The Best Part of Valentine’s Day…


It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and if you are anything like me, you have no idea how, or even if, you will celebrate with your significant other, but you definitely know what your lesson plans for the week look like! Or, maybe you don’t … and if that’s the case, here are three Valentine’s Day dance games that you can use to celebrate with your classes! These dance games are so much fun, they’ll become the best part of your Valentine’s Day celebrations!

Valentine’s Day games for dance class can be an especially good way to shake things up during the long winter months. When the weather is cold and the sun sets early, when school gets stressful and summer feels a million years away, these Valentine’s Day dance games can help bring new energy into your classes.


How do dance class games help students learn?


If you follow my blog, you know I love a good seasonal dance activity at any time of the year!  Improvisation, games, and creative exercises all provide fun ways to help students develop greater creativity, self-expression, collaboration skills, and performance quality, while also developing a deeper understanding of their dance technique. Tying these games and activities to the season add a celebratory nature to class, and helps students connect what they are doing in dance with what they are experiencing in their lives outside the studio. These 3 Valentine’s Day dance games can be easily adapted for students of all ages, skills levels, and most dance genres, but are designed with dancers ages 7 and up in mind. After all, students of all ages learn through play!. Moreover, play can be a great way to improve students’ social and emotional health, especially as they learn to navigate friendships, relationships, and self-acceptance!


A note on play as an educational tool in the dance studio


These Valentine’s Day games for dance class are all based in the philosophy that play can be an important educational tool in the dance studio. Research indicates that students of all ages learn through play, and play can help children can develop important social,  cognitive, and emotional skills. Using play as an educational tool can help students gain self-confidence, engage in new experiences, and meet new physical and mental challenges. Incorporating play in the dance studio with students of all ages can have many benefits, from helping students learn new skills and refine their technique to helping them cope with stress and anxiety. Read more about the play in the dance studio in this blog post: Your Ultimate Guide to Play in the Dance Studio.


My favorite Valentine’s Day-themed games for dance class


What I Like About You

The primary objective of this Valentine’s Day dance game is to help students create original movement while building their self-esteem and creating a positive class culture. You will need a piece of paper for each student, with one of their classmate’s names written on it, and a pen for each student to use.


To play:

  • Give each student one of the papers – be sure that they don’t get their own name! Advise them not to share the name of the student on their paper with anyone else.
  • On the paper, they are to anonymously write down a few things that they like or admire about the students whose name is listed.
  • They will then return the paper to you. Be sure that you read each response before moving on to the next step.
  • When you are ready to proceed with this Valentine’s Day dance game, read the name and comment on each piece of paper out loud.
  • Direct the students to repeat after you, so the entire class is affirming what is written on the paper.
  • After you’ve read through the class responses once without movement, go through them again one by one. Have the class work together to create a movement or short dance phrase that does with each of the responses.
  • Combine the movements or phrases with transition steps to create a dance that reflects all the wonderful aspects of your students!


Candy Land Cross Training

The primary objective of this Valentine’s Day dance games is to help students engage in simple conditioning exercises to improve cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility while having fun! This is a great way to shake up your conditioning routine while bringing some easy seasonal fun into class.

To play:

  • Students will complete stretch and strength-building exercises with a “sweet” twist. Choose some of the exercises below or create your own!
  • You can teach the elements alone, arrange them into a sequence set to music, or use simple props to create a candy-themed obstacle course that incorporates each of the exercises.
  • If you choose the obstacle course, students can either complete it as an individual, or you can arrange them in teams and make it a relay race.
  • You may choose to award simple prizes (or just bragging rights!) to students who complete the sequence or course fastest, with best form, with the most style, or best sportswo/manship!
  • Here are some ideas for the candy-themed conditioning exercises – feel free to add your own in the comments: 
    • Tootsie Rolls: Basic log rolls, but with a sweeter name
    • Sour Worms: Commonly known as an “inchworm” or “caterpillar” – from a standing forward fold walking the hands out to plank, then the feet back into forward fold. Repeat to travel across the room.
    • Button Candy: Arrange polydots or brightly colored paper plates on the floor for students to  frog jump, tuck jump, or hop over
    • Taffy Pull: Students sit face to face with a partner in butterfly, pike, or straddle, hold on to one another’s forearms (or hands depending on position and height), and take turns gentle pulling one another into a forward stretch
    • Starbursts: Students crouch low to the ground in a ball shape, then “burst,” or jump as high as they can in an “X” shape,  before returning to the ball shape on the low level
    • Skittles: From a crab or tricep pushup positions, students “Skittle” by moving their arms and legs in a stepping pattern that brings them from side to side
    • M&Ms: Lying on the floor with legs at 90/90, or in a V sit, students write the letter M in the space with their feet. Be sure to direct them to keep the legs together and start the movement in the hips, so that they are getting a solid core workout.


The Game of (Spatial) Relationships

The primary objective of this Valentine’s Day dance game is to help students learn about spatial relationships while connecting with one another and creating original movement. Valentine’s Day is all about our relationship with others, be it friendship, familial bonds, a first crush, or a lasting romance. To celebrate this, in this exercise students explore spatial relationships: over and under, around and through, near and far, above and below, left and right, in front and behind, toward and away, just to name a few.

To play:

  • Create index cards with space-relational words on them, one word per card. This means that near would get it’s own card, as would far.
  • Arrange the cards in pairs of opposites, meaning near would be paired with far.
  • Separate the dancers into pairs, and give each pair one set of cards. One group would get near and far, for example, and one would get above and below.
  • Allow the dancers to improvise and explore this relationship in movement.
  • After they have had time to improvise, ask the students to create 16 counts of choreography that explores this relationship.
  • Ask each group to perform for the class, and invite the audience to guess what spatial relationship is being performed.


More games for dance class

Check out The Holistic Collection of Dance Games for the Winter Season, a ready-to-use collection of 15 educational dance games to keep your students engaged, learning, and having fun all season long! ach game listing includes a description of the primary learning objective, detailed instructions, ideas for adapting the game for multiple uses, Covid-19 considerations, and music recommendations. The activities can be adapted for use with students of all dance genres and skill levels, and are recommended for students age 7 and up.

Plan ahead for future holidays by checking out my other seasonal games for dance class:

For dance games that help your students learn through play all year long, check out the Dance Games Bundle. This bundle includes 75 educational dance games arranged by season – Back to School, Fall, Winter/Holidays, Spring, and Summer – all for under $40!

If you’d like year-round inspiration, support, and lesson ideas, sign up for my quarterly newsletter, or join me on Facebook at The Holistic Dance Teacher.