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February 2, 2016

14 Sweet Activities With Candy Hearts

By Amanda Nehring
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    It’s almost that time again: Valentine’s Day! As an elementary school teacher I love celebrating this holiday with my students. They always come to school so excited to show me the sweet cards they made and bring me more chocolate than any one person should eat . . . ever. The kids spend all day looking forward to our PTO-sponsored party at two o'clock, which means that I have to get creative and find ways to make our first five hours of learning both meaningful and exciting for students.

    Over the years, I have put together many Valentine’s Day centers, projects, and worksheets for my students, and I must say that my favorites are my candy heart themed activities. So go ahead, pop open a box of Sweethearts and get ready to find “True Love” in these fourteen candy heart ideas for your classroom!

     

    Sight Words Bingo Sight Words Bingo

    The short and sweet messages on candy hearts are chock full of sight words that your early elementary students have been studying all year, so they make a perfect set of bingo game pieces.

    This bingo game can be played two ways. The first version is for students to play independently. Give each child a bingo board and a box of candy hearts. Tell the students that they can only use the candy hearts from their box to try and complete a line of bingo up and down, across, or diagonally. When a student finds one of the sight words from the bingo card on a candy heart, they place the candy heart on the board's matching word. Once they complete a row of bingo, they win the game.

    Alternatively you can play the game as a class. Give each child one of the blank bingo boards also included in my free download above, and have them fill out the board using the sight words you’ve been studying. You should choose specific sight words that are likely to show up on a candy heart. After all of your students have created their bingo boards you can use a bucket of candy hearts to draw one at a time and read the message. If the heart’s phrase contains a sight word on a student’s bingo board, they should cover that word. Again, the first child to complete a line of bingo wins!

     

    Alphabetical OrderAlphabetical Order

    Alphabetizing is an important skill for students to learn, so why not use candy hearts to practice?

    For preschool and kindergarten students I would recommend buying the candy hearts that contain letters instead of phrases. Ask the students to dump out their box of candy and put the letters in ABC order.

    Older elementary students with more practice alphabetizing can use the regular candy hearts to sequence the phrases. Give each child a copy of my Alphabetical Order worksheet along with a box of candy hearts. Tell the students to look at all of their candy heart messages and put them in order from A to Z. The great thing about using candies instead of word lists is that the students can physically move the hearts around until they have them in the correct order.

    Making a mistake is quick to fix and doesn’t involve erasing since you just have to move the heart to the right spot. Once students have lined up their candy hearts alphabetically they can record their ordered phrases on the worksheet.

     

    Candy Contractions Candy Heart Contractions

    If your class is studying contractions, candy hearts are a great tool. Have your students hunt through their boxes of candy hearts to find contractions such as “You’re Sweet” and “It’s love.” Make a big heart shaped poster on chart paper and allow the students to come and add the contractions they’ve found to the poster. If you are feeling really festive you could even have the students glue the contraction heart they found directly onto the poster. Just remember that you can’t eat a heart that’s glued to paper, so you might need back-up candies so students don’t hesitate to add theirs to the list.

     

    Leaning Tower of Hearts

    When I need a quick brain break or transition activity for my students I love to use Minute-to-Win-It games. This Valentine’s edition asks students to try and stack as many candy hearts as they can, one on top of the other, in just one minute. Put a countdown timer on the projector and watch your students get to work. Because candy hearts are not perfectly flat, the game is much more difficult than it seems. Your students will love this game and probably beg to play more than one round as they try and engineer the perfect stacking strategy.

     

    Love Sucks!

    Okay, we don’t say "sucks" in my classroom, but the name of this Minute-to-Win-It game refers to the method of moving hearts. Give each child two bowls, a box of candy hearts, and a straw. Have them dump their candy hearts into one bowl and get ready for some serious suction. Once the timer starts each student must use their straw to suck up a candy heart and move it over to the empty bowl. At the end of one minute, the student with the most candy hearts moved wins!

     

    Skip Counting CandiesMy Heart Skips a Beat

    Skip counting is incredibly important in the Common Core State Standards for math, so I love to use candy hearts to practice all the different ways to skip count.

    Begin by downloading my Skip Counting Candy Hearts worksheet. Give each child a copy of the game and a box of candy hearts. As the worksheet explains, each color of candy heart represents a different number (1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100). The game starts by having your students find all of their orange candy hearts. In this game, orange hearts have a value of one, so the students must count all of their orange hearts by ones and record the total on the worksheet. As they move through the various colors, the value of the hearts change so that the students will be required to skip count by numbers from two to 100. The game can be replayed multiple times with different boxes of candy hearts since the quantity of each color will vary every time.

     

    Practicing Place Value

    Similar to my skip counting game, different colored candy hearts can be used to represent different place values. Assign each color of candy a value, from ones all the way to millions, depending on the number of colors you want to use. Have your students dump out their box of candy hearts and sort them according to color. I recommend having students make a place value chart so that they visualize the number of hearts belonging to each value. Once they have sorted their hearts, the students can add up their total value to see what multi-digit number they can create. Who can make the largest number in the class? Who has the smallest number? Does anyone have the same number as another student?

     

    Lovely Patterns

    Early elementary students love creating colorful patterns, and candy hearts make a great tool for just that purpose. Allow students to play with their candy hearts in order to create tons of different patterns. You can guide students by asking them to make specific patterns, like ABAB or ABCBA, or you can just let your students’ creativity run wild. However you structure your pattern playtime I guarantee it will be one of the tastier patterns students have made.

     

    Graphing Candy Hearts

    Graphing colored candy hearts is a classic activity. While you can certainly download one of hundreds of premade candy heart graphing sheets online, I like to have my students make their own graphing tables as this is also an important skill to learn. I first have my students sort their candy hearts and make a tally chart of each color’s quantity. Next I ask them to draw and complete a bar graph showing their candy hearts. After we’ve finished bar graphing we make another graph of our candy hearts, this time drawing hearts to create a pictograph. Finally, if I can convince my students not to eat their candy hearts, we make one final graph and glue our hearts onto the paper to create a real graph. If you want to get even more creative, try having students graph their hearts not by color but by message instead. It will give you more categories to make an even larger graph.

     

    Cupid’s Estimation

    Fill a clear jar with candy hearts and tell your students that Cupid left a present, but you aren’t sure how many hearts to give each student. Have students work in groups to come up with a strategy for estimating the number of hearts in the jar. Once all of the groups have submitted their estimates, count out the candies together. Take the total number and have the students figure out how to divide the candies equally amongst the students in the class. If you have an uneven number, just tell the kids that the remainders always go to the teacher!

     

    Dot Patterns With Candy Hearts

    Kindergarten and first-grade students need to be able to recognize a number pattern quickly without counting. In order to practice this skill let your students make dot patterns out of candy hearts. Give them each a piece of construction paper and a box of candy hearts. Choose a number and tell the students to use their candies to create a dot pattern to represent your number. You can even play this game as a race to encourage students to memorize the patterns.

     

    Valentine Ten Frames

    Just as it is important to know dot patterns, students also need to be able to recognize and work with numbers on a ten frame. Give students blank ten frames and some candy hearts to use as markers. Select a number between one and ten (or twenty) and have the students show the number on the ten frame. You can even practice addition and subtraction by asking students to solve a problem using their tasty ten frames.

     

    Measurement Measuring with candy hearts

    Measuring length with nonstandard units can be tricky for students at first, so using candy is a fantastic way to make measuring more motivating. My Candy Heart Measurement activity contains two pages of Valentine-themed pictures (from Scholastic Printables!) of varying sizes for students to measure. You can either cut out each picture and laminate it for students to measure or you can give each child a copy of the two pages as independent worksheets.

    Using the accompanying recording sheet, students must first estimate the length of each image using candy hearts. After they have estimated the students should measure the pictures and record their answers. I like to have my students estimate using red pen so that they don’t go back and erase their estimates to match their measurements. We always discuss how estimates are just our best guesses and that it’s okay if they aren’t perfect as long as we used our critical thinking skills to get as close as possible. It is fun to do this measurement activity using both the small and large sized candy hearts so that students can see the difference in the units of measurement. Older students may even want to use the candy hearts to find the area and perimeter of the pictures as well.

     

    STEM With Candy Hearts

    Some of my fellow bloggers also have a sweet tooth for Valentine’s Day fun and have written their own posts with some great candy heart science activities. Check out Genia Connell’s candy heart catapults and Lindsey Petlak’s Love Potion #9 states of matter and buoyancy with candy hearts for more candy fun.  

     

    Spanish Candy Heart Activities

    Do you have a Spanish dual language or bilingual class like mine? Never fear, for they have candy hearts in Spanish too! Just pick up some boxes of the Spanish hearts and download these Spanish versions of all of my activities:

     

    It’s almost that time again: Valentine’s Day! As an elementary school teacher I love celebrating this holiday with my students. They always come to school so excited to show me the sweet cards they made and bring me more chocolate than any one person should eat . . . ever. The kids spend all day looking forward to our PTO-sponsored party at two o'clock, which means that I have to get creative and find ways to make our first five hours of learning both meaningful and exciting for students.

    Over the years, I have put together many Valentine’s Day centers, projects, and worksheets for my students, and I must say that my favorites are my candy heart themed activities. So go ahead, pop open a box of Sweethearts and get ready to find “True Love” in these fourteen candy heart ideas for your classroom!

     

    Sight Words Bingo Sight Words Bingo

    The short and sweet messages on candy hearts are chock full of sight words that your early elementary students have been studying all year, so they make a perfect set of bingo game pieces.

    This bingo game can be played two ways. The first version is for students to play independently. Give each child a bingo board and a box of candy hearts. Tell the students that they can only use the candy hearts from their box to try and complete a line of bingo up and down, across, or diagonally. When a student finds one of the sight words from the bingo card on a candy heart, they place the candy heart on the board's matching word. Once they complete a row of bingo, they win the game.

    Alternatively you can play the game as a class. Give each child one of the blank bingo boards also included in my free download above, and have them fill out the board using the sight words you’ve been studying. You should choose specific sight words that are likely to show up on a candy heart. After all of your students have created their bingo boards you can use a bucket of candy hearts to draw one at a time and read the message. If the heart’s phrase contains a sight word on a student’s bingo board, they should cover that word. Again, the first child to complete a line of bingo wins!

     

    Alphabetical OrderAlphabetical Order

    Alphabetizing is an important skill for students to learn, so why not use candy hearts to practice?

    For preschool and kindergarten students I would recommend buying the candy hearts that contain letters instead of phrases. Ask the students to dump out their box of candy and put the letters in ABC order.

    Older elementary students with more practice alphabetizing can use the regular candy hearts to sequence the phrases. Give each child a copy of my Alphabetical Order worksheet along with a box of candy hearts. Tell the students to look at all of their candy heart messages and put them in order from A to Z. The great thing about using candies instead of word lists is that the students can physically move the hearts around until they have them in the correct order.

    Making a mistake is quick to fix and doesn’t involve erasing since you just have to move the heart to the right spot. Once students have lined up their candy hearts alphabetically they can record their ordered phrases on the worksheet.

     

    Candy Contractions Candy Heart Contractions

    If your class is studying contractions, candy hearts are a great tool. Have your students hunt through their boxes of candy hearts to find contractions such as “You’re Sweet” and “It’s love.” Make a big heart shaped poster on chart paper and allow the students to come and add the contractions they’ve found to the poster. If you are feeling really festive you could even have the students glue the contraction heart they found directly onto the poster. Just remember that you can’t eat a heart that’s glued to paper, so you might need back-up candies so students don’t hesitate to add theirs to the list.

     

    Leaning Tower of Hearts

    When I need a quick brain break or transition activity for my students I love to use Minute-to-Win-It games. This Valentine’s edition asks students to try and stack as many candy hearts as they can, one on top of the other, in just one minute. Put a countdown timer on the projector and watch your students get to work. Because candy hearts are not perfectly flat, the game is much more difficult than it seems. Your students will love this game and probably beg to play more than one round as they try and engineer the perfect stacking strategy.

     

    Love Sucks!

    Okay, we don’t say "sucks" in my classroom, but the name of this Minute-to-Win-It game refers to the method of moving hearts. Give each child two bowls, a box of candy hearts, and a straw. Have them dump their candy hearts into one bowl and get ready for some serious suction. Once the timer starts each student must use their straw to suck up a candy heart and move it over to the empty bowl. At the end of one minute, the student with the most candy hearts moved wins!

     

    Skip Counting CandiesMy Heart Skips a Beat

    Skip counting is incredibly important in the Common Core State Standards for math, so I love to use candy hearts to practice all the different ways to skip count.

    Begin by downloading my Skip Counting Candy Hearts worksheet. Give each child a copy of the game and a box of candy hearts. As the worksheet explains, each color of candy heart represents a different number (1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100). The game starts by having your students find all of their orange candy hearts. In this game, orange hearts have a value of one, so the students must count all of their orange hearts by ones and record the total on the worksheet. As they move through the various colors, the value of the hearts change so that the students will be required to skip count by numbers from two to 100. The game can be replayed multiple times with different boxes of candy hearts since the quantity of each color will vary every time.

     

    Practicing Place Value

    Similar to my skip counting game, different colored candy hearts can be used to represent different place values. Assign each color of candy a value, from ones all the way to millions, depending on the number of colors you want to use. Have your students dump out their box of candy hearts and sort them according to color. I recommend having students make a place value chart so that they visualize the number of hearts belonging to each value. Once they have sorted their hearts, the students can add up their total value to see what multi-digit number they can create. Who can make the largest number in the class? Who has the smallest number? Does anyone have the same number as another student?

     

    Lovely Patterns

    Early elementary students love creating colorful patterns, and candy hearts make a great tool for just that purpose. Allow students to play with their candy hearts in order to create tons of different patterns. You can guide students by asking them to make specific patterns, like ABAB or ABCBA, or you can just let your students’ creativity run wild. However you structure your pattern playtime I guarantee it will be one of the tastier patterns students have made.

     

    Graphing Candy Hearts

    Graphing colored candy hearts is a classic activity. While you can certainly download one of hundreds of premade candy heart graphing sheets online, I like to have my students make their own graphing tables as this is also an important skill to learn. I first have my students sort their candy hearts and make a tally chart of each color’s quantity. Next I ask them to draw and complete a bar graph showing their candy hearts. After we’ve finished bar graphing we make another graph of our candy hearts, this time drawing hearts to create a pictograph. Finally, if I can convince my students not to eat their candy hearts, we make one final graph and glue our hearts onto the paper to create a real graph. If you want to get even more creative, try having students graph their hearts not by color but by message instead. It will give you more categories to make an even larger graph.

     

    Cupid’s Estimation

    Fill a clear jar with candy hearts and tell your students that Cupid left a present, but you aren’t sure how many hearts to give each student. Have students work in groups to come up with a strategy for estimating the number of hearts in the jar. Once all of the groups have submitted their estimates, count out the candies together. Take the total number and have the students figure out how to divide the candies equally amongst the students in the class. If you have an uneven number, just tell the kids that the remainders always go to the teacher!

     

    Dot Patterns With Candy Hearts

    Kindergarten and first-grade students need to be able to recognize a number pattern quickly without counting. In order to practice this skill let your students make dot patterns out of candy hearts. Give them each a piece of construction paper and a box of candy hearts. Choose a number and tell the students to use their candies to create a dot pattern to represent your number. You can even play this game as a race to encourage students to memorize the patterns.

     

    Valentine Ten Frames

    Just as it is important to know dot patterns, students also need to be able to recognize and work with numbers on a ten frame. Give students blank ten frames and some candy hearts to use as markers. Select a number between one and ten (or twenty) and have the students show the number on the ten frame. You can even practice addition and subtraction by asking students to solve a problem using their tasty ten frames.

     

    Measurement Measuring with candy hearts

    Measuring length with nonstandard units can be tricky for students at first, so using candy is a fantastic way to make measuring more motivating. My Candy Heart Measurement activity contains two pages of Valentine-themed pictures (from Scholastic Printables!) of varying sizes for students to measure. You can either cut out each picture and laminate it for students to measure or you can give each child a copy of the two pages as independent worksheets.

    Using the accompanying recording sheet, students must first estimate the length of each image using candy hearts. After they have estimated the students should measure the pictures and record their answers. I like to have my students estimate using red pen so that they don’t go back and erase their estimates to match their measurements. We always discuss how estimates are just our best guesses and that it’s okay if they aren’t perfect as long as we used our critical thinking skills to get as close as possible. It is fun to do this measurement activity using both the small and large sized candy hearts so that students can see the difference in the units of measurement. Older students may even want to use the candy hearts to find the area and perimeter of the pictures as well.

     

    STEM With Candy Hearts

    Some of my fellow bloggers also have a sweet tooth for Valentine’s Day fun and have written their own posts with some great candy heart science activities. Check out Genia Connell’s candy heart catapults and Lindsey Petlak’s Love Potion #9 states of matter and buoyancy with candy hearts for more candy fun.  

     

    Spanish Candy Heart Activities

    Do you have a Spanish dual language or bilingual class like mine? Never fear, for they have candy hearts in Spanish too! Just pick up some boxes of the Spanish hearts and download these Spanish versions of all of my activities:

     

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