3 Valentine's Day ESL Activities to Teach Your Students the Language of Love (2024)

3 Valentine's Day ESL Activities to Teach Your Students the Language of Love (1)

By 3 Valentine's Day ESL Activities to Teach Your Students the Language of Love (2)Emily Monaco Last updated:

Roses are red, green is the grass.

Now you can teach Valentine’s Day lessons in your English class!

So, let’s talk about lovefor ESL students. No, we are not going to be playing matchmaker—at least not intentionally. We are just going to help our students get hands-on with the English language in as festive a way as possible.

As an ESL teacher, you know how great it can be to have a holiday or event to rely on for themed classes. Valentine’s Day is another one of these great options because there are so many colorfulactivities that you can do without too much prep or cleanup—and ones that you can be pretty sure most students will enjoy.

If you are on the fence, just know that all you need are a few solid recommendationsto get started, and it will be beyond easy to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your ESL students.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

How to Introduce Valentine’s Day

Depending on the culture and mother tongue of your students, Valentine’s Day may be a familiar holiday or may be a completely foreign concept.

Another possibility is that your students will have some familiarity with Valentine’s Day without knowing any of the Valentine’s Day traditions of the anglophone world. For these reasons, it is a great idea to introduce Valentine’s Day before getting started with any ESL activity.

Because you are likely (barring certain circ*mstances) to have at least one student who knows something about Valentine’s Day, we recommend relying on your class to get the conversation started. You can use any number of prompts to get students chatting about Valentine’s Day.

  • Use a calendar and circle the date. Ask students if they know anything special about the date.
  • Use visual prompts like clip art or photos relating to Valentine’s Day, anything from candy conversation hearts to Valentine’s Day cards to cupids, and ask students if they know what holiday they correspond to.
  • Use a Valentine’s Day prop such as actual candies or cards. Pass them around and let students taste candies, read cards and interact however possible with the props.
  • Ask students, “Do you know of a holiday that celebrates love?”

Choose a prompt that is appropriate for the language level and cultural knowledge of your class. Once they are talking about Valentine’s Day, it is easy to get them working on an activity.

1. Making Valentine’s Day Cards

Arts and crafts activities are time-tested ways to keep beginners interested in new vocabulary, and what better activity for a Valentine’s Day lesson than making Valentine’s Day cards?

Note: You can always add a stronger element of more advanced writing to kick things up a notch for intermediate and advanced learners—these guys can even try using more poetic vocabulary, classic poetry formats and rhyming words. You could even have them practice past tense by writing to a (fictional) past romantic interest or the future romantic interest of their wildest dreams.

First, you’ll need to introduce a vocabulary lesson.

Here is just one example of how you can introduce words linked to Valentine’s Day, but it might also be fun to create a word search with words that you find appropriate for the level of your class. Here are a few key words to use:

  • cupid
  • bow and arrow
  • heart
  • love
  • boyfriend/girlfriend
  • husband/wife
  • friendship
  • friends
  • candy/chocolates

This resource is also a great tool to add more words to the list for false beginners (who have had some past experience with English) and beginning intermediate classes for whom the words above might be too simple.

Whatever your final vocabulary list looks like, be sure to choose a quick activity that allows you to introduce between 10 and 15 words at the beginning of the lesson. Don’t dwell on it for too long, or you’ll risk not having enough time for the crafts activity.

Once you have introduced the vocabulary lesson, ask students to volunteer endings for the sentence, “I love…”. If you do not have anyone come forward with answers right away or if the activity appears to be going too far off-topic, you could include a few examples:

  • my parents
  • my dog
  • my husband
  • my daughter

Finally, show students a sample of the kind of card they could make, either by making a prototype yourself or showing images of some cards online. For this, Pinterest is a great resource. Give your students a few sample sentences that they could write inside the finished card:

  • I love you!
  • You’re beautiful.
  • Happy Valentine’s Day!

You can also incite more sentence examples from your students, and encourage them to come up with their own!

The rest of the class should be dedicated to making Valentine’s Day cards using colored paper, stickers, markers, stencils and any other crafts materials you would like to offer. Keep students talking during the activity to make sure that they are still practicing their English while they partake in this activity.

2. Reading and Writing Valentine’s Day Poetry

One great way to introduce Valentine’s Day to your students is by doing a poetry lesson. This lesson type can be used with all levels, depending on the poem that you choose.

For absolute beginners and younger learners, try the classic, “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and I love you.”

For more intermediate or advanced learners, here are some great love poems to choose from:

Beginner poetry lessons will be a bit different from intermediate or advanced lessons. For beginners, first look through the poem and make sure that all the vocabulary is understood and acquired. This can be done by providing an illustrated version of the poem or asking students to explain the meaning of certain key words like the colors and the nouns used in the poem.

Be sure to introduce the concept of rhyming. Luckily, rhyming poems exist in many languages, so it is likely that you will be able to explain this concept without too much difficulty, even to beginners.

Next, show a few different versions of this poem. Depending on your students’ level, you might choose funny versions or just other loving versions.

Once you have presented a few options, encourage your students to write their own “roses are red” poems. This will encourage them to come up with rhymes in English. Depending on the level of your students, you may want to brainstorm rhyming words with them before they begin their poems, or you may allow them to work in pairsto do all this. With any level of students, this activity can be used alongside the card-making activity, and the final poem written by the students can be printed inside the card.

For your intermediate and advanced students, it may be more interesting to take poetry to the next level by including a bit of literary analysis. Our literary analysis lesson plans are easily adaptable to teaching poetry to your students.

3. Researching the Holiday

Advanced students often have the wherewithal to complete independent research projects, and it could be interesting to ask them to delve into the history and the traditions of Valentine’s Day in honor of the holiday.

With this activity, you have two choices: You could either ask students to write a research paper (a page or two should be enough, even for advanced students!) in which case you can ask them all the same question. The other possibility is to ask students to present their findings to the class via oral presentation, either alone or in pairs, in which case you will want to assign a different topic to each student or group.

Choose whichever structure works best for your class and the skills you are trying to develop with your students, be they related to written or oral expression. Whichever option you select, here are a few interesting ideas to get you started on research topics:

  • How did Valentine’s Day grow to be celebrated as it is today?
  • Who was Saint Valentine?
  • What are some different Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world?
  • What is the history of Valentine’s Day conversation hearts?

As always, it’s a great idea to encourage your students to come up with their own ideas as well, so feel free to let them choose their own topic if they come up with one that interests them more.

There is nothing about Valentine’s Day your students won’t come to love!

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

3 Valentine's Day ESL Activities to Teach Your Students the Language of Love (2024)


What are the learning outcomes of Valentine's Day? ›

Learning Outcomes:

understand the history behind Valentine's Day; recognise what it means to show love, affection and gratitude; ● identify how important your relationships are.

What are some Valentine's Day questions? ›

Icebreaker questions for Valentine's Day
  • What is your go-to Valentine's Day sweet treat?
  • Do you decorate your house or office with Valentine's day decorations?
  • If you were a Valentine's card, what would you say?
  • If you were a box of chocolates, which chocolate would you be?
  • What is your go-to night in rom-com?
Dec 23, 2022

What is the meaning of Valentine's Day? ›

Valentine's Day is a holiday when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts. It is also called St. Valentine's Day. The holiday has expanded to express affection between relatives and friends.

What does Valentine's Day teach children? ›

While healthy romantic relationships are important in life, Valentine's Day provides an opportunity for parents to show their kids that this day doesn't just have to be about romantic love; our lives are enriched when we “love well” and whenever we experience a truly deep connection with others.

What should I teach my kids about Valentines Day? ›

Teaching Kids About Love on Valentine's Day
  • The Golden Rule. Everyone learns the “Golden Rule” very early on in life which is that you should treat others with the same respect you would like to be treated with. ...
  • Love can be Kindness. ...
  • Family is Most Important. ...
  • Accepting Everyone.
Feb 11, 2021

Why is Valentine's Day important for students? ›

Valentine's Day will be a great chance to express themselves as they will paint pictures of things they love and present them to the class. This activity will not only bring creativity out but will create a connection between the likes and dislikes of children as they will start understanding the essence of humanity.

How is Valentine's day related to love? ›

The 8th-century Gelasian Sacramentary recorded the celebration of the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14. The day became associated with love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished with the association of "lovebirds" of early spring.

What made Valentines day about love? ›

The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the "lovebirds" of early spring.

What are some Valentine quotes? ›

Romantic Valentine's Day Quotes
  • "I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you." — Paulo Coelho.
  • "We are most alive when we are in love." — John Updike.
  • "I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. ...
  • "To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." — David Viscott.
Jan 11, 2023

What does the Bible say about Valentine's Day? ›

What does the Bible say about Valentine's Day? Since the origin of Valentine's Day as a romantic holiday only dates back to the 14th century, the Bible doesn't have any specific messages about the day—but it does have a lot to say on the subject of love.

What games do you play on Valentine's Day? ›

Try playing one — and get a little closer to the people you love.
  • Crossword Puzzle. Give your brain a workout with a crossword puzzle. ...
  • Heart Bean Bag Toss. ...
  • Valentine's Day Word Search. ...
  • Heart Darts. ...
  • Heart Jenga. ...
  • Valentine Bingo. ...
  • Name That Love Song. ...
  • “Minute To Win It”: Valentine's Day Edition.

What are the steps of Valentine's Day? ›

A Memorable Valentine's Day in 5 Steps
  • GET STARTED EARLY. It might sound obvious, but it's true. ...
  • MASTER THE GREAT BALANCING ACT. Regardless of how your other half feels about Valentine's Day, you're caught in the crosshairs. ...
Aug 18, 2022

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