's websites and social media page so that parents and family members can buy them online. (Note, these will have to be hand-written on their behalf before distributing them.

Consider raising money for:

  • Hosting a school dance

  • A local charity

  • Fun equipment, a celebration, or a prize for the school

  • A particular club (often our Art Club, Leadership Club, or Honor Society would rotate who got to run the event each year) - whichever club runs it, gets the money that year!

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Student Activity # 2: Host a Scavenger Hunt

My students and staff know that I LOVE a good treasure hunt! In my free time, I am an avid geocacher. Whenever I can host a scavenger hunt in school, I certainly will because I know it gets kids just as excited as it does me.

Valentine's Day is a great time to hide themed objects around the school. One of my favorites is to hide bitmojis of our team! Many of your staff members have a bitmoji of themselves. If they do, simply print one and hide it in the school. Then, students who find them bring it to the teacher or staff member in exchange for a treat.

Another option is to hide Valentine's Day-themed items throughout the school. One year, I hide 12 of these paper doily hearts in my school. I wrote on them something like, "You found it! Bring it to the main office for a prize!" Students then got to choose from the school store or got a special treat. Bonus! Hide something different for staff! They love the fun, too.

Student Activity # 3: Host a Drive for a Cause

I always look for meaningful ways to get our students thinking about others in our community. Therefore, I'll collaborate with a local charity or our school counselors to learn which organizations are most in need at this time. Hosting a Drive for a cause in your community is a wonderful way to build a positive culture and promote kindness.

Here are some Drives we've done over the years:

  • New Socks

  • Hats & Mittens

  • Coats

  • Cereal & Nut Butters

  • Canned foods

  • Change Wars or a penny drive (where each class or homeroom brings change and competes for a reward)

More Student Activity Ideas

  • Valentine Card Exchange

  • Plan and enjoy an ice cream social

  • Host a party with snacks and games

  • Themed dress up day (ex. Color theme like wearing reds, pinks, or whites)

What are you planning to do with your students and staff this year? Please leave comments below and help inspire each other!

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