Exchanging valentine cards in kindergarten is a fun tradition but it can be time-consuming and stressful if you don't have a good plan. Kids love to pass out their own valentines and receiving them is even more fun. However, behind every kindergarten valentine exchange is likely a stressed-out teacher. These simple tips will help your valentine exchange go as smoothly as possible and keep you from pulling your hair out!
*All Amazon links included in this blog post are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using these links, I earn a small commission. I only share things that I have used and love. These commissions help to keep the blog up and running. Thank you!
Tips for exchanging Valentine Cards in Kindergarten
I always encouraged my students to only sign their names on their valentines and to leave the “to” blank. This makes the valentines easier for kindergarteners to pass out.
This works great if families follow the request, but many did not. Then I had 5-year-olds who were not able to read the names, let alone find the matching bag. So, what can you do?
- Have students decorate a simple paper bag (I like to use these white paper bags with handles.) to keep their valentines in. Make sure you write their name clearly in sharpie marker (or bold marker) and then have kids decorate. You can use quick-dry tempera paint sticks like these for low mess and lots of fun. Or stick to crayons or markers. I do not suggest using stickers because they usually fall off.
- Put a photo on each valentine bag. With the photo label on each bag, it makes it a lot easier to find them. At the beginning of the year, I always took student photos. Then I print a whole sheets of labels full of each student's photo. These photo labels (stickers) are SO handy in the classroom. You can read more about how I do that here.
- Put the bags in number order (or an order that makes sense to your students). We lined up in number order everyday, so it was simple to put their bags on their numbers. Kids also quickly learn where everyone stands in line, so it makes it a bit easier to sort the valentines as well.
- Recruit older student helpers (or adults if they are available) to help students sort their cards. The older student or adult helpers can read the names on the cards and then your students should be able to match the name with the correct bag by the picture.
Keep extra valentine cards ready to use.
You may have students who forget to bring their valentines (because parents are human) or students who don't bring enough. Having some extra cards on hand can help you to include everyone in the fun. I have this set of printable valentines (color and black & white) that you can even print on the day of the party.
Need some more ideas for Valentine's Day in kindergarten? Click to read more here on the blog.