Heart math : Five simple math ideas for preschoolers

Explore math concepts with Valentine’s inspired activities!

During the week of Valentine’s Day, my class starts to look like a heart festival.  You will find hearts in just about every center in the classroom and we use them often for math. Here are five simple heart math ideas our pre-k students explored this week…

Heart Math for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Before going on, you might want to know that I found the pretty plastic hearts we are using in some of the activities below at the Dollar Tree. Since these hearts are shiny and pretty, my preschoolers and pre-k students love to explore with them…

Comparing and Estimating with Hearts

Each child started with a set of three paper hearts: small, medium, and large.  The children set out their paper hearts then we compared how each heart was different and organized them from smallest to largest or largest to smallest (their choice)…

Valentines, Colored Sugar, Patterns 228

The children used their paper hearts as a space for estimating with our small plastic hearts. The children started with the small heart and easily guessed three plastic hearts would fill the space. Then we moved on to the medium and large hearts…

Heart Math for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

After the children filled each paper heart with plastic hearts, they counted the number of plastic hearts that actually fit and compared it to what we guessed might fit. The small and medium hearts were pretty easy for the children but the big heart created a big challenge! After counting out the hearts, we discovered that it took between 32 and 37 plastic hearts to cover the big heart….

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Patterning with Hearts at the Light Table

We also set a basket of our plastic hearts over by the light box. The children made patterns with the hearts inside the paper graph we had sitting on the light box…

Heart Math for preschool by Teach Preschool

Patterning with Hearts as a Large Group

As a large group, we made a long pattern with our felt hearts.  Each child had six hearts to work with. The children followed the pattern down the path adding their own hearts as the pattern came in front of them…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

We made two different patterns so the children really had to think about both patterns before they added a heart to each one…

Heart Math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

After our pattern spread all across the floor, we read each pattern aloud and added movement by clapping our hands for pink and our knees for white…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Our patterns stretched all the way across the floor…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Sewing Hearts

Before the children could sew up a heart, they had to estimate how much yarn they might need to go all the way around the heart….

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Each heart is made of red craft foam and we set out scissors and white twine for the sewing…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

The children had to do quite a bit of problem solving to wrap the twine all the way around the heart…

Heart Math for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Making A List of Ten 

We have read many different Valentine’s Day related books but this book drew the children’s attention to making a list of ten…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

“Ten Things I Love About You” by Daniel Kirk is a simple and funny book about friendship and making a list of things they love about each other…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

At the end of the book, the children were able to see the list of ten things both friends shared about each other.  Yes, sometimes a simple book can be a whole math experience in itself…

Heart math for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Why we Love Valentine’s Inspired Math

My students love hands-on math and I enjoy drumming up interesting mathematical processes we can use to explore our materials!  I’d love to hear some math ideas you have or that your students have really enjoyed. You can share your suggestions in the comments below..

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By |2019-01-30T15:37:09+00:00February 13th, 2014|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Sarah Mullins February 13, 2014 at 7:59 am - Reply

    We have been using a lot of candy hearts to pattern, graph, sort, count, non standard measure with, and observe using the observation sheet from 2 teaching mommies. We have been saying a lot of, “you can eat some after you do your work!” 🙂

  2. Belle February 13, 2014 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Love all your great books! How do fine your books.?

  3. kranthi kumar April 13, 2014 at 10:56 am - Reply

    nice idea

  4. Amy Valentine January 30, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    great great great!!!

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