Monday, February 11, 2013

20 Things to Do with Candy Hearts

My sister in law, Jenny, and I both teach kindergarten.  She is an incredible teacher, and I always learn so much from her great ideas!  We had a slight text-a-thon this week and together came up with a huge variety of activities that utilize candy conversation hearts.  I tried to take pictures of as many of the activities I could so that you'd have a visual, but I've otherwise just provided descriptions and directions for each activity.

1. Guess how many?

Fill any sized jar (or two or three) with candy hearts.  Let children make guesses for how many hearts they think are in the jar.  If you do more than one jar, be sure to ask questions like, "Which jar do you think will have more?  Why?" Be sure to encourage your child to help you count the candy hearts in the jar for the total.  Teachers, you can use poster board and post it notes to let all your children write down their guesses and place it on the "jar".

2. Dissolving Experiment

Using clear cups, place one candy heart in each.  Fill cups with different liquids.  We used water, vinegar, and oil.  You could also try salt water. Fill with enough liquid to cover the hearts.  Discuss how things "dissolve".  Ellie used the word "melt" to describe what she saw happening.  We started this at night and had to let them sit overnight to really notice a change.  Ellie made guesses about which one she thought would dissolve fastest and slowest.  I was surprised to find out that my guess for "fastest to dissolve" was wrong!  Gasp!

3.  How many fit?

You can really use any flat surface or shape to do this activity, but I chose to cut out hearts shapes from colored sticky foam (that I scored at Goodwill for crazy cheap! Woot!).  Have your child see how many  candies she can fit inside each heart.  Which one fits the most candies?  Which one fits the least?

4.  Heart Sorting

Try sorting candy hearts by color.  I posted about this earlier this week.  Check out the post here to find some variations for older children.

5.  Math/Spelling Match-Up

Help your child work on his spelling and math with this clothes pin match up that I posted a few days ago.

6.  Sensory Dig

Fill a flat tub or container with something such as beans or rice or sand.  Bury a couple candy hearts in the sand.  Provide digging utensils such as spoons or a measuring cup.  Have them "excavate" for candy hearts.  Aaron (1) was so excited when he found his first heart.  He popped it in his mouth so quickly!

7.  Probability

Fill a bag with a handful of candy hearts.  Grab one at a time from the bag and tally the color on a chart.   Which color comes out most often?  Change it up by filling a bag with 10 pink and 2 yellow.  Ask your child which color they think they would have a better chance of picking.  What about a bag with 6 oranges and 1 purple?  Do you get equal tally marks with equal colors?   So many options for this one.  And then, of course, there's the adding aspect of counting up the tally marks!

8. Graphing Colors

If you have a full bag (or you can even use individual small bags the kids sometimes get for valentine's), create a chart to represent each color in the bag.  Tally and add up each color.  Does the bag have the same amount of pink hearts as it does purple?  Do all bags have the same amounts of yellow?

9.  Estimation

How many hearts can you hold in your hand?  Let your child estimate how many hearts they can hold in one hand.  Fill her hand, counting each heart as you go.  How close were they?  Now have them guess how many they can hold with both hands cupped together.  Do you think you can hold more  or less with both hands together than with one hand?  Fill her hands again, counting each one.  How many could her hands cupped together hold?

10.  Sink or Float?

Fill a bowl with water.  Let your child first guess if they think the hearts will sink or float.  Also ask if they think the color of the heart will make a difference. I.e. Will the pink ones float if the yellow ones sink?  If one floats, will they all float?  Do the words on the hearts make a difference?  Once your child has made all his predictions, let him place them in the water.  Try at least one of each color, too, so they can see if color is a predictor to whether it will sink or float.  Ellie was very shocked that different colors all did the same thing.  Hmmm.

11.  Stamping

Stamping is so much fun, and with these little candies, your little one will certainly have a chance to work her fine motor skills!  Don't have any paint?  No worries!  You can stamp with all sorts of things! Chocolate pudding, ketchup, toothpaste, anything!  Chocolate pudding is always a favorite art medium for my kids.  Yum!

12.  Letter Tracing

Using a template for a letter (can simply be a piece of paper with a letter drawn onto it), give your child a handful of candy hearts to "trace" along the lines of the letter.  Using the first letter of their name, or even their whole name, is a great option.  You can even give your child a glue bottle and allow them to glue the candies onto their letters.

13.  Vocabulary

This is a simple activity in which you can teach some new vocabulary words to your child.  Ask your child: "What shape is this?".  "Do you think this heart can roll?"  Let him try to roll it.  Define the difference between something being able to roll and something that moves just because you threw it.  "Do you think this heart can slide?" Let your child slide it across the table.  "Do you think it can slide on a different surface?"  Try sliding the hearts on carpet, grass, tile, etc.  "Is this heart flat or three dimensional?"  Explain the difference and show him a flat paper heart to compare.

14.  Measuring

You can do this one of two ways.  1) You can provide a handful of items for your child such as a shoe, a paper clip, a box of cereal, a pencil, etc.  Then, have your child measure the length of items using candy hearts (i.e. this pencil is 14 candy hearts long).  2) Create ready-made candy heart rulers by glueing candy hearts onto card stock or cardboard strips.  Glueing strips in increments of 5 or 10 candy hearts will help your child practice counting by 5's or 10's, too.  They can also measure longer items with these rulers, such as a couch or coffee table.

15. Heart Pointers

You can easily make a pointer stick by glueing a candy heart to the top of a popsicle stick.  My Kindergarten kids love using pointer sticks when they are reading, as it helps them keep their spot.  But, you can really use a pointer stick to point at just about anything ;)

Type up a simple poem such as "Roses are red, Violets are Blue, Sugar is sweet, and so are YOU!"  Let your child use the pointer stick to follow along while reading the words.

16.  Patterns

Use the candy hearts to create patterns with your child.  Younger children may need to stick to a 1-2-1-2 pattern, older children can be more creative in their patterns, choosing colors to make a 1-2-33-1-2-33 pattern.  How long can they make their pattern go before they run out of the necessary colors?  Can it stretch across a sheet of paper?

17.  Dramatic Play

Ah, the most coveted area of my kindergarten classroom...dramatic play!  No matter what I put in this area, it is always the most sought after center.  Set up a candy heart ordering/gifting station.  Provide baggies or boxes or cups, as well as the candy hearts, money, and a cash register of some sort.  Children can take your "order" (I'd like to order 10 pink candy hearts, please), and then they can package your order, take your money, and give you your change.

18.  Addition

You can do addition facts with nothing other than your candy hearts and a dice, or you can be more creative and use something like a muffin tin to sort your candies.  Take two dice, have your child roll them both.  If they roll a 3 and a 4, then they count 3 candy hearts, then 4 candy hearts, and then put them together to count 7 candy hearts.

19.  Graphing Words & Letters

Every 5 year old wants to know what the words are on the candy hearts.  Why not help them read the words and then graph the results?  Using a chart like the one in #8, create a column for each word or saying that you read.  Graph the results for how many of each saying you found in your bag or handful.

You can use this same concept to graph the number of letters appearing on each candy heart (i.e. "True Love" = 8 letters).  Create a graph that represents how many hearts have 3 letters, 4 letters, 5 letters, etc.

20.  Sounds

Gather a couple different containers from around your house.  Make sure to find containers made of different materials, as well as different sizes.  You may want to find things like a medium sized plastic tupperware, a glass baby food jar, a pot with a lid, a plastic bag, and a plastic travel mug.  Place one candy heart (or two or three!) in each container.  Then, shake away!  Do they all sound the same?  Do the hearts make more noise in a certain container?  Which noise is his favorite?  Which is the quietest?

I hope these ideas help you use up all those candy hearts from Valentines day while teaching and having fun with your child!

TEACHERS:  Head HERE to download an edited, "parent ready" PDF version of this post.  You can pass it out to your parents to use for some at home activities to reinforce what you are already learning in the classroom!

See all my Valentine's Day activities, crafts, gifts, and projects HERE!

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