Any day is a great day to do a STEM activity, but Valentine’s is extra special because kids are excited and ready to celebrate! Below is a Valentines Day STEM activity perfect for the classroom or home. It uses simple materials and gives kids the freedom to create and build.
I teach kindergarten and feel very lucky that our program is play based. The children learn through their play and exploration. They get to do exciting hands-on activities throughout the day. This works well for me, because this type of activity and learning is my favorite to plan for and allows for some really incredible learning and experimenting to happen in our classroom.
Since we are play based, I’m always looking for new ideas and activities that I can try with my students at school, and often my own kids get to try things out first at home. When planning Valentine’s Day activities I like to make sure to include a STEM center so that the kids are working on the skills all STEM activities offer.
If you have not done STEM activities before, this Valentines Day STEM is an easy place to start. STEM activities are hands-on activities that include at least some Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Math. The more of these subject areas that an activity mixes, the better.
Recently some of these activities have added art based skills to STEM, or STEAM. Since there is definitely some design and artistic element to this activity, it could be considered a STEAM activity.
So get ready for a fun, challenging, Valentines STEM activity to make your celebrations even more exciting!
A free printable activity card is available to download and use right away. Information is below the activity description. The printable includes an instruction card and an additional card with an extra challenge for older children.
Valentines Day STEM Activity Materials
For this STEM challenge you need a collection of building materials. Below I have listed the materials that I used, but you can choose any materials you have on hand. Your materials do not need to be the same as mine. As long as you provide a variety of materials, then that’s all you need.
- Free Printable Activity Cards (Optional)
- Play Dough
- Googly Eyes
- Buttons/ Beads
- Felt Hearts
- Heart Gems
- Heart Erasers
- Mini Pompoms
- Square Counters
The main material that you do need for this Valentines STEM is the play dough, air dry clay or even plasticine. Once I got my play dough I just gathered other small items that fit the Valentines theme. Use what you have. STEM activities are not and should not be expensive.
We use ‘Tinker Trays’ similar to the one featured in this activity, a lot in kindergarten. For more information on tinker trays, visit my Tinker Tray activity description.
Once you have your materials, set them out for children and you are ready to start your STEM challenge.
Valentine’s Day STEM Challenge Kit
Another option for your Valentines Day STEM activity is to create a kit for children to build and create on their own. These also make an adorable, and educational Valentine’s Day treat/gift for kids.
Simply add the building materials to a large bag and include the activity card(s) and send it home with children. Kids will love opening them and trying different creations with their materials.
Valentines Day STEM Challenge
Once you have all of your materials organized, tell children the challenge:
You can either post the activity card, hand it out or tape it to the table where children will be working.
Tell children that, using only the materials supplied, they need to create a Lovebug for Valentine’s Day. Encourage them to take their time, explore the materials and add details.
Children can also create more then one Lovebug and can make changes to their critter as they go along.
All STEM challenges are best if there is not a lot of direction given. Let children explore and experiment and come up with their own solution/creation.
If too much direction is given then the freedom for each child to come up with their own idea is taken away. Give the basic directions and then watch and see what kids will do.
One of my favorite things about STEM challenges is that every single time I do them with a group of kids, the results are always different. No two Lovebugs will be the same and there are always a few designs that are beyond what I could have expected or imagined.
This is what STEM activities are all about – giving children the opportunity and freedom to use their imagination and really see what they are capable of.
The critters that my kids came up with for the Valentines Day STEM activity were adorable and all different. With simple materials they all were successful in completing the task and they were so proud of their little critters.
If you try this activity with a group, I would love to see what your kids create!
Valentines Day STEM Activity Extension
If you have an older group of students or simply want to add a bit more of a challenge for children, I have included a second activity card.
Typically I avoid adding restrictions for STEM activities because I like to see what kids come up with without any. However, sometimes it is fun to add a bit of a challenge. The second activity card includes three restrictions on the Lovebug creation.
Children must use exactly ten pieces when making their Lovebug. For example, play dough is one piece, two eyes makes three pieces and so on until ten pieces are used. This restriction encourages kids to think carefully about each piece they use before adding it to their Lovebug. It is also a little bit of math integrated into the project.
The second restriction is that the Lovebug can be no taller then your hand. Children can decide which way to lay their hand, but there is a limit on how tall their pieces on their critter can be and they need to take this into account as they build. This also adds some measurement and math to this part of building.
Finally, the Lovebug must fit into the pink heart on the activity card. No feathers, legs or any other part of the critter can be outside of the bug. If you don’t want to use the card, you can give children another piece of paper cut to the size restriction you want.
Another option for these Lovebugs, is you can use air dry clay and then let the critters dry overnight and then send them home for kids to hang onto.
Valentines Day STEM Activity Printables
STEM challenges are easy to set up and fun for hands-on learning. Add more to your challenge with printable activity cards. Print the FREE activity cards featured in the activity above to give children clear instructions, or add them to a STEM activity kit.
More Hands-On Activity Ideas
If you are looking for more, exciting, hands-on activities for kids at home, or school, check out the collection below. From Valentines Escape Rooms and Valentine STEAM activities, there is lots to keep kids busy, and learning.