This Valentine math station is packed full of ideas for math discovery and math games. And don’t miss the Valentine-themed literacy, art and science ideas featured at the end.
Valentine math station
My children love math stations. The novelty of a themed one always grabs their attention, and they love the variety of activities on offer.
You can have a permanent math station set up, for children to use independently or with guided exercises, or bring one out once in a while to fit the season and give an interesting alternative to your usual math work. You can head here to see our pine cone math station, Halloween math activities and our rainbow themed activities unit.
This Valentine math station idea is part of the Playful Hearts series of Valentine-themed play and learning activities. Click through on the links at the end to see all the literacy, science and art ideas, and you’ll have a complete resource of Valentine activities for your children.
The idea behind the math station is to include lots of multi-sensory activities. It includes a variety of math activities which children can play with independently, or use to work on some directed games. There’s much to see, feel, count, explore and discover. Most of the materials are open-ended, and you can set up your math station so it is interesting and relevant to children of a range of ages and abilities. Let’s go on a tour of ours!
We have a pot of plastic hearts, which make great counters for children who still like to have real objects in their hands to help them calculate answers.
The number hearts are from our bunting number line, which you can see in the top photograph. We have the odd and even numbers in different colours. We peg them up, so we have them as a visual reference to help us write our numbers the right way round – using the coloured rice / salt tray to practise. We also take down our numbers for some of our math games.
We have a selection of ‘broken hearts’, waiting to be fixed by clever math-brained children! You can make these hearts to suit the levels your children are working at.
:: Match written numbers with the corresponding number of dots
:: Have addition and subtraction problems to match with answers
:: Include tally marks and the written form of the number (one, two, three…) to match up
:: Use them to work on times tables
We have a selection of manipulatives that the children can use for counting, making repeating patterns, or for building symmetrical pictures. Lollipop sticks are great for tally marks, and pipe cleaners are great for making digits. And there’s also a collection of heart-shaped cookie cutters and pots, in a variety of sizes.
A math station like this is really hands-on, encouraging children to engage all their senses as they work. Multi-sensory learning is the best kind for all children, but a station like this is especially useful for children who benefit from visual learning, and those who need to have ‘real’ things to count and calculate with and aren’t yet able to work in abstract (working it out in their heads).
As a Valentine treat, a plate of heart-shaped marshmallows and toothpicks make a great construction activity. You can invite the children to create some architectural sculptures, or have a set of challenge cards. Can they build a cube? A pyramid? A tower that is 25cm tall? A symmetrical structure?
Loveheart-patterned washi tape is great for measuring, and for making shapes. Again, you might have a set of challenge cards available. Can you tape out a 10cm square? A rectangle? A right-angled triangle?
We also use our number hearts for some non-standard unit measuring. In contrast to using a ruler with our washi tape, here we’re counting how many hearts tall our toys – and our children – are.
If you’re working on reading and writing too, head this way and you can print a free set of alphabet cards. They make a great addition to a Valentine writing station.
More Valentine inspired play and learning
This activity is part of the Playful Hearts play and learning series brought to you by me, Christie, Kate, Ana, Kristina and Meri. We have a whole collection of ideas you can use with your children to enjoy.
Christie at Childhood 101 has a hanging hearts threading activity.
Kate at Picklebums has a something lovely!
Ana at Babble Dabble Do has a fun magnetic science exploration.
Meri at Meri Cherry has a pretty paper bag heart purse you can make.
Kristina at Toddler Approved has a textured heart alphabet sensory bin.