Here is another awesome Valentine’s Day idea from Jessi of Cooties and Cuties. This is a simple but incredibly engaging game you can play with your students. Hope you enjoy!
Hi, it’s Jessi from Cooties and Cuties, and I am so excited to share my favorite Valentine game with you, Unlock the Love! But first, to fully understand Unlock the Love, I must share the backstory. For that, I need to take you back to December.
Like most teachers one week before Christmas break, I was desperate for a rigorous activity that kept my students engaged. After searching for something unique (and coming up empty handed), I created my own game, Unlock the North Pole. I turned the students into elves and sent them on a journey of math challenges to the North Pole. With each correctly completed challenge, students got closer and closer to final destination (and a delicious cup of celebratory hot cocoa). But it wasn’t easy; each math challenge was exactly that: a challenge. I created the toughest challenges of the semester with a focus on accuracy and precision.
What surprised me most about this game was how incredibly engaged my students were. A simple game board and folders filled with challenges transformed my crazy, ready-for-Christmas-break students into math maniacs. My challenges were tough, but my students rose to meet my expectations and worked harder than I’d ever seen them work before. And that’s when I knew I was on to something.
Because Unlock the North Pole was such a success, I have since adapted it for different themes and topics. Most recently, I teamed up with another teacher, 2nd Grade Sassy Pants, to create a Valentine’s Day themed version called Unlock the Love.
Like the first game, Unlock the Love is engaging, rigorous and most importantly, adaptable to fit all subjects and grade levels. To prepare for Unlock the Love, I turn our classroom white board into a giant game board filled with monsters. Then students receive a letter from the Most Very Honored Head Monster pleading for help.
An evil monster, Squirmy Wormy, has cast a spell on him and frozen him on the game board forever. To save him, students must again complete a series of rigorous challenges. As they complete each challenge, students move their game piece along the journey to the next challenge until they reach (and finally save) the Head Monster. Like before, the challenges are tough, accuracy and precision are required and following directions is a necessity. But students are so blinded by all of the fun, that they don’t even realize how hard they are working!
The game includes 12 premade challenges geared toward 2nd and 3rd grade teachers, but the beauty of this game is that it is fully editable and can be used in any subject in any grade level. Teachers in kindergarten through sixth grade have successfully adapted the game, and the options are truly endless. Spice up the game by incorporating Double Dice or Giant UNO cards. Stretch the game out over several days to integrate teamwork. Incorporate kindness challenges, STEM activities or Valentine Minute-to-Win-It brain breaks as you play. Let your imagination run wild!
Unlock the Love is filled with 69 pages goodies and ideas to help you set the stage for an unforgettable holiday, and it wouldn’t be complete without a yummy treat. When students finally save The Most Very Honored Head Monster, he rewards them with a bag of Monster Hugs and Kisses, and that is just about the sweetest ending to a Valentine game I can think of.
And that’s it, friends, one engaging idea that will keep your kids working hard through the sugar rush of Valentine’s Day. Thanks so much for letting me crash the blog again! You can find Unlock the Love and this Valentine freebie on my TPT page.
Thank you, Jessi for sharing this fantastic Valentine’s Day activity! Be sure to check out her out on Instagram @cootiesandcuties.