Classrooms, family kitchens and bedrooms become the hubbub of Valentine's Day fun and cupid craftiness on this day of truer than true love. The best way to get kids and preteens to enjoy the day is via crafts, activities and games galore.
An ideal way to start the day is to trace the history of this romantic tradition.
According to legend, Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century when Claudius II was emperor. Believing that single men were more dedicated to soldiering than those who were married, he outlawed marriage for all young men in order to build a military enterprise.
It was the priest, Valentine, who believed so strongly that the law was immoral that he defied the rules and performed marriages in secret.
The second myth swirling around the mysterious St. Valentine states that Valentine was a prisoner who fell madly in love with the daughter of his jailor. Just before he was executed, for an unknown crime, he sent her a passionate letter and signed it with "Your Valentine"--a farewell message that lingers in cards to this day.
As for the fanciful cherub known as Cupid, he is the son of Venus--Goddess of Love. Often depicted as a mischievous imp, his cache of arrows, when lobbed at the unsuspecting and the lovelorn, turns hearts and heads towards thoughts of passion.
THE VALENTINE FRAME
Perfect for kids to give to parents or to the object of their puppy love, the Valentine frame requires the following:
-Candy Hearts or heart-shaped stickers, or pieces of felt cut into heart shapes. (Or, all of the above.)
-Photos of receiver of gift
-Paint and/or markers
First, take the popsicle sticks and glue them in together to make a square frame and then cut out a piece of construction paper to fit the frame. Using markers, paint or glue with a layer of glitter, decorate the popsicle sticks and then glue candy hearts around the frame. Glue the picture in the center, and then glue the ribbon on the back in a loop so it is ready to be wall decor.
THE LOVE BUG
The necessary supplies include:
-Construction paper, (in reds, pinks and whites),
-Glue or a Glue Gun
Trace and cut out a large heart from one of the pieces of construction paper and then cut out a smaller heart from a different color. Next, take a dark-colored marker and make dots on the large heart.
With the large heart horizontal, attach the smaller heart in a vertical line so that the pointed end is down.
Next, glue eyes and pipe clears to form the legs and antennae of this little creature. For the 'voila' touch, attach the doilies on the back as if they were gossamer wings.
For the older kids, an intellectual game will keep their attention more so than crafts. Print copies of famous love poems and pass them around. Put students in groups and have them analyze the themes and symbolism in such classic serenades as these:
"A Red Red Rose" by Robert Burns.
"How Do I Love Thee" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
"Shall I Compare Thee" by William Shakespeare.
"She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron.
"Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal" by Lord Alfred Tennyson.
Reward groups with candy favors, flowers or other treats.
The Art of the Compliment
This is an activity that not only taps into the Valentine's Day vibe, but also builds self-esteem and camaraderie among students.
The game is essentially all about giving complements. Give boys the name of one of the girls and give the girls the name of one of the boys. They then have to compliment the person whose name they received by using a word that starts with the letter of that person's first name.