Montessori-Inspired Valentine Math Trays and Valentine Ideas Blog Hop

Valentine Numbers and Counters

Valentine Numbers and Counters

I typically use a free printable to create Montessori-inspired activities for my post at PreK + K Sharing on the 15th of each month. Of course, February 15 is after Valentine’s Day. Today’s the collaborative Valentine Ideas Blog Hop and a good day to share some Montessori-inspired Valentine trays created using free printables!

There are great Valentine printables available in every subject area. I’ll show some math trays that were easy to create using a few of the printables. If your materials will be used a lot (in a preschool especially), I recommend laminating the printables. For a homeschool activity that won’t have a lot of heavy use, you could always print out the material on thick, glossy photo paper and skip the lamination.

I try to find 3-dimensional objects for activity trays whenever possible, so these use 3-dimensional hearts. You could always use paper hearts (such as hearts created from a special hole puncher) if needed.

Valentine Numbers and Counters

Valentine Numbers and Counters Layout

Valentine Numbers and Counters Layout

I always loved to have variations of the Montessori cards and counters for different seasons and holidays. I generally like to find a printable for the numbers that’s seasonal, although you could use regular numerals from Montessori cards and counters and change out the counters. For the printable, I used the Valentine Number Matchup from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

For this tray, I found a cute heart-shaped tray on sale at the hobby store (Michaels), but it certainly doesn’t have to be heart shaped. I often use an inexpensive wooden tray from the hobby store. I bought acrylic heart gems from the hobby store and used an inexpensive heart-shaped container to hold the gems.

When presenting this, I like to use the traditional Montessori presentation of placing the counters in rows of two with an odd counter centered in the middle below the last row. That gives a visual impression of odd and even. Here’s a helpful cards and counters presentation from Montessori Primary Guide.

One difference is that the printable I used is for 1-9 rather than 1-10 for the traditional cards and counters. I really liked the printable design, so I’d just use 1-9 this time. Be sure to get 55 counters for 1-10 or 45 for 1-9. I generally get 55 in case I want to use them in the future for a 1-10 activity.

Valentine Numbers and Counters Variation

Conversation Hearts Counting Tray

Conversation Hearts Counting Tray

I love that the printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler has a second part that can be used to make another activity! In a school, you could use small acrylic hearts, but I used candy conversation hearts. If I were using the activity in a homeschool, I would probably use the Valentine numbers and counters tray until Valentine’s Day and then put out the activity with candy hearts. That way, your child could have the hearts after completing the activity as a special Valentine’s Day treat.

Valentine Numbers and Counters Variation

Valentine Numbers and Counters Variation

Isolation of difficulty is a Montessori principle to make learning concepts easier. I’ll typically have all the counters the same so the child isn’t confused when color, shape, or size varies along with the number. But because conversation hearts are just too cute the way they are (and this is an extension after the child is introduced to counters that are all the same), I used conversation hearts in varying colors. You could always pick out one color of conversation heart for the activity if your child would be confused otherwise.

The heart cards with places for conversation hearts don’t all follow the Montessori odd/even presentation, so the odd-even part of the presentation can be skipped and the activity just used as a fun way to match numerals and quantities.

Sweethearts Graphing

Sweethearts Graphing Tray

Sweethearts Graphing Tray

For this activity, I used the Sweethearts Graphing printable from Valentine {Expanded} at 2 Teaching Mommies. This was an easy activity to prepare! The container holds one box of Sweethearts. You could have an unopened box on the tray instead of in a container if you’d like, since the child graphs the candies from a box of Sweethearts.

Conversation Hearts Count Cards

Conversation Hearts Count Cards

Conversation Hearts Count Cards

Conversation Heart Count Cards from Making Learning Fun are the printables I used for this activity. I like to keep the small parts in individual containers to keep the activity tray as organized and attractive as possible. I added a small container of conversation hearts for counting onto the cards, but that isn’t essential. Your child can just count the hearts on the card and clip the clothespin on the correct number. Clothespin math activities are nice for developing fine-motor skills along with math skills.

Hundred Board Extension

Hundred Chart Tray

Hundred Chart Tray

This activity is a great extension to the traditional Montessori hundred board. For the printable, I used the Hundred’s Chart from Empowering Little Learners. I just purchased 100 acrylic rhinestone hearts from the hobby store. The ones I found were adhesive, so I removed them from their backing and worked with them a bit to remove any excess stickiness.

I have the hearts in a handmade box from Poland. I love it when I have a keepsake or something special to use on an activity tray. When I’m introducing an activity with a special container, I always tell the story of the container. For a container from another country, I’ll show where the country is on the globe. I show how to handle the special container carefully. I’ve noticed that children are extra careful when they’re shown how to handle the material and entrusted with its care.

Hundred Chart Art

Hundred Chart Art

Hundred Chart Art

Heart Hundreds Chart printable from Lil’ Country Kindergarten is another fun extension to the traditional hundred board. The control chart is shown in the photo, but there’s a blank version underneath for the activity. I used pink and red acrylic rhinestone hearts for this to make it a hands-on activity. If you’d like to have an option for children to color in the hearts, you could print out however many charts you’d need on plain typing paper.

Some Other Printables that Would Work Well for Creating Montessori-Inspired Valentine Math Trays

Chocolate Addition and Count by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s from Valentine’s Day Printable Pack ~ Kindergarten Add-On at Homeschool Creations

Valentine’s Day Printables at PreKinders

V is for Valentine Puzzle (with numbers 1-10) from Valentine’s Day Pre-K Pack at Over the Big Moon

There are links to more Montessori-inspired Valentine math ideas (and Valentine’s Day ideas of all types) in my Montessori-Inspired Valentine’s Day Activities post.

And now, please link up your Valentine activities in our collaborative Valentine Ideas blog hop!

Valentine Ideas Blog Hop

Valentine's Day Ideas Blog Hop
 

Lots of great kid bloggers are collaborating on this blog hop! Link up your Valentine ideas and check out the creative Valentine ideas from:

Mama Pea Pod, Let Kids Create, My Creative Family, Hands on: as we grow, La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life, AngeliqueFelix.com, The Golden Gleam, Teach Preschool, Critters and Crayons, Living at the Whitehead Zoo, The Iowa Farmer’s Wife, Nurturestore, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, The Chocolate Muffin Tree, Jamie’s Jumble, The Outlaw Mom Blog, Mama Smiles, The Mommies Made Me Do It, Dinosaurs and Octopuses, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Toddler Approved, Messy Kids, Rainy Day Mum, JDaniel4sMom, Glittering Muffins, Red Ted Art, Mommy and Me Book Club, Putti Prapancha, Dilly-Dali Art, Creative Connections for Kids, Mommy Labs, De tout et de rien: Activités pour le Préscolaire, Imagination Soup.net, Rockabye Butterfly, Classified: Mom, Kids Creative Chaos, A Mom with A Lesson Plan, PlayDrMom, RainbowsWithinReach, Living Montessori Now, Curly Birds, Growing A Jeweled Rose, The Home Teacher, A Little Learning For Two, Sun Hats and Wellie Boots, The Imagination Tree, Mummy Mummy Mum, Critters and Crayons, La-La’s Home Daycare, Come Together Kids, Tinkerlab, Dirt and Boogers, Multiple Mummy.
 
May be linked to Afterschool Express, Thoughtful Spot, Tuesday Tots, The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions at Milk and Cuddles and Crystal & Co., Mom’s Library, It’s Playtime, The Weekly Kid’s Co-op, Homeschool Link-up, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, Learn & Link, TGIF Linky Party, Preschool Corner, Ultimate Homeschool Pinterest Party, Sharing Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Share It Saturday, Show-and-Share Saturday, The Sunday Showcase, Link & Learn, LOVE-ly Ideas {link-up}.

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