A Heart-filled Homeschool: Valentine’s Day Activities for Neurodiverse Learners

A Heart-filled Homeschool: Valentine’s Day Activities for Neurodiverse Learners

In this post, you will learn about Valentine's Day Activities for Neurodiverse Learners to have fun, connect, and learn.

As we approach the season of love, I've been thinking about how Valentine's Day is so much more than just heart emojis and chocolate. It's a golden chance to mix a little love with learning, especially for our neurodiverse kiddos. Let's dive into some playful, educational activities that promise lots of giggles and learning. And yes, we've got some nifty resources up our sleeve to help you along the way.

I have chosen play activities and interests that my kids are currently loving right now and I hope your kids will too!

Affiliate Disclosure

Hey, wonderful readers! Before we dive into the heartwarming world of Valentine's Day activities and educational adventures, I want to share something important with you. Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. This means if you click on them and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I genuinely love and believe would be beneficial for your homeschooling journey, especially for our neurodiverse learners. Your support by using these links helps me keep creating valuable content for our community. Thank you for your trust and support!

Lego Building Love Structures

Challenge

Let's kick things off with brick building. How about we build some Valentine's-themed masterpieces? Think heart-shaped wonders or a mini brick building love monument.

Skills Targeted

This one's great for fine motor skills, unleashing creativity, and boosting spatial awareness.

lego heart build

More Ideas for Brick Builds and Challenges:

  1. Heartfelt Heroes Challenge: Encourage kids to build their own superhero with a Valentine's theme, like “Cupid Man” or “Heart Queen,” focusing on creativity and storytelling.
  2. Love Story: Kids create a small set that tells a story of friendship or love, enhancing their narrative skills and emotional expression.
  3. Valentine's Day Pixel Art: Using flat Lego pieces, children can create pixel art of hearts, flowers, or Valentine's messages, promoting pattern recognition and planning skills.
  4. Build a Love Maze: Challenge kids to build a maze that a mini-figure must navigate to find its Valentine's gift, focusing on problem-solving and spatial reasoning.
  5. Love Boat Race: Children build boats that must float and carry a mini-figure across a small water container, integrating science and engineering principles.
  6. Heart-shaped Box: Kids design and build a small box or container shaped like a heart to hold their Valentine's cards or treasures, encouraging precision and design skills.

Little Bins for Little Hands has a fun Valentine's Lego Challenge Cards Here and she has a great Lego Heart Build here.

Valentine's Movement Games

Activities: Imagine a heart-shaped obstacle course in your living room or a giggly round of “Cupid's Arrow” tag in the backyard.

  • Love Letter Relay: Create a relay race where kids have to carry a “love letter” (could be a simple Valentine's card) from one end of the course to a mailbox at the other end without dropping it. This can be indoors or outdoors, using pillows, cones, or anything handy to create obstacles.
  • Valentine's Day Dance-Off: Host a dance-off with love-themed music. Use a free dance app or YouTube tutorials to learn dance moves or let the kids freestyle. Great for self-expression and auditory processing.
  • Balloon Heart Pop: Place heart stickers on balloons and have kids pop them by sitting on them, hugging them, or using safe items like plastic spoons. Inside each balloon, place a fun action they must perform (e.g., “Do a happy dance” or “Sing a love song”).

Skills Targeted:

In addition to gross motor skills, coordination, and teamwork, these games enhance auditory processing, balance, and emotional regulation.

Check out these other fun Valentine's Movement Games and Activities from And Next Comes L and Kindergarten Bright Ideas for Little Learners.

Noise Sensitivity

Do you have a noise-sensitive explorer? Loop Ear Plugs can make lively games enjoyable without overwhelming the senses. They are perfect for children who may find the loud pops and music overwhelming, allowing them to participate fully in the fun.

Gaming with a Heart

Minecraft & Math Games: Build a love-filled village in Minecraft or solve Valentine's-themed math puzzles.

Valentine's Virtual World: Encourage kids to use platforms like Roblox or Minecraft to create a Valentine's-themed adventure or scavenger hunt. They can design quests that involve finding hidden objects or solving riddles related to the theme of love and kindness.

gaming valentine's day activities ideas

Card and Dice Games of Love

Activity: Whip up some custom Valentine's cards for a memory match game or roll the dice on math challenges filled with hearts.

  • Valentine's Bingo: Create bingo cards with Valentine's symbols (hearts, cupid, flowers, etc.). Use heart-shaped candies or tokens as markers. This game is great for visual perception and pattern recognition.
  • “Love Story” Storytelling Dice Game: Design dice with images or words related to Valentine's Day (like heart, arrow, gift, etc.). Kids roll the dice and then make up a love story or a tale of friendship based on the images that come up. This boosts creativity, narrative skills, and language development.

Skills Boost:

These activities encourage cognitive development, including pattern recognition, strategic thinking, and creative storytelling. They also foster emotional intelligence through themes of love and friendship.

Incorporating these expanded ideas into your Valentine's Day activities will not only make the holiday special for neurodiverse learners but also offer a wide range of benefits that support their development in fun and meaningful ways.

Check out these fun and simple Valentine's Math Ideas from other bloggers:

Simple Valentine's Math by Organized Homeschooler

Valentine's Math Ideas for All Ages by Math Geek Mama

Fun Learning for Kids has an editable Valentines Board Game

Slime and Sensory Bins

Valentine's Slime: Think slime in shades of love – red, pink, and white, sprinkled with heart confetti.

valentine's day slime

Valentine's Slime Variations

  • Glittery Love Slime: Incorporate different types of glitter and sequins into your Valentine's slime for a visually stimulating experience. This variant not only looks magical but also adds a layer of sensory exploration.
  • Scented Valentine's Slime: Add a few drops of safe, child-friendly essential oils like rose or vanilla to your slime to introduce an olfactory element. This variation can be soothing and provide a multi-sensory experience.
  • Therapeutic Slime Challenges: Introduce small challenges like forming letters or numbers with the slime, creating slime “cakes,” or even a slime stretching contest. These activities can enhance focus, bilateral coordination, and sensory regulation.

Valentine's Sensory Bins

  • Love Potion Discovery Bin: Fill a bin with water beads in Valentine's colors (red, pink, and clear). Add small heart containers, spoons, and pipettes for transferring the water beads from one container to another, simulating the making of love potions. This activity encourages exploration and fine motor skill development.
  • Cupid's Garden: Create a sensory bin with colored rice or beans as the base. Include artificial flowers, heart-shaped buttons, and mini cupids or arrows. Provide tools like shovels, tweezers, and cups for digging and finding hidden treasures. This promotes tactile exploration and hand-eye coordination.
  • Heart Hunt in Kinetic Sand: Fill a shallow container with pink kinetic sand and hide small heart-shaped items within it. Children can use their fingers or tools like brushes and scoops to uncover the hearts, which helps in tactile sensory processing and fine motor skills enhancement.

Skills Targeted: Dive into sensory play while fine-tuning those motor skills.

  • Sensory Processing: Engaging with different textures, colors, and smells supports sensory integration and processing.
  • Fine Motor Skills: Pinching, pulling, and manipulating small objects within the bins or slime strengthens hand muscles and fine motor skills.
  • Cognitive Development: Sorting, counting, and identifying hidden items in sensory bins enhance cognitive skills like problem-solving and recognition.
  • Emotional Regulation: The tactile nature of these activities can be soothing for many children, helping in emotional regulation and stress reduction.

Princess and Mermaid Valentine's Activities

Embrace the Magic of Love with Enchanted Activities:

Dive into a world where princesses and mermaids celebrate Valentine's Day with activities designed to enchant and educate. From crafting royal declarations of friendship to embarking on underwater treasure hunts, these activities are perfect for children who dream of crowns and mystical seas.

Royal Heart Tiara Making:

  • Activity: Design and decorate heart-shaped tiaras using craft foam, glitter, jewels, and ribbons.
  • Skills Targeted: Creativity, fine motor skills, and design thinking.

Mermaid Treasure Dive:

  • Activity: Fill a large container with water beads and hidden treasures (plastic pearls, gemstones, and gold coins). Children use scoops or their hands to find the treasures, creating their own mermaid lore.
  • Skills Targeted: Sensory processing, fine motor skills, and imaginative play.

Princess and Mermaid Story Creation:

  • Activity: Encourage children to write or dictate a Valentine's Day story featuring their favorite princess or mermaid characters. Illustrate the stories with drawings or collage.
  • Skills Targeted: Language development, creativity, and storytelling.

Valentine's Potion Mixing:

  • Activity: Mix safe, non-toxic ingredients (like baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring) to create fizzy, sparkling potions in a pretend play session.
  • Skills Targeted: Scientific exploration, sensory play, and imagination.

Princess and Mermaid Cooking Class

Recipes: Heart-shaped cookies or pink smoothies, anyone? Let's turn the kitchen into a magical cooking class.

Skills Targeted: This one's all about following directions, measuring to perfection, and cooking up teamwork.

Suggest Audible: For an extra sprinkle of magic, Audible has themed stories to listen to while you whisk and bake.

Valentine's Cooking Activities for Kids

Whip Up Some Love with Kid-Friendly Recipes:

Step into the kitchen for some heart-warming cooking activities that kids will love. These recipes are not only delicious but also provide a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about measurements, follow instructions, and work as a team. Plus, there's nothing like sharing a homemade treat to spread the love on Valentine's Day.

Heart-Shaped Pancakes:

  • Activity: Use heart-shaped molds to make pancakes. Decorate with red fruits like strawberries or raspberries.
  • Skills Targeted: Following directions, measuring, and fine motor skills (pouring and flipping).

Love Potion Smoothies:

  • Activity: Blend pink and red smoothies using ingredients like strawberries, raspberries, and beets. Serve in decorated glasses.
  • Skills Targeted: Nutrition knowledge, measuring, and blending techniques.

Chocolate-Dipped Fruit:

  • Activity: Dip strawberries, apple slices, and banana pieces into melted chocolate. Add sprinkles for extra fun.
  • Skills Targeted: Hand-eye coordination, following safety instructions (with adult supervision for melting chocolate), and patience (waiting for chocolate to harden).
  • Activity: Bake heart-shaped cookies and set up a decorating station with icing, sprinkles, and edible glitter.
  • Skills Targeted: Creativity, fine motor skills (decorating), and following recipes.
valentine's day smoothie activiites

Sing and Dance to the Beat of Love

Activity: Create a playlist of love-themed tunes for a karaoke session or dance-off in the living room.

  • Heartbeat” Rhythm Game: Use drums or makeshift percussion instruments to create rhythms that mimic the sound of a heartbeat. Challenge children to match the rhythm or create their own love-inspired beats.
  • Valentine's Music Video: Encourage children to create their own music video to a favorite love-themed song. They can plan the choreography, design sets, and even make costumes, promoting creativity, teamwork, and planning skills.
  • Love Songs from Around the World: Introduce children to love songs from different cultures, expanding their musical horizons and promoting cultural appreciation.

Skills Targeted:

Adding these activities enhances auditory discrimination, cultural awareness, and rhythmic skills, alongside the benefits of memory and expressive language through music and movement.

Creative Learning with Playdough

Activity Ideas

  • Stamp out some love with playdough to make hearts with playdough or use heart stamps and cookie cutters.
  • Love Bugs with Playdough: Craft cute, whimsical love bugs using playdough, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. This activity encourages creativity and storytelling as children invent stories about their love bug creations.
  • Playdough Hearts and Letters: Encourage children to form hearts of different sizes and use letter stamps to press Valentine's messages into them. This can be a fun way to practice spelling and express affectionate messages.
  • Playdough Valentine's Bakery: Set up a pretend bakery where children create playdough cakes, cookies, and cupcakes decorated with Valentine's themes. Incorporate math by having them “sell” their creations, using play money for transactions.

YouTube and iPad Learning

Activity Ideas

  • Curate a playlist of Valentine's-themed educational videos or apps to explore math, reading, and science.
  • Valentine's Day Science Experiments on YouTube: Find simple science experiments related to Valentine's Day themes, such as creating a baking soda and vinegar “volcano” in a heart-shaped mold or exploring the concept of density with a “love potion” layering experiment.
  • Art and Craft Tutorials: Look for YouTube tutorials on Valentine's Day crafts, such as making heart wreaths, Valentine's cards, or friendship bracelets. These visual guides can help children follow along and create something special for loved ones.
  • Storytime and Read-Alouds on YouTube: Find read-alouds of popular children's books about love, friendship, and kindness. This can be a calming activity that promotes literacy and emotional understanding.

An App We Love

In our quest to find educational resources that resonate with the unique needs of our homeschooling family, particularly for our neurodiverse learners, we've stumbled upon a gem that has become a cornerstone of our daily learning routine: the Homer Learning app.

Homer Learning has become more than just an app for us; it's a partner in our homeschooling journey. With its diverse content, user-friendly interface, and focus on personalized learning, it supports our mission to provide a holistic and inclusive education for our children. You can learn more about it here.

We Hope you Have a Wonderful Valentine's Day!

Every activity here is a heart-filled opportunity to tailor learning to your child's unique needs and interests. Remember, it's all about the joy and discoveries along the way. And if you're looking to add some extra tools to your educational toolkit, check out the neurodivergent life skills toolbox membership.

neurodivergent life skills toolbox membership

So, here's to a Valentine's Day brimming with love, learning, and lots of play. Let's make it unforgettable!

valentine's day activities for neurodivergent learners

8 Vocational Activities for Autistic Students

8 Vocational Activities for Autistic Students

In this post you will learn about vocational activities you can do to help your students learn valuable job skills.


Vocational activities can make all the difference for people on the spectrum. They prepare autistic students for life post-graduation, help them choose a career path, and help them professionally use their functional life skills.

If you’re wondering what activities to choose and approaches to take while training an autistic student vocationally, I’m here to help!

I’ll give you a list of activities you can try with your students to prepare them for their careers, so follow along!

What Are Vocational Activities?

Vocational activities are tasks meant to prepare students for their careers after graduation. They’re primarily associated with hands-on jobs.

While all students can benefit from vocational activities, autistic students, in particular, need them because they naturally struggle more with the expectations of a working environment. If you are looking for help with writing vocational goals you can check out this post.

8 Vocational Activities for Autistic Students

Here’s a list of vocational activities you can attempt with your autistic students to prepare them for a successful career! If you are looking for ready-made resources already done for you, check out the Work Etiquette Task Cards Bundle Here!

Job Application

Most jobs nowadays require applications before getting employed, including hands-on ones. That's why training your student to complete a job application correctly is a monumental step to guarantee acceptance in future jobs.

For the activity, you can prepare a fake job application and encourage them to correctly fill out all their personal details. Then, go over the applications and highlight points for improvement. You can repeat the activity as many times as needed to reach the desired result.

Writing Resumes

Another important vocational activity for students on the spectrum is writing a resume. While it’ll be challenging at first for the students to write their information in a presentable manner, it’ll help organize their thoughts.

Ideally, you should help them recognize the most sought-after skills in the work field and include them in the resume.

For this activity, you can encourage your students to write their skills, education, strength points, and hobbies on a piece of paper. Then, give them a paper with the layout of a resume, and tell them to fill it using the information they just laid out on the other paper.

Work Etiquette Task Cards Bundle product image

Job Interview

The biggest challenge that autistic students face while joining the workforce is communicating correctly with people outside their comfort zone. That’s why a job interview can be a tall order for someone who hasn’t trained enough for it.

To try this activity, encourage your student to dress formally and prepare their resume beforehand. Then, interview them while asking generic questions about their strengths and weaknesses, their hopes for the job, and more.

Public Transportation

Starting a career for autistic students means moving independently, which requires public transportation. Since it’s something every student faces, I couldn’t make this list without including it as an essential vocational activity.

The activity can be as simple as teaching your student to read bus schedules or as detailed as taking them out to ride it in person. You should also boost their awareness about safety measures in public and how much transportation costs to and from their workplace daily.

Reading Maps

A fair share of everyday life situations includes using a road map. Suppose your student misses the bus and has to take a different route to work. Also, some jobs involve moving a lot, like delivery personnel. That’s why map reading is an essential skill to have, and you can easily incorporate it into your student’s vocational training.

For the activity, you can take your students out on a field day. Print maps of the neighborhood you’re in, mark where you’re standing and where you’re going, and hand them out to your students.

Then, encourage your students to go to the marked place by reading the map. Of course, they won’t get it right the first time. However, with your help, they can ace it before they’re employed.

Sending Mail

Nowadays, all jobs use mail to communicate important news, be it the acceptance of the job, structural changes to the company, or others. Sometimes, autistic people might be asked to send emails in response to their employers, which is an important skill to learn.

As part of your vocational training program, you can teach your students how to send professional emails with the appropriate response. You can act as their employer and send them emails, then wait for their responses.

Sorting Items

Many hands-on jobs include sorting items according to sensory processing, like folding clothes, arranging stationery, and more. Luckily, training your students to sort items is an easy activity you can attempt quickly with minimal materials.

All you have to do is provide items that are widely available in your home or workplace, like pens, pencils, and erasers. Then, put all of them in a large box and shake it so that the items mix together.

Give your students smaller boxes and tell them to sort the items separately, then leave them for a few minutes until they attempt it.

Addressing Envelopes

The last vocational activity I’ll discuss is envelope addressing. Although snail mail took a huge step back because of the rise of emails, it’s still used by many employers in various fields. 

Ideally, you should train your autistic students to address and send envelopes to different people. This way, if they work in a place that works by snail mail, they won’t face a communication issue.

For this activity, hand out formatted envelopes to your students, and encourage them to write the delivery address and the return address, then add the stamp.

Vocational Activities for Autistic Students

To Wrap Up

Vocational activities prepare autistic students for joining the workforce, and they can be easy to organize. All you have to do is check the above list, choose the activity that appeals to you and your students’ needs the most, and get to work!

Additional Vocational Skills Resources you will Love

Vocational Goals: A Step-by-Step Guide

5 Engaging and Meaningful Activities for Autistic Adults

5 Engaging and Meaningful Activities for Autistic Adults

Are you searching for fun activities for autistic adults to establish a new routine, promote sensory and processing abilities, and learn life skills?

If the answer’s yes, then this guide is for you. 

Encouraging adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to engage in educational, recreational, and social activities will have lasting benefits. In other words, these activities aim to help autistic adults lead a whole and more fulfilling life. 

So, for those interested in learning specific autism-friendly activities, make sure you check below.

Why Activities and Hobbies are Important

To maintain overall physical and mental wellness, you need to have adequate activities and hobbies. That applies to all people.

Through music, dancing, cooking, and even walking, autistic adults will experience an increased quality of life. It’s important to know that activities don’t stop at a certain age. On the contrary, they should be constantly promoted.

Hence, through activities, autistic adults will have a chance to:

  • Improve communication skills
  • Increase independence
  • Feel joy and fulfillment
  • Promote fine motor skills
  • Feel accepted as a member of the community 

However, it's crucial to plan all activities according to the interests, abilities, and strengths of the adult. So, let’s jump to it. 

Get the Free Year at a Glance Life Skills Plan

Click HERE or click the image below to get the monthly life skills teaching ideas to help you stay organized and save time!

Life Skills Curriculum Year at a Glance Planner

5 Fun but Practical Activities for Autistic Adults

1. Music Classes

Music is a broad medium that surpasses all abilities and disabilities. And considering that sound, or, in this case, music, is a primary human response, many autistic adults have a positive reaction to it.  

Through music activities – repeating particular rhythmic patterns, repeating the melody, trying to remember a song, and eventually playing an instrument with or without someone – you’ll address behavioral, sensory-motor, social, communicative, physical, psychological, and cognitive functioning.

What's great about music is that you can adapt all the activities related to it to meet the needs of each individual since sound is flexible and malleable. 

The most common musical instruments used for autism are percussion instruments, ukulele, keyboard/piano, and guitar. 

2. Dance Classes

The aim of each dance is to raise awareness of body movement so that you can communicate through that movement. Note that the only universal language is the one transmitted through our bodies and moving patterns. 

Therefore, your goal is to join the moving pattern of the autistic individual through dance therapy or any dance-related activities so you can then modify, improve and grow that pattern. In other words, you’re communicating with them by moving with them. 

And, there’s no need to say that you’re improving sensory-motor skills, or in other words, increasing body awareness in the process. 

3. Arts and Crafts

A great tool for nonverbal expression is art. Painting, drawing, building, assembling, sculpting, and writing are therapeutic, calming, and, most of all, fun.

Autistic adults will have the opportunity to explore different mediums and learn how to express themselves by using those mediums. Art and autism complete each other, and by creating any piece of art, the person will improve his motor skills, increase self-esteem, develop social skills, and fulfill sensory needs.

Here are some fun arts and crafts ideas: 

  • Finger painting
  • Sensory bottles
  • Bubble wrap abstract painting
  • Sand art projects

4. Outdoor Activities/Sports

You don’t have to go to fancy gyms or sports halls; a simple walk in the park or the neighborhood can also do wonders for adults.

Spending time outdoors is healthy for both the mind and body, so it’s crucial to have regular outdoor recreational activities (adapted to the person's abilities). It’ll improve the person’s mood and help improve their attention span and motor skills. 

All the following activities are a great way to spend time with the autistic adult in your life:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Gardening

If we’re talking about a group of autistic adults, you can prepare simple obstacle games. They would need to interact with each other and be active all the time during the activity.

Neurodivergent Life Skills membership

5. Cooking

Cooking activities are not only fun, interactive, and great for bonding but also essential for life in general.

Learning how to cook is fundamental to life. And, when you’re preparing the food together, you’re giving the autistic adult a sense of teamwork and connection. 

Before you start cooking or baking, make sure you’ve got the right recipe. Choose according to the autistic individual because they can be quite picky when it comes to the smell and texture of the food. 

Easy and quick meals would be:

  • Pancakes
  • Gluten-free pizzas
  • Smoothies
  • Sandwiches
  • Homemade chicken nuggets
  • Sugar-free blueberry muffins

Helping Learn New Skills

Helping autistic adults learn new challenges and skills is not an easy task, but through certain activities, the process of learning can become, if not easier, more fun. 

The most important thing is to create a safe and supportive environment where autistic individuals have the freedom to engage. Try various activities, be creative, and pay attention to what the autistic adult finds most pleasing. And most of all, enjoy!

Let me know if you try any of these activities for autistic adults, and if you have more interesting ideas, don't hesitate to share them with me.