Love Activities for the ESL Classroom that will Melt Your Students' Hearts

When February rolls around a young man’s fancy turns to love, at least, his girlfriend hopes he starts to think about Valentine’s Day.

There are many things traditionally associated with Valentine’s Day. Besides the hearts, candy and flowers, Valentine’s Day is a time to think about love and relationships, even for those who are not romantic the rest of the year. These activities will give your class a chance to talk about love in context and let them use their sense of humor while they do.  These ideas can easily be adapted to your native English speaker classroom, too.

Try These Love Activities in Your ESL Classroom

  1. 1

    Just Ask

    Love is a journey that can start in some of the strangest places. Some people meet their significant others at parties, through mutual friends, at church, on the back of a roller coaster and just about any other place you can think of. Regardless of where two soon-to-be lovers meet, there is always a first date. With that in mind, why not use Valentine’s Day as an excuse for some first date role-playing in your ESL classroom. Of course, each of your students will act differently on a first date, but everyone can have fun when the date happens in front of the rest of the class! You may want to start the activity by brainstorming a list of conversation topics that would be appropriate for a first date to help get your students in the mood, and then let the magic happen.

    If you want to take the fun up a notch, simulate The Dating Game in your classroom. Have one person sit on one side of a partition. This person will be the one who is choosing the other with whom he or she will go on a date. On the other side of the partition, have three potential date partners. You may want to give these students certain personalities to role-play (e.g. nervous person, adventurous person, self-inflated person, etc.). The first person should list several questions he or she would like to ask the potential date partners. Then, she asks them one at a time and has the three people on the other side of the partition give answers. When time is up (usually around ten minutes of question and answer), she chooses the person with whom she will go out without ever having seen him.

  2. 2

    How Do I Love Thee?

    In English, the word ‘love’ is used in many ways. We use it to explain how we feel about people – romantically, in friendships, as relatives. We also use it to describe items that we like, such as food or games. Using an English only dictionary, have your students look up the word ‘love’ and read each of the definitions listed there. In small groups, have your students take one definition at a time and talk about the exact meaning of love in that definition. Then you can ask each group to list some people or items that a person may love in that specific way. You can also ask the groups to write some example sentences for each definition of love. As an extension activity, you may want to ask each student to write about someone or something that he or she loves in one of those ways. In a paragraph, your students should explain how they love that person or thing and how that love is different from the other types of love.

  3. 3

    Love and a Song

    Love songs are popular all over the world, and everyone has their favorites. It seems that no matter what a performer’s style of music is, he always has some type of love song in the mix. There are some musical groups, though, that are most popular all over the world. One of the world’s most well known musical group is the Beatles. Their songs have been popular for decades, and your students have probably heard some or most of their most popular tunes. Give your students a test of their musical knowledge as well as their language skills by creating a cloze activity with lyrics from some of the Beatles most famous love songs. You can copy the lyrics to your favorite songs, like “All You Need is Love,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” or any other songs that appeal to you and your students. To prepare the exercise, cut and paste the lyrics to a song into another document and replace every fifth word with a blank and see how many blanks your students can fill in without listening to the song. Then, play the song and let them check their answers and fill in the ones that they missed. This type of exercise tests general grammatical knowledge, but using song lyrics will also test understanding of rhyme and rhythm.

  4. 4

    Roses are Red

    One of the most common love poems starts with “Roses are red, Violets are blue…” These lines have appeared on homemade greeting cards for as long as many people can remember. Give your students a chance to finish this classic love poem on a Valentine for someone they know. Tell your students that they can finish the poem any way they like as long as the meter and rhyme are completed correctly. Of the two lines that they will write, the first should contain four syllables and does not need to rhyme with any of the other lines. The second line that they write should also have four syllables, but it should rhyme with the second line. Have your students create an illustration to go with their short poem and post them around the room. The class will enjoy seeing how many different ways the simple poem can be finished!

One of the most pleasurable emotions in life is love, and Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate it.

With these activities on love, your students can learn more about the word and more about how people can love one another, no candy or flowers required!