What do dinosaurs, ancient Rome, puzzles, crazy hearts, and Bible drills have in common?
You can use them all to prepare Valentine’s Day games, activities, songs, and stories to celebrate God’s love with kids! Valentine’s Day is a lovely opportunity to teach kids about God’s love! Here are ten ready-to-go ideas to help you incorporate play-based learning into your Sunday School class, Good News Club, or family Bible time on Valentine’s Day.
#1 The Story of St. Valentine
One of our favorite Valentine’s Day traditions is telling our kids who Valentine really was. St. Valentine lived a couple hundred years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He refused to stop loving Jesus when the emperor of Rome outlawed Christianity and he was subsequently martyred for his faith. If you’re interested in a kid-friendly version of The Story of St. Valentine (and a free valentine card craft with a memory verse acrostic that goes with it!), you can grab a free copy on our resource page or watch the video on our YouTube channel. Here’s a brief preview…
We’re all going to make a valentine card for someone we love. Did you know a valentine isn’t just a card? Valentine was the name of a real person who loved Jesus more than anything else in the world. He lived in the empire (kingdom) of Rome about 2,000 years ago. The king of Rome wanted people to only love and worship his imaginary fake gods. He made it against the law for people to love Jesus, the perfect Son of God who rose from the dead to save people from sin!
Valentine knew loving God and showing His love to others is the most important thing in the world! [Read and discuss Matthew 22:37-39.] Even though he knew he could get in BIG trouble, Valentine kept loving Jesus and showing his love to others. When the king heard about Valentine, he was furious! The king arrested him and angrily asked, “What have I heard about you, Valentine? Why won’t you follow my law and turn from your God?” Valentine knew he could be killed if he didn’t do what the king wanted, but he loved Jesus more than he loved his own life….. (Oh! The suspense! Quick! Go check out the full story on our resource page or watch the video below to learn more. You can even share this video with kids in your family or church to make teaching a Valentine’s Day lesson even easier on yourself!)
#2 How BIG is God’s Love? Hands-On Activity
Read Ephesians 3:17-19 and show the children pictures of things that are wide, deep, long, or tall. (*Blue Whale, Star, Sun, Earth, Jupiter, Mountain, Redwood Tree, Dinosaur, Giraffe, Train, Jet, Ocean, Sky, etc.) As you show each massive item, remind them it’s puny compared to God’s love. Have everyone say “Nothing is bigger than God’s love!” Finish up this activity by singing a song about God’s love and remind the children God showed His BIG love for them through Jesus.
*If possible, do some research ahead of time so that you are also prepared to share a few facts about each massive object you show the kids. (For instance, they’d probably love to know that giraffes, the tallest living land animals, have the same number of neck bones as humans.)
#3 What is God’s Love? Devotional Activity
Draw a large heart on a whiteboard and read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Discuss the words that describe what love is and what it isn’t. Write all the things LOVE IS inside the heart and all the things LOVE ISN’T outside the heart. To make this even more fun, you could turn this list of love’s attributes from 1 Corinthians 13 into a word search puzzle and have the kids find each word in the puzzle as you discuss the meaning of love. Just in case this brilliant idea appeals to you, I’ve already created a word search puzzle for you—just click the picture below to download it now.
#4 Valentine’s Day Gospel Object Lessons
Hmmmmm? A holiday focused on love…How could we possibly use that to point kids to the Gospel? I’m so glad you asked because I happen to LOVE using Valentine’s Day to share the Gospel with kids. There are lots of simple ways to connect hearts to the Gospel. Watch this video to see how to teach “A New Heart”, one of my favorite Valentine Gospel Object Lessons.
#5 God Loved You WHEN…Activity
What was God doing in 1901 when the vacuum cleaner was invented? He was loving YOU! God knew you and loved you before He created dinosaurs and before paper was invented. I wrote this idea for our free Enjoying God My Creator! activity guide, but I think it works incredibly well for Valentine’s Day too! Basically you make a set of cards that list events in history and another set with things God knows about kids. Kids get to take turns grabbing a card from each set to mix and match them into statements about how much God knows (and loves) them. You can download free ready-made cards for this game on our resource page. (And then you can print them on red and pink paper to give it a Valentine’s Day makeover!)
#6 Crazy Hearts Memory Verse Game
The Bible mentions hearts over 700 times! There are lots of memory verses about hearts and love that you can teach to kids to celebrate Valentine’s Day together. (Romans 5:8, Matthew 22:37, Proverbs 3:5, etc.) Pick one, explain it to your kids, and then write silly actions on the back of paper hearts and have the kids take turns flipping a heart over and saying the verse while doing whatever action is written on the back.
Here are some crazy ideas to get you started!
- Cover one eye and stand on one foot.
- Lean to the right and clap your hands.
- Touch your knee and pat your head.
- Stomp your feet and nod your head.
- Clap behind your back.
- Lean to the left and close one eye.
- Pat your head and rub your stomach.
- Tilt your head to the left and hop in place.
If you like free stuff, you can download a pre-made version of this Crazy Hearts Memory Verse Game to repeat it and hide it in your hearts together.
#7 Valentine’s Day Songs for Kids
Music is an easy way to connect kids with truth in a way that they’ll remember it. I like using familiar tunes like B-I-N-G-O! and Mary Had A Little Lamb to teach Gospel truths to kids. Here’s a few hearty tunes you can use to celebrate God’s love with kids on Valentine’s Day.
You can download free printable visuals for each of these Valentine’s Day Bible Songs for Kids on our resource page and you can also watch my adorable kiddos singing them right here! Check it out!
#8 Where in the WORLD is God’s Love?
Read Psalm 119:64 “The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love…”and briefly discuss what it means for the earth to be full of the Lord’s steadfast love. Show the kids a map of the world and have them take turns working in pairs to locate different countries as you call them out. After each nation is found, remind the children that God’s love is for the people in that country too. His love is big and strong enough to love people all over the world. Ask for a volunteer to pray for many people in that country to know how much God loves them. I came up with this idea to use in AWANA a couple years ago and the kids LOVED it! I’ve even played it with my preschool Sunday School class by telling them what color and size the country was on the map to help them find it.
- You can give this activity a missions focus by having them locate specific nations or areas where you or your church have a missionary/ministry serving. Then you can share briefly about that missionary and pray for them too.
- The real St. Valentine was persecuted for his faith. You can use this activity to encourage kids to remember and pray for the persecuted church by having them locate countries where Christians are persecuted and then praying for the Christians in that country. For a list of countries and more information about the persecuted church visit kidsofcourage.com.
#9 Valentine’s Day Bible Drills
Ask Bible questions about love and give the kids a Scripture reference where they’ll find the answer. Have them race to locate each Scripture reference and find the answer in their Bible. Then you can discuss the meaning and significance of each verse. I threw together a page of questions to help you get started. Click on the picture to download it instantly.
#10 Be Mine or Be Yours Valentine’s Day Review Game
Make 12 red hearts and 12 pink hearts (or whatever two colors you prefer) and put them together in a container. Divide the children into two teams (red team and pink team) and let them take turns trying to answer review questions related to your Bible lesson or questions related to God’s love. When a child correctly answers a question, he may reach into the container and pull out one heart. If the heart is RED it goes to the RED team, if the heart is PINK, it goes to the PINK team. The first team to collect 8 hearts in their team’s color wins!
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’ll enjoy using some of these resources to enjoy the love of Jesus with kids! What other things have you done to celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids?