The Day of Love - A History of Valentine's Day for Kids

Valentine’s day is a fun celebration each year, especially when you receive candy and cards from your friends. There is a lot more to this day. Did you know that Valentine’s Day is actually named after a real person called St. Valentine? There are many stories and legends behind who the real St. Valentine was, but most scholars agree that he was a martyr (a person who was killed for his beliefs). Later in the Middle Ages, a great writer named Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem as a present to King Richard II, who was going to be married soon. In it, he mentioned St. Valentine, and over time, the idea of Valentine’s Day became associated with the idea of love.

During the Victorian times (in the 1800s), Valentine’s Day became extremely popular! Men and women spent a lot of time making beautiful Valentine’s cards with ribbon, fancy paper and even lace. In those days, people were very reserved and they did not often say what they were feeling. Valentine’s day gave them a great way to express their feelings to someone they were in love with in an anonymous manner (without showing their names). This meant that the sender would remain a mystery until they could speak more freely. Even before this time, in the late 1700s, printers would create large amounts of Valentine’s Day cards so that friends and families could exchange them.

In the last few decades, Valentine’s day has changed a lot! Today we still exchange cards, but many people buy ready-made cards instead. We also give flowers (usually a bouquet of red roses) or chocolates as a gift to remind people of our friendship and love for them. Older couples sometimes also celebrate this day by exchanging other gifts and going out to dinner. Most Valentine’s gifts and cards make use of the colors red and pink, and are decorated with images of hearts or roses. Another common symbol of love on this day is Cupid, the Roman god of love. He is usually shown as a little angel with a bow and arrow. According to legend, anyone who is struck by his arrows will fall in love.

Don’t forget that while it is great to remind people how much you value them on Valentine’s Day, it isn’t the only time to do so. You can continue doing nice things for people throughout the rest of the year too. Today, many people focus on giving gifts on Valentine’s Day and some people even get quite stressed out about it because they think they have to spend a lot of money on gifts! The main thing to remember is that Valentine’s Day is all about showing people that you love them and appreciate them. Sometimes the best way to do this is by doing something nice for them or making them a little keepsake. To get started, have a look at some of the easy but thoughtful suggestions below, or browse through the resources to learn more about Valentine’s Day.

  • Valentine’s Craft Ideas – Home-made gifts are often the best kind! Try making a love bug brooch or a Victorian-style card for someone you care about.
  • DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts – Check out these ideas for some funny but loveable Valentine’s Day cards, bracelets, toys and other cute gifts.
  • Hedgie’s Valentine – Print a picture of Hedgie the Hedgehog with his huge box of Valentine’s Day chocolates and then color it to make a wonderful card.
  • Valentine’s Word Search – Learn about some words that are often linked with Valentine’s Day by completing this word search puzzle.
  • The History of Valentine’s Day – Find out who St. Valentine was and how he inspired the popular holiday that was named after him.
  • Valentine’s Day Fun for Kids! – Watch some great Valentine’s Day videos just for kids, or try making some heart-shaped cards or cookies for your friends and family.
  • Who was St. Valentine? (PDF) – Download a worksheet to read about the story of the real St. Valentine and then try the related activities to see how well you understood the text.
  • Valentine’s Day Classroom Crafts – Get ready for Valentine’s Day by decorating the classroom with letterboxes, streamers and other fun stuff!
  • Pocket Valentines – Make some mini size pop-up Valentines cards featuring Dora and some of your other favorite cartoon characters!

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