# Valentine’s Day Math Activity

My daughter loves math and I couldn’t be happier. This Valentine’s Day math game is all about things she loves. Toys, numbers and hearts! This game is pretty simple but you will need enough items that are obviously alike for the groupings. What I loved about this game was that there were so many math skills combined into the game. She had to recognize the number then match it to the amount in the groupings. This naturally led her to counting the objects many times as she checked to see if they were match. Sometimes she remembered the amount and didn’t have to recount. I loved watching her think through this.

Gather your materials. You will need some hearts ( we used post its) and a marker, a bunch of small objects that you can put in groups of 1-10 , space to play and I used our wall for the number line.

Start by setting up your groups. We did this in our playroom so I used toys and craft supplies but you could do this outside and use rocks, leaves and sticks.

Write out the numbers on your hearts. I did 1-10 and then popped them on the wall. Then noticed my daughter writing something and she’d made her own 0 and added it to the line.

I told her that each heart belonged to a group but we needed to count the toys to see where each heart should go. And she was off. Matching them up and counting like crazy!!

She may not have told me she was using estimation as a strategy but she was. She’d look at a grouping and if the number was low and the group was large she’d move on to a more reasonable match before actually diving in to count. I didn’t tell her to go from 1-10 but she picked the hearts off in order. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t go in numerical order, it’s not important. Number much like letters are rarely in order anyway.

Hooray she did it!!

## Counting Books We Love

Here are a few great counting books for kids. All book lists include affiliate links.

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno almost didn’t make it into my library bag. I am so glad it did. This is a wonderful book full of possibilities. There is no text just simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The field fills up quickly and it can be tricky to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number displayed but once you do , each page is a lesson!

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband in 2007 for his first father’s day to read with my son and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Edited for 2013: My daughter has always loved this book!

Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for how they exit begins with the same letter as the animal does. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great read.

### More Fun & Learning

1. Domenica Ierardi says

Dear Alison,
thanks a lot for your fantastic website I’ve just discovered l love every single activity and I would love replicate them at home with my 3 years old daughter; do you think this activity could work for a 3 years old kid?
best regards from Milan ( Italy).
Domenica Ierardi

• Allison McDonald says

Yes yes it could. Sorry this was so late a response but your comment fell into spam!

2. What a fabulous activity and so great for developing skills in counting and matching. I also love that it’s so easy to do at home and uses everyday materials. How thrilled she was with her efforts. Thanks for sharing this post.

3. Mary says

We tried this tonight with my 2 1/2 year old. She loved it! She struggled with some of the sets, but I could tell she felt so accomplished when she was done. Thank you for all your wonderful ideas, I’m hooked on your blog!