February is such a fun time in the classroom AND very busy! It’s funny how it is the shortest month of the year, yet has SO MANY topics to be taught. Math is probably my favorite subject to teach because you can always find cute manipulatives to use which the children love! (Think Target Dollar Spot erasers!) One of my favorite things to do with my preschool children was a simple Valentine’s Day math center using cut out hearts called Counting Hearts.
First, I would copy my numbered hearts onto colored card stock and cut them out. To keep them in good condition, I would laminate them so they could be used year after year. Next, using these numbered hearts and your choice of heart manipulatives, the students would get a big heart, look at the number and have to place that many smaller hearts inside the big heart. This is not only a great activity for counting, but it also reinforces number recognition and can be used to practice counting backwards when removing the smaller hearts from the big one. They can continue with this activity until they have completed all of the numbered hearts (1-10) or until time is up. In my picture, you will notice that I used small paper hearts. One thing I learned to LOVE while preparing lessons for the little ones were paper craft punchers! Have you ever used them? If not, they are a game changer for sure.
I have a plastic bin full of an assortment of craft punchers, in various shapes and sizes. For these kinds of activities, I have found that the 1 inch shapes work the best. They are not too big but also not too small to be a struggle for the little ones to handle. Not to mention, after the initial purchase of the punchers, all you need is colored paper to punch your shapes out! If you would like a FREE set of numbered hearts for you to use with your own class, click HERE.
Another Valentine activity that my children always enjoyed was Conversation Hearts Sorting. They were so excited to actually get candy to work with! Each child would get a small cup full of various colored heart candies. Next, they had to sort their candies according to color and place them in the correct colored heart on their worksheet. For older children, or more advanced younger ones, you could have them count how many of each color they have when they are done sorting, and write the number below that heart. When they were finished, they were rewarded for a job well done by being allowed to eat their candies. What fun! You can get a free copy of this activity’s worksheet by clicking HERE.