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Love, a noun or a verb? (St Valentine's Day, 14 February)

To understand that love is a verb.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To understand that love is a verb.

Preparation and materials

  • On a table, a Valentine card, a rose, chocolates, a pizza and bottle of wine, and a bundle of washing (include a pair of dirty football socks, a dirty baby’s bib, greasy dungarees – anything outrageously messy you can get away with!).

  • Volunteers, prepared to mime some familiar actions.
  • Optional: a pair of rubber gloves.
  • Words for reflection time, displayed on a whiteboard.


  1. Show the first five items from the list above to the children.
    Ask what they all have in common.
    They can all be linked to St Valentine’s Day. They are all gifts that express our love.

    Now pick up the bundle of washing, looking puzzled. (You may wish to don plastic gloves to add to the fun.)
    Identify that the children might think this is definitely an ‘odd one out’, especially if they were to get a whiff of the football socks!
    Explain that actually this bundle fits perfectly with the others. It all depends on whether you see LOVE as a NOUN or as a VERB.

    Check the children’s understandings of these two words.
    Say that, after all, it would have to be someone who loved you that would stick this bundle in the washing machine for you every week!
  2. Guess the following mime.
    Some volunteers should act out suitable scenarios for the following actions.
    Who might be doing this? How could this be called LOVE?
    (a) making a packed lunch
    (b) being directed across the road by a School patrol officer
    (c) ironing
    (d) giving a child a ‘telling off’
    (e) washing the car.
  3. Explain that God, who is said to be the author of the word ‘love’, didn’t just say the words ‘I love you’, he showed his love. We celebrated that love just two months ago at Christmas when we remembered that God sent his son Jesus to the world to demonstrate just what God’s love was like. Soon we will be starting to think about the end of the story of Jesus’ life on earth. As we approach Easter, we will be remembering once again that Jesus was willing to give up his life and to die because he loved us so much.

Time for reflection

A poster outside a church had these words:

‘Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.’

God’s family in that church had decided that it wasn’t enough just to tell people that God loved them. They wanted to show people God’s love in action.

All sorts of people were welcome in that church: mums and toddlers needing a place to have fun, to play and to meet others; homeless people needing a hot cup of soup and someone to listen to their story; teenagers needing a safe place to meet and to play snooker. (Add in anything that might be appropriate to the children’s experience locally.)

How will you do the LOVE verb today?

Dear God,
Today many people will do acts of love for us.
Help us to notice these and to be thankful.
Today, also, opportunities will crop up for us to do acts of love for other people.
Help us to notice these opportunities and to be ready to do the love verb.


‘God is love’ (Come and Praise, 36)

Publication date: February 2011   (Vol.13 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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