Conversation hearts can be a great learning tool for your toddler or preschooler! There are so many different activities they can be used for, and they are inexpensive as well. Just be sure to closely supervise your little one, as they can pose a choking hazard in put in his or her mouth. (My daughter has no idea they are candy as long as she never sees me sneak one into my mouth! Fortunately she’s mostly past the putting everything into her mouth phase.) They do sell larger conversation hearts as well, and those could easily be used for any of these activities.
So grab a bag and pull out some supplies you have laying around the house for some Valentine’s Day fun!
- Artwork Fun! – My toddler loves glue – especially when I bust out the liquid glue. Put a line of glue around this heart printable and let your little one put the conversation hearts on the line. Or you could let them put a dot of glue on the back of a heart using a q-tip. If putting hearts on the line is too difficult for your child, encourage them to put them inside the heart – or just have a totally freestyle piece of art!
- Pouring – These little condiment cups are the perfect size for my daughter’s small hands, and she loves to pour small items back and forth between them. Conversation hearts are a great option, because they are not too small, and they are easy to clean up with the inevitable spills occur.
- Transferring and Spooning – This one is great for even the youngest toddlers. Allow your little one to move the hearts back and forth between two bowls with their fingers. This is always a hit in our house. If they are a little bit older and are working on using utensils, they can practice transferring using a spoon.
- One-to-One Correspondence – Encourage your little one to put one candy in each compartment of an ice cube tray (or other divided container). This is a great developing math skill. Bonus points if you have one of the adorable heart-shaped ice cube trays around your house! You could also do this using a Do-A-Dot printable like the heart shape from 3 Dinosaurs.
- Counting – My daughter is working on counting to three (the number “one” is currently overrated in her mind!), so I put out three heart bracelets (you could just as easily draw three hearts or circles) and wrote the numerals one through three next to them. Together, we put one heart in each bracelet, counting as we go. It gets her used to the one-to-one correspondence, the vocabulary of the numbers, and the visual form of the numerals.
- Fine Motor Skills – Grab an empty spice jar and let your toddler put the hearts inside one at a time using the larger opening. If you are using the larger hearts, a parmesan cheese container should work well.
- Color Sorting – Print this free printable from Teaching Tiny Tots and help your little one put the heart on the correct color.
- Music Time – Pour the hearts into an empty jar and you have a festive homemade maraca to shake to some love songs! Anything that makes noise is a huge win with my daughter.
- Sensory Bin – Use the hearts as a base for a Valentine-themed sensory bin and allow your child to explore. Throw in some foam hearts or any other heart shaped or themed items you can find.
Enjoy these fun conversation heart activities with your favorite little Valentine!
Written by Alicia