## Valentine’s Day Math Activity

I wasn’t sure what to title this activity because it’s a math game that results in and Valentine’s Day craft. You play the game then you can pass the finished heart on to someone you love. This is perfect for Valentine’s Day parties because the kids are engaged and learning but there is still something cute to take home. You can make your own game board or print out ours for free here.

Gather your materials. You will need the heart game boards, some dice, heart stickers, and scissors.

The rules of the game are simple. You roll the dice and add the two numbers together. If you have that number on your heart you cover it with a sticker. If you are having a hard time getting the higher numbers add a third die if time is short. Similarly if you are having a tough time getting smaller numbers simply use one die.

My daughter was so into this game. Simple addition like this is really starting to stick with her and she was eager to show off her counting skills.

My son thought it was for babies. He is great at math and it was too easy. I thought he’d still want to play but I missed the mark on this one for him. Instead of forcing him to play after a long day at school I told him to cover all the numbers and cut it out. So he did. In our house you have to do your homework but activities like this aren’t a must.

While he was cutting my littlest math whiz was rolling away solo and loving it. I did have to remove one die to finally roll that number two. But she did it! All the numbers were covered .

After she was done I cut the heart out for her and they are on our fridge ( you can see them in this post from last week ).

What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day? I think we are going to have heart shaped tortilla pizzas and watch a movie together.

## Read & Make – Valentine’s Day Books and Crafts

14 Valentine’s Day books and crafts! Read & Make lists are ultimate activity cheat sheets. These are all easy to find books ( and they have affiliate links straight to Amazon too ) and the crafts are all easy to make too. Nothing is too costly and many of these crafts work great for groups. Your Valentine’s Day party will be super simple to plan. Like I said all book links will take you to Amazon but I have some deeper reviews of the books in my Books About Love and over on Scholastic’s  Raise A Reader blog too! The crafts are linked to the original tutorial so you can the full how to.

Read Consider Love  by Sandra Boynton and then use Paper Hearts to sort, make patterns, and even paint!

A simple book like Be Mine  by Brenda Ponnay lends itself to an equally simple and beautiful craft like this Heart Sun Catcher.

Every fairy needs a wand and a book.  The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton is a perfect match for our Heart Wands.

Panda bears might not have anything to do with Valentine’s Day but they are the center of  Sweet Hearts  by Jan Carr and if you really must have hearts on your Panda Bear Craft add a sticker or two!

You can make a Paper Hug Craft to go with  Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli.

Both of my kids have loved Laura Numeroff books right around age three. That is the perfect age for this Mosaic Heart Craft and for reading Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! (If You Give…) .

Our Love Bomb craft is so awesome that it needed to be paired with an equally awesome book like Awesome Book of Love!, An by Dallas Clayton.

These were made for each other and these Love Bugs are not hard to make at all. Read Love Bugs Mini Edition by David A. Carter before or after you get crafty.

Dinosaur Valentine by Liza Donnelly is an odd book that both my kids have loved and what could be better than making your own Clothespin Dinosaur after reading?

Make a Recycled Heart and pop it on a string after reading  The Invisible String  by Patrice Karst.

This Collage Heart craft is easy enough for babies and they will adore Where Is Baby’s Valentine?: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Karen Katz.

I can’t resist Love Monster by Rachel Bright and making your own loveable Monster Craft after is a great way to keep the conversation this book will spark going even longer.

The book may be called Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond but you can turn your own paper hearts into a Heart Rainbow!

## Bead Heart Wands – Valentine’s Day Craft

I can’t tell you how many wands we have in our house because I have honestly lost count. We have princess wands, fairy wands, fairy-princess wands…. so despite the fact that we have a ton my daughter wanted to make one for Valentine’s day and this is what I can up with. I have been wanting to work on her fine motor skills and patience all at once and beading is a great way to do that. Now that she is 3.5 I am using smaller beads that force her to work harder threading them on. Challenging your children is tricky because there is a tiny sweet spot where they are facing that challenge but not getting overwhelmed by it. Pay close attention and try to learn their signals – are they feeling challenged or frustrated? This Valentine’s day craft is great because you can make a big heart if they are into beading or a smaller one if they are done after a few challenging minutes.

Gather your materials. You will need a wood dowel, pipe cleaner , and tri-beads in your choice of color. My daughter’s choice was pink. Not a shock if you know her. We also used red glitter glue. Also when I am doing a beading activity with little beads I like to use a cookie tray to contain everything.

Look at that concentration!

One of the things that seems to motivate a lot of young kids when they are doing something challenging is to have a support person ( adult or older sibling even) doing it along side them. I didn’t tell my daughter what to do but she could look to me as a guide without having to ask for help. So I made one too!

If you get bored of the colors you have get some new ones. I was surprised to see she threaded on a bunch of orange ones. Perhaps the pink monopoly in our house is nearing it’s end?

When all the beads are on bend it into a heart and twist the ends together snuggly.

Hand your child the glitter glue and let them decorate the dowel. Prepare them for the dribbles. They don’t know it but this careful application is working on their eye hand coordination!

Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around the dowel when it’s dry. I tucked one end along the dowel and wrapped the other around it then tied them and wrapped until all the pipe cleaner was wrapped tightly around it. Give it a shake test before passing it back to your little Valentine.

Play. This was the best picture I could get because that girl moves fast.

## 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.

## Melted Bead Craft – Valentine’s Day Wind Chimes

This is not a hands off kind of craft. My three year old did the first half with no help and I did the 2nd half of this melted bead craft all by myself. I have been wanting to try melting pony beads since I saw my friend Jean’s post on Artful Parent ages ago. My original idea was to make heart pendants for my daughter’s preschool class. That was a giant craft fail because of the way the beads melted. You could still try that but I didn’t want all these hearts to go to waste so we turned them into heart wind chimes for Valentine’s day.

Gather your materials. You will need plastic beads – we used red pony beads and clear tri-beads. A heart shaped silicone treat pan, ribbon or string, a hot glue gun, scissors, and a stick.

Start by filling your pan with beads. My daughter filled some with all clear, some all red and some a mix.  Filling the hearts was fun for her because she did it independently but she was also working on skills like visual perceptual and fine motor skills as she grabbed the beads and managed to fill but not overfill the cups.

Once all the beads were in we were ready to melt, I followed Jean’s instructions for the melting the beads and popped the pan in the oven. She checked on it a few times. There were no fumes while melting but when I opened the oven door they were very strong. I was expecting this so I had my windows wide open and the fan on, still it was strong.  If you are sensitive to fumes you could try it on your grill or maybe try a different valentine’s craft. I don’t want anyone surprised by the fumes but do know that they were gone 20 minutes later when my son with the super nose came in and didn’t notice a thing.

When they cooled I popped them out of the pan and immediately noticed that the beads that were against the side melted in a sharp point. Not exactly kid safe for Valentine’s day favors for a bunch of three year old children.  I had the hearts in my hand and noticed they made a cool clinking sound and decided that was it, these could make great wind chimes! I grabbed my glue gun, some ribbon and a stick from my garden.

To make the chimes – glue the hearts on the ribbon. I tried to get them staggered on the different ribbons. I did 4 ribbons total with 3 or 4 hearts on them.

Next I wrap the ribbon ends around the stick gluing it down with hot glue.

Finally tie on a final piece to each end of the stick to hang.

I love how they look and bring a little love to our front porch and my daughter loves checking on it when she can hear it clink in wind.

Have you ever had a craft fail turn out in the end?