Valentine’s Day math

Roses are red, violets are blue, math can be fun on Valentine’s too!

Help your child develop a love of math this Valentine’s Day! Photo credit: Brent Moore | MSU Extension
Help your child develop a love of math this Valentine’s Day! Photo credit: Brent Moore | MSU Extension

You can share more than candy with your children this Valentine’s Day - show them how much they mean to you by incorporating math into your holiday fun!

Being skilled in mathematics can have lasting positive impacts on your children. Luckily, you have the ability to bring math skills into your children's everyday life with fun and effective suggestions from Michigan State University Extension! This Valentine’s Day, make it more than just candy hearts and chocolate. Help your children celebrate while improving their math skills in the process. How? Here are some great ideas!

  • Bake with love: Make a sweet Valentine’s treat! Have your child help read the recipe and measure ingredients. You can practice fractions while measuring ingredients or by doubling or halving a recipe, you can practice multiplication and division. Have your child count out the eggs, sprinkles or chocolate chips. Ask them to make predictions such as, “How many chocolate chips will fit into a ¼ cup?"
  • Have a Valentine’s math-athon: Create an obstacle course using math directives. For example, ask your children to do 23 jumping jacks. You can use visual cues for younger children or make it more difficult by writing the directions as a math equation such as, “Do 25 minus two jumping jacks,” or “Jump more than four times but less than six.”
  • Go on a scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt around your home. Make the clues simple math problems or riddles such as, “If Pat had six hearts and he gave one to Molly and Sarah, how many hearts does he have left?” Be sure to include a prize.
  • Sort and count : Sort Valentine’s hearts or another candy based on color or size and then count the totals. You can even chart or graph the results.
  • Put a Valentine’s twist on your favorite game: Try using candy hearts or Hershey Kisses to play Bingo or Battleship. If you are feeling up to learning a new card game, try playing Hearts.  
  • Start a love chain: Help your children make a paper chain using math skills. Write a number on the first loop of your chain and on the second loop, include a mathematical command (+, -, x, ÷). Make your next loop a number and then help your child calculate the answer and write it on the following loop.  
  • Construct some fun: Encourage your children to build structures with marshmallows and toothpicks. This helps your children practice spatial reasoning, building concepts and problem solving (it’s pretty tasty too).

With these helpful ideas, you can spark your children’s love of math this Valentine’s Day. When the day is done, don’t forget to count all the ways you love them!

For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the MSU Extension website.

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