Valentine’s day special – maths and sensory play

Valentine’s day is arriving and there are hearts everywhere so I thought it would be a good way to incorporate some maths games and sensory play.  We have had a lot of fun with these games and love is definitely in the air now!

Sensory Tray

Resources: Coloured rice, coloured oats, range of red items found in the house like pom poms, pipe cleaners, artificial flowers ( I bought 1 bunch and kept most of the flowers whole but cut one up into petals) range of heart shaped objects, spoons, pots,

Place all of the items into a large tray. I used the tuff tray but if you don’t have a tray then a smaller tray like an ikea drawer or large plant pot base works well. I shaped the rice and oats into hearts and dotted the other items around, then let the children explore it. Megan was able to access this activity on her own for a while and she loved the freedom of exploration without anyone else taking items she wanted. We talked a lot about filling, full, empty, half full, as she scooped the rice into the cups. She also loved finding the different sizes of pom poms and matched the sizes, ordering them from smallest to biggest (with a bit of help for the middle ones). Charlie enjoyed scooping and filling, and when Isabel played she created an imaginary kitchen with the items. Lots of scope for developing imagination, language and maths.




Hearts and stickers

Resources: paper, red crayon, stickers

This is so simple, it was a quick activity I set up so that I could hang up the washing in peace. With Megan and Charlie loved it and returned to it through out the whole day. Simply draw a variety of different sized hearts on a piece of paper. Then provide stickers (can be anything I happened to find some heart ones and gems but anything will work). The children can then colour in their hearts (Charlie loved doing this) and accessorising them with the stickers.

Again we talked about size which is the biggest? Smallest? How many hearts are there? Peeling the stickers and putting them on the page is a great finger gym activity for fine motor control and hand and eye co-ordination.

Baking heart brownies

Resources: A simple brownie recipe and ingredients

Megan was my helper for this activity. She absolutely loves baking and pretty much asks if she can bake every day. I let her take the lead when we bake and she asks for help when she needs it. Mashing the banana is a great finger gym activity. Then measuring the number of spoons for the water and oil needed was great. I explained the spoons needed to be full each time for the measurement to count properly and Megan carefully filled each spoon and kept count accurately. Fantastic opportunity to practise counting 1:1 and fine motor skills.

When they were cooked Isabel then had the challenge of estimating how many brownie hearts we could cut out of the mix. She estimated 10, and then carefully cut out the hearts. I showed her that to get as many hearts as she could she needed to start at the edges and cut them close to each other. She was very pleased she managed to get 9 heart shapes. Again a great activity practising maths, spacial awareness and developing those finger muscles.

Making valentines day cards

Resources: toilet rolls, paint, card

This is an old one but a good one. Simply fold the toilet roll at the top to create the top of the heart, and pinch the bottom to create the point at the bottom, you then have a perfect heart to print with. Use imagination to paint and print cards and then write to friends and loved ones. Getting the children to have a go at folding the toilet rolls is a good finger gym activity and then writing the cards is a way to get them to practise their phonics and tricky word writing.

Message in a bottle

Resources: Small bottle with lid (I found these in card factory for 99p each) paper, pencil

Choose a friend or loved one to write a valentines day message. Then roll up the message and put it in the special bottle. Megan loves writing the ‘m’ in her name and this was a good opportunity to support her writing the other letters in her name. Isabel wrote notes to her friends and had a good go at sounding out valentines and writing it. Rolling up the paper to the right size to fit in the bottle is great for developing spacial awareness and thinking about size. It is also good for developing those finger muscles.

Love potions

Resources: Range of spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, all spice, coriander) some petals, blackcurrant juice, pots, syringes, and a tray

Set up the tray and then let the children explore. They had lots of fun smelling the spices and mixing different smells together. There was lots of natural talk about filing and emptying and using the syringe. Isabel has started to use measurements in her play- “I need 5ml of juice” which she measures out carefully. Great mathematical exploration and sensory play.

Love heart towers

Resources: Love hearts, dice

Place love hearts in a tub (you will need a few of the small packets or two of the big packets). Take it in tuns to throw the dice and collect that number of love hearts. Have four rolls of the dice each. Count how many love hearts you have altogether, then build a tower with your hearts. The winner is the person who manages to build their tower without it falling over! This game is great for counting 1:1, addition and of course finger gym!

I hope you enjoy these activities as much as we have 🙂


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