Use this Valentine’s Day lesson plan to teach about the history of the holiday, discuss unique traditions associated with love festivals around the world, and create a giant poster illustrating them!
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that sometimes have a bad reputation. “It was created by greeting card companies!” some might say.
…Which isn’t actually true.
Here is an extract from our Valentine’s Day unit study that addresses this misconception directly.
And that isn’t the only interesting fact about Valentine’s Day. Here are just a few:
- It is said to have a connection with the ancient Roman holiday Lupercalia.
- Saint Valentine of Rome also played a role in its appearance. However, many stories that are commonly told about Saint Valentine himself are almost certainly just stories written centuries after he lived. Note: This unit study is entirely secular, and all mentions of religious subject matter are observed impartially.
- The Hundred Years’ War gave the world the first recorded example of a valentine, as it was written by the Duke of Orleans after his imprisonment.
- Finally, the Industrial Revolution and mass production were instrumental in the success of this holiday, but it has far less to do with greeting card companies and much more – with the invention of the penny postal stamp!
You can learn these facts and more from the Valentine’s Day lesson. You can also discover how widely celebrated this holiday is around the world, find out about unique traditions associated with it in nine different countries, colour a giant poster illustrating them all, and then create your own addition for it!
Let’s talk about all this in detail.
About Valentine’s Day Lesson Plan
It is hard to know how much time each class or each family has for social studies each day, so the Valentine’s Day lesson plan suggests two different approaches. One of them is meant to tackle the topic in two days (at about 2 hours per day), and a more in-depth study is intended for five days (with shorter lessons, about 45 minutes each). Additionally, several optional activities are meant to help adjust how much time you want to spend on the subject.
The Valentine’s Day lesson can be largely divided into two large parts: its history and its celebrations worldwide.
Valentine’s Day History for Kids
In the history chapter, students will work through the text on the holiday’s history. It has comic-styled illustrations, poems, and questions for discussion at the end.
Some of the questions check comprehension of the text, while others invite students to think creatively.
For instance, “Who was responsible for creating the association between Valentine’s Day and love? What was special about February 14? If you could create a new holiday by writing a poem, what holiday would it be and when?”
After working with the text, the students are encouraged to create a brief timeline outlining the evolution of the holiday. The included template can help them with it!
In the extras section of this chapter, students can learn more about Lupercalia, Geoffrey Chaucer, and the peculiar historical tradition of sending “vinegar valentines”. They were, to put it mildly, not nice!
Valentine’s Day Around the World
The geography portion of the Valentine’s Day lesson plan starts with a map. Look at the countries listed and guess how many people celebrate Valentine’s Day in these countries!
The data for this activity was taken from a survey hosted by IPSOS in 2021. The results are somewhat surprising! People in the USA, South Africa, and Peru are most likely to celebrate; people in South Korea, Netherlands, and Germany are least likely to celebrate.
Afterwards, we plunge into learning about the unique traditions of celebrating Valentine’s Day around the world.
Have you heard about love spoons from Wales? Or Jack Valentine, the mysterious figure from Norfolk? Did you know that only girls give gifts on Valentine’s Day in Japan? Don’t worry, they get a present back a month later, on White Day! The same happens in South Korea; only this country goes one step further and observes Black Day as well, for those who didn’t receive anything. It’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in this situation in Guatemala though – there Valentine’s Day is a holiday for everyone, young and old, family and friends!
There are nine colouring pages, each illustrating a tradition from a particular country. We’ve got Japan, South Korea, China, Denmark, Norfolk (England), Wales, South Africa, Guatemala, and Israel. Together they form a giant poster!
In a big group, each student can colour one page; in a smaller group, each student can colour several pages – or leave some uncoloured.
This activity is available separately for those who want to have a mini-study on Valentine’s Day – or just make a giant poster to decorate their classroom or homeschool room for the holiday!
Extras in this chapter include questions for additional research. For instance, “There are several kinds of chocolates given in Japan that are mentioned in the text, but more exist. What are the other kinds of Valentine’s chocolates in Japan?” If you want to skip research, you can simply watch the videos and read the articles in the links provided!
Once you have coloured the existing pages, it is time to create new ones from scratch. They can illustrate traditions specific to your student’s experience or touch on the many countries not included in the poster. Most countries either celebrate it or have their own festival of love. For a start, try the Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, Dominican Republic, or Colombia!
These templates will help students to create pages that should seamlessly integrate with the original giant poster so that it can grow even bigger.
More Creative Learning Activities!
Looking for ideas on how to discuss global warming with kids? I created 12 colouring pages outlining practical and attainable ideas on how to help the environment!
Study the wonderful diversity of the bird world with a set of fifty printable bird flashcards and posters!
Share your creations from Valentine’s Day Lesson with us on Instagram by tagging @adventureinabox!