Number sense comes easily for a lot of kids, but for some kids, it can be really sticky. When you have a child who really struggles to understand numbers, it’s a good idea to pull out all the stops and find ways to help your child relate to numbers using all five senses: taste, touch, smell, sound, and site. With Valentine’s Day nearing, the most popular candy across the United States is the conversation heart. For minimal cost and effort, help your child learn basic maths Using Candy Hearts to Teach About Numbers.
Learning with All Five Senses.
Using conversation hearts for math practice uses all five senses. I mean, who can resist taking a bite or two while you are counting? The sound of the candies rattling in the bag or crunching in your mouth? The smell when you first open the bag? The best part is — your child won’t just be learning math. He or she will also be practicing fine motor skills, pincer grip, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and more with these simple number activities using candy hearts. I mean, if you can improve your handwriting with Love Monsters, you can learn about numbers with candy hearts right?
Using Candy Hearts to Teach One-To-One Correspondence.
This concept simply means that when counting, each object only gets counted one time. One item for each new number. You can teach one-to-one correspondence using candy hearts by matching each piece of candy with a corresponding number or square or image as you count. if you have a counting book, put one candy heart on each image on a page as you count it, to mark that item “counted” and keep your place. If you have ten-square worksheets, one heart per square. On a larger scale, if you wanted to count all of the flowers on a comforter, for instance, you could place one candy heart on each flower to help you keep track as you count. You could also play one of my favorite games, Jelly Bean Clean-Up, using candy hearts instead. For every toy your child picks up he or she gets one candy heart.
TIP: If you have a lot of toys on the playroom floor or older kids with more stamina, you might want to do one piece of candy for every five items you pick up, but then you would be learning about skip counting instead of one-to-one correspondence.
We make one-to-one correspondence easy in our book Learning Numbers with Candy Hearts. Each number’s page has a spot where your child can place candy hearts as they count, color each candy heart as they count, or make playdough candy hearts while counting and keeping track.
Using Conversation Hearts to Teach Counting.
Counting with candy hearts is so much fun! You could count each one as you eat it. You could count the candies as you put them in a jar, and then later stump your friends and family with the “How Many Candy Hearts in this Jar” game. You could count each candy heart as you glue it onto a big piece of construction paper or a paper plate. You could even count candy hearts as you make this beautiful canvas as a special gift for someone.
TIP: Baby wipes are a mom’s best friend! As your child plays and counts with the candy hearts and eats a few, stickiness is bound to happen! Have some baby wipes handy for quick clean-up.
Using Candy Hearts to Teach Basic Fractions.
Little children have their first exposure to “fractions” when they are told they must share candy equally. Excited children painstakingly count out equal numbers of candy pieces for each person in the group. The result is a bag of candy divided in half, or in thirds, or whatever the case may be. Have your child split ten candy hearts into two equal piles, twelve candy hearts into three equal piles, and so on. As you do this activity, make sure to talk about it. Use the words half, equal, thirds, etc as often as you can. If you have a big bag of candy to divide in half, you can count as you go. You’ll practice counting, find out how many candies were in the bag, and introduce fractions all at the same time.
Or Teach Addition and Subtraction.
For slightly older kids, you can practice basic math facts using candy hearts. Two Plus Three? Lay the candy hearts out in a row and count the answer. If that’s too easy, try harder addition or even multiplication problems. Make four rows of four and count the result. Demonstrate subtraction as you eat the candies together. Ten minus one is nine. Nine minus one is eight. These concepts seem so easy to us, but young children need to talk about numbers and see the number functions happen in order to understand. The more you can demonstrate number concepts with concrete, hands-on tools like candy hearts or lego bricks while your child is still little, the more hooks she will have in place for harder math concepts as she grows.
You Can Even Teach Skip-Counting!
To teach your child skip-counting using candy hearts, line candy hearts up in nice neat rows of two or three or five, and then point to the last piece of candy in each row, and ask how many. Your child will be able to see the number quickly and skip count at least a few numbers (2,4,6, or 3,6,9) to get the idea of what skip counting is. When you’re ready, add more rows and more starting numbers to build on what your child knows.
Make Candy Hearts Work for You As a Teaching Tool.
Each holiday gives us amazing tools for education. The hearts of our kids are wrapped up in the holidays and the magic, so tapping into holidays is brilliant and effective. For the next few weeks until Valentine’s Day, candy hearts are going to be your new best friend in the classroom or at your kitchen table.
Take the magic even further when you purchase Learn About Numbers with Candy Hearts. This 42 page PDF file can be printed at home and used to teach the following skills:
- Number Recognition
- Number Formation
- Handwriting Practice
- Number Word Recognition
- Counting Practice
- Hand-Eye Coordination