Get your little ones ready to count the ways they love Valentine’s Day! Our printable for preschoolers and toddlers brings together three fun activities that will help them practice counting and graphing. This is a must-add to your Valentine’s Day math activities for preschoolers!
Hands On Math Activities for Valentine’s Day
Button drop counting isn’t just a counting activity for preschoolers and kindergarten students; it’s a fun preschool math activity that teaches several different skills, such as the following:
- one-to-one correspondence
- rote counting
- composing ten
- color sorting
Read the entire post to see how this one Valentine’s Day printable can teach all the above skills, and be sure to grab your free printable math game at the end of this post.
FAQ About Composing 10 and Graphing with Preschoolers
This printable will teach your preschooler how to compose ten as well as how to graph data. Yes, you read that correctly.
Preschoolers are born mathematicians. Here are some frequently asked questions about teaching math preschoolers. The answers to these questions will serve as tips for helping you teach these skills to your preschooler.
Composing ten means to join two numbers to make a set of ten in total. In its more simple explanation, composing ten means to add two numbers together to make ten. This is a basic addition skill that is introduced in late preschool and mastered in kindergarten.
Being able to compose ten is an important math skill since our math system is based on sets of ten. Composing ten activities for preschoolers pair well with ten frame activities. If a preschooler has experience in ten-frame math, they are more likely to quickly catch on to composing ten activities.
Addition activities in preschool are somewhat advanced math activities and shouldn’t be taught until one-to-one correspondence has been mastered. Preschool addition activities are best introduced as hands-on counting activities, where preschoolers count two separate sets of objects and then join them together.
During the preschool years, the actual algorithm means very little to preschoolers and shouldn’t even be taught when introducing addition to preschoolers.
When introducing graphing to preschoolers, it’s important to keep activities hands-on, allowing preschoolers to move real objects onto a printed graph. Keep the graph simple, offering only three choices at first and then growing to five or six choices in the data.
It’s a popular practice to teach graphing skills during circle time with question of the day activities. It’s important to also teach a graphing preschool unit and to practice graphing in thematic lesson plans.
Valentine’s Day Counting Activities for Preschool & Kindergarten
Some of my favorite counting activities for preschoolers are button drop counting games. They’re quick and easy to prepare, and can be adapted to almost any theme. Here’s one to go along with my apple printable activities.
Today I’m sharing a Valentine’s themed button drop game–including three variations in difficulty–that’s appropriate for both preschoolers and kindergarteners. We are completely skipping the Valentine’s Day math worksheets because these math Valentine games are so much more fun!
Add these preschool counting activities for Valentine’s Day to your Valentine’s Day printable activities, too.
Preschool Counting Activities for Valentine’s Day
This Valentine’s Day button drop game is a fun way to teach slightly advanced math skills to preschoolers.
But like all of my free printables, there are many different ways to use the printable, so be sure to read them all in this post. We also have this fun Valentine’s Counting & Addition Game, too!
- free Valentine’s Day button drop game
- small manipulatives in red, white, and pink
This game is really easy to prepare. After printing in color on heavy cardstock, just make a single cut down the center of the graphing card, and set aside the extra graphing sheet or give it to another preschooler.
Place the button drop counting mat on a tray. You’ll want a try to catch all the buttons as they are dropped.
Set out your small Valentine manipulatives in red, white, and pink next to the tray with the graphing card and you’re ready to play. Count out ten manipulatives in a single color and set aside.
It should look like the photo below.
You’ll notice in the photos that I didn’t use buttons as I mention. Instead I found these cute, heart-shaped pony beads, and they worked just as well. The most important thing is to have the same manipulative in the three colors: red, white, and pink.
Here are Some Materials to Consider
You don’t have to be too picky about what materials you use for this, but these are what I have used and count on.
How to Play
Invite your preschooler to play the original button drop counting game. (Always supervise young children, since button sand beads can cause choking! Never leave your child or students unattended). The child gathers the buttons in his or her hand, holds the hand 6-8 inches above the heart-shaped mat, then drops the handful of buttons onto the tray.
Preschoolers will have trouble identifying how high 6-8 inches is from the table, so I just tell my preschoolers to put their elbows on the table and then drop.
The buttons or beads will scatter about, some landing on the mat, some not.
The child then counts how many buttons fell onto different parts of the mat and graphs the results.
For example, if four of the ten fall onto the red part of the heart, the preschooler then counts the same number of colored buttons or beads and adds them to the corresponding column on their graphing card.
To help my preschoolers “transfer the data,” I have them collect the beads from the red part of the heart first and place them in a row below the mat. Then we count the number of beads.
After that, we count out the same number from the bowl and add them to the graphing card.
Then repeat these last steps with each color on the heart mat.
After the results are recorded on the graphing card, gather up the ten beads and drop them again.
Continue the process until one of the colors reaches ten on the graphing card.
Don’t Forget Fun Valentine Picture Books!
Any preschool theme can be enhanced by the use of carefully selected picture books for Valentine’s Day. Here is part of my personal book list.
How to Simplify This Activity
This game can easily be simplified by removing the graphing card. Have your preschooler drop the ten beads or buttons onto the mat and count how many fell onto the heart and how many fell outside the heart.
If ten beads is too many, then start with only five, or for young preschoolers, start with three.
How to Make This Even More Advanced
If you have advanced preschoolers–or if you have kindergarteners or first graders–there are variations for you, too.
For kindergarten students, practice more with composing ten. This counting activity makes a fun small group or morning meeting activity in kindergarten.
Practice composing and decomposing ten by recording “happy” sets of numbers on the whiteboard. For example, if seven buttons fall onto the mat, the student records that in a chart, with the number of buttons that did not fall onto the mat (three) recorded in a second column. This helps students recognize set of numbers that compose–or add up to–ten. More advanced kindergarten students can be challenged to write the algorithm for each set of numbers on the chart (7+3=10).
Tips for Doing Graphing Activities for Preschoolers
Graphing can sometimes be a little tricky for preschoolers, which is why if you’re looking to simplify this Valentine’s Day math activity you can eliminate the graphing element. The preschoolers can just focus on counting and number recognition.
There are several different types of graphs, not all of which will be appropriate to teach in preschool. Here are the graph types that preschoolers will have most success with.
- bar graph (vertical and horizontal)
- line graph
- tally chart
- pie chart
Get Your Free Heart Drop Counting Mat Here
Think you can use these preschool counting activities for Valentine’s Day? You betcha’! Grab you own copy by clicking the image below and the PDF will be sent to your email.
Then keep reading for more counting activities for preschoolers.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.