If you’re looking for some of the best Valentine’s Day ESL games and activities, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for our top picks for ideas for a Valentine Day lesson plan.
ESL Valentine’s Day Games and Activities
Let’s get into the best Valentine Day ESL activities to try out with your students.
#1: Valentine’s Day Survey
Just ask my students and they’ll you how much I love to use surveys in my classes. They’re student-centred, cover a range of skills in a single activity and can also be tailored to just about any topic, including this one.
The even better news is that you can make your own in just a few minutes once you get the hang of them. Check out some examples right here:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 78 Pages - 03/22/2021 (Publication Date)
#2: Notes of Kindness
A nice idea for a Valentine Day lesson plan is to have students write notes of kindness. They can choose a friend, classmate, teacher, friend or family member and write them a quick note to express their thanks or appreciation for that person. For beginners, consider scaffolding this activity and have some simple fill in the blanks/complete the sentence type things.
#3: Just One Question
This is an engaging survey-style activity that is ideal for holiday lesson plans including Memorial Day lessons. For this holiday, there are lots of interesting questions that students can ask their classmates like:
- Is Valentine’s Day overrated? Why or why not?
- Would you prefer chocolate or flowers?
- What’s your ideal Valentine’s Day date?
Each pair has to choose one question and then survey lots of their classmates. Then, they can compile their results and report them to the class. Find out more about it:
#4: Word Association
It’s often the case that students already know a good deal of Valentine’s Day vocab before you explicitly teach it! That’s why I like to use something like this activity to help students activate their prior knowledge before jumping into the lesson. Check out one of my favourite Valentine’s Day warm up activities:
#5: How Many Candies?
This is an activity that I like to do for most holidays just for fun. Fill up a jar with Valentine’s candy, counting them as you go. Then, seal it up tight and each of my students gets one guess as to how many are in the jar. The closest one gets the jar!
Need even more general holiday activity ideas? Check this out:
#6: Valentine Dictogloss
This is a challenging listening activity to try out with your more advanced-level students. Find, or write a passage about someone talking about their experiences or opinions about Valentine’s Day.
Then, put students into pairs and read it out at quite a fast pace for the level of the students in the class. They can take notes and compare with a partner. The goal is to recreate the original. Repeat the process and in the end, students compare what they have with the original. Find out more:
#7: Valentine Day Vocabulary Guessing Game
Try out this simple game to review new words like chocolate, Cupid, flowers, etc. Put up a bunch of pictures on a PowerPoint slide. Then, students have to take turns describing one of them to a partner who has to guess which one it is. Learn more about it:
#8: Dialogue Substitution
A common way to introduce new vocabulary or grammar is through a dialogue. However, it’s often just a simple reading activity that’s not really focused on meaning. However, it’s easy to pump up the difficulty with this simple activity. Check it out:
#9: Vocabulary Auction
This is a fun sentence-building activity that can be used to review any sort of vocab. Make a bunch of sentences that are related to Valentine’s Day. Then, cut them up and laminate them if you plan to use this activity for more than 1 class.
Put students into groups and have an auction for various words. After that, have a trading time among groups. Finally, they try to make as many complete sentences as they can. Have a look here:
#10: Just a Minute
Try out this speaking activity with your higher-level students. Put students into groups of four and then have some different questions related to Valentine’s Day:
- Talk about a previous experience you’ve had with this holiday.
- Would you rather get a nice present or go on a fun date?
- Chocolate vs. flowers: which is better.
- Valentine’s Day is just a commercial holiday.
Then, the first person has to talk about one of the topics for an entire minute without stopping. The other people in the group have to listen carefully and then each ask one follow-up question. Repeat with the other students and use a new topic. Try out one of the best Valentine’s Day warm-up activities:
#11: Door Decorating Contest
A fun activity to do with students is to have them decorate their classroom door in a Valentine’s Day theme. Then, have some of the teachers or admin at your school judge the doors and proclaim a winner!
#12: Chain Spelling Activity
If you want to review the spelling of some new words, consider this simple activity. Students have to stand up and make a circle. Then, the teacher says a word and students have to spell it out, letter by letter. If someone misses, they have to sit down and are out of that round. Continue until only 1-2 people are left standing. Check it out:
#13: ESL Vocabulary Activities
Check out some of the best ideas for teaching new English vocabulary items:
#14: Discussion Starters
Maybe you’ve had this experience before? You tell your students to talk about something for some length of time and you’re met with near silence. It often happened to me when teaching in Korea! Of course, it’s not my students’ fault. It was that I didn’t give them enough direction.
These days, I try to avoid that situation by using discussion starters. These are some interesting questions about a certain topic that students can talk with a partner or small group about. With these, the conversation rarely dies! Here are some of the best ideas:
#15: Charades with Valentine’s Day Vocab
I love to play charades for holiday lessons when I want to review some new vocabulary. There are lots of words that students can act out like eating chocolate, giving flowers, going on a date, blowing up a balloon, etc.
Find out all the details here:
#16: Valentine’s Day ESL Speaking Lesson
It’s certainly possible to design an entire speaking lesson plan for Valentine’s Day. Seems intimidating? Not to worry. It’s actually easier than you might think to do this if you follow a few simple steps. Find out what I mean here:
#17: Listening Lesson
It’s certainly possible to teach a dedicated listening lesson related to this topic. There are some easy steps to follow to make it a complete lesson that has a ton of value for the students.
Want to find out more about it? Check this out:
#18: Running Dictation
This is a challenging, 4-skills ESL Activity that students love! Find, or write a conversation between two people talking about Valentine’s Day. Then, post it at various points around the class, sentence by sentence.
In pairs, students have to work together to dictate it. Once they’re done, they can put the conversation in the correct order. want to give it a go? Find out more:
#19: The Telephone Game
Try out this fun game for kids! You may even remember playing this when you were a kid. Students have to pass a secret message down the line and then compare what they have at the end with the original. In this case, the secret message could be Valentine’s Day themed one. Find out more:
#20: ESL Valentine’s Day Lesson Plan
It’s possible to plan an ESL lesson for just about anything, including this holiday. Have a look at this step-by-step guide for how to do that:
#21: What are you Cooking for Valentine’s Day?
This is a fun activity for adults who are experienced with cooking! In this case, adapt the activity to make it into a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Check it out:
#22: I’m an Alien
This is a sneaky way to find out how much kids already know about a certain topic before diving into the lesson! Pretend that you’re an alien and have no idea what Valentine’s Day is all about. Get the students to explain it all to you, in detail. It’s fun and ideal for eliciting a lot of information. Learn more:
#23: Picture Prompt
This is another way to elicit from the students what they already know about this popular holiday. Find a picture filled with people celebrating Valentine’s Day. Then, you might be able to elicit words like card, chocolate, balloons, Cupid, etc.
Of course, there are lots of other things to do with this activity for higher-level students than eliciting simple words. Find out all the options:
#24: Odd One Out
If students know a lot about other holidays, including Valentine’s Day, then consider playing the Odd One Out game as a quick warm-up. Make groups of four words, one of which doesn’t fit. Students have to choose that one and say why. For example:
- chocolate, love, green, pink
- kiss, date, tree, flowers
For the first one, students might say green doesn’t fit because it’s related more to St. Patty’s Day than Valentine’s Day. For the second, tree might be a better fit for Christmas than Valentine’s Day.
#25: Making Valentine’s Day Cards
A nice activity for all ages is to make some English cards to celebrate this holiday. Students can give them to their teachers, family, classmates or friends. Bring in some crafting supplies, write a bunch of common greetings on the board and students can get to work!
#26: Cookie Decorating
This is a fun activity that students love! It does require a little bit of work but it’s totally worth it. Make some heart-shaped cookies and prepare some icing and paper napkins or plates. Each student can bring in a topping such as candies or sprinkles. The students can decorate and eat the cookie or take it home.
#27: Would You Rather Questions
Try out these fun would you rather Valentine’s Day questions for some interesting discussions, guaranteed.
#28: Valentines Idioms
Check out the most popular Valentines Day idioms to know, including head over heels, puppy love, love at first sight and more.
ESL Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
- true love
Valentine’s Day ESL Lesson Plans
I love to use ready-made lesson plans whenever possible but they can save a ton of time. Here are some of the best Valentine Day lesson plans to check out:
ESL Valentine’s Day Worksheets and Handouts
If you’re a teacher, then I’m sure you already know what a timesaver it can be to use things other teachers have already prepared. In this case, there are lots of great worksheets and handouts for this fun holiday. Here are some of the top picks:
Valentine’s Day FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about this holiday. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones.
What is the real story of Valentine’s Day?
The real story of Valentine’s Day is that in the 3rd century A.D., the Roman emperor Claudius the Second executed two men, both named Valentine on Feb. 14 in different years. Their martyrdom was later honoured by the Catholic church.
What does Valentine mean?
Valentine means either a sweetheart/love or a gift/greeting card that is sent of given to a sweetheart.
Who receives the most Valentine Day cards?
Teachers generally receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, and it’s then followed by kids, mothers, wives and also pets if you can believe it!
How many Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year?
According to Hallmark and the greeting cards association, around 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the second-largest card-sending holiday behind Christmas.
Did you have these Valentine Day Games for the Classroom?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 134 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. The key to better English classes for children is a wide variety of engaging, interactive and student-centred games and activities. This book will help you get there in style.
You can find the book in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. Or, take the digital version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.
Whatever version you choose, get ready for some ESL teaching awesome in your life. Head over to Amazon to find out more about it:
What about Other Holiday Lesson Plans?
There are plenty of other holidays to celebrate in TEFL classes. Here are some of the other ones to consider:
Valentine’s Day Activities: Join the Conversation
What do you think about these ideas for a Valentine’s Day lesson? Do you have anything that you’d like to add? Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API