Looking for creative ways to sweeten up your math stations this winter? I like to use candy hearts to teach skills like number sense, skip counting, estimation, sorting, graphing, patterns and basic operations. You can use them just like you use a lot of your other math manipulatives on a daily basis. They also make great manipulatives for many of the activities in my winter math pack. I always stock up on them right after Valentine’s day. Here is a list of some of the ways I like to use them with my students during math time. Just make sure that kids wash their hands and have a clean surface to work on so that they can have a sweet treat when they’re done.
Number Sense: Count out the correct number of candy hearts to match numbers on flashcards, or use them as manipulatives for ten frames.
Skip Counting: Count a large amount of candy hearts by putting them in groups of 5s or 10s and then skip counting to find the total.
Estimation: Fill a jar with candy hearts. Ask students to estimate how many they think are in the jar. Then count them together as a whole class.
Sorting: Give students a bag of candy hearts and have them sort them by color into cups, small bowls, or muffin tins.
Graphing: After sorting the candy hearts by color, graph the results. Another fun way to incorporate graphing is to have students survey their friends to see which flavor is their favorite. Then graph the results of the survey.
Patterns: Use the candy hearts to make AB, ABB, or ABC patterns. To extend this activity, let kids create their own type of pattern and explain the rule to the class or their small groups.
Basic Operations: Use the candy hearts as counters for simple addition or subtraction problems. Or divide up a large amount of candy to count collaboratively in small groups and then add up the total.