Valentine’s Day ten frame counting mats are perfect for helping preschoolers learn to count and work on their number sense.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, these ten frame counting mats are perfect for keeping little hands busy and mastering counting and fine motor skills! This February preschool theme is full of love, friendship, and kindness so these heart counting mats are sure to have your heart skipping a beat!
“There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.” – George Sand, Author
Related: Preschool Valentine’s Day Activities
Valentine’s Day Ten Frame Counting Mats
There’s a delicate balance when teaching math to preschoolers in using counting activities that kids are interested in and teaching effective math skills that you can see at the same time.
What I love about these ten frame mats is that children are learning number sense, how to read a number line, how to create the quantity, and we’ve differentiated these for both preschool and pre-k.
Valentine Counting Mats for Preschool and Pre-K
These super sweet and fun ten frames are a free Valentine’s Day printable we are offering to all of our amazing subscribers. Not to mention all the other goodies you will love seeing pop up in your inbox!
Your freebie will have two sets of heart counting mats. The first set is for children who are just learning to count. The hearts will already be in the ten frame with the correct number.
First, show the child how to count to that number by slowly touching each heart. Then, have the child do it after you so that you can assess any areas that they might need help with, whether it’s counting or following their finger. Or just going too quickly.
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The Magic of Ten Frames for Preschool Counting
Learning to count may seem like an easy skill, but that’s not necessarily true! There are actually 9 developmental stages of math learning that children go through before they ever get to subitizing! Subitizing is a fancy word for being able to look at a number and automatically recognize that number, without needing to count (when we see 5 on a domino, we know that it is five without counting).
Subitizing, one-to-one correspondence, and cardinality can all be easily taught with ten frames. It’s also great to teach with dominoes and dice. Young children need lots of repetition and practice and these ten frame counting mats do just the trick!
When children use ten frames to count, they can learn that an entire ten frame has ten and half of that has five. Then, you can expand it to two ten frames to help them learn to count to 20.
This is a process that can take months (or quicker if they catch on to math really easily), so give it time and be patient. But once it sinks in, that child will be able to use this foundational math knowledge for the rest of their lives.
That’s actually one of my favorite parts about teaching preschoolers. We are teaching them life lessons in these early years. And as someone who has older children myself, I can see what happens when we really help children understand these important math skills and how it sets them up for success later on.
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Using Manipulatives with Valentine’s Day Counting Mats
In the build-it section, use any type of math manipulative for this. It could be conversation heart candies, heart erasers, LEGO Duplos/bricks, links, snap cubes, counting bears, etc. Whatever you have on hand or anything that your little learner loves will do just fine! Have the child build vertically or horizontally to create that number. Feel free to let them use sets or to make patterns. Whatever makes their heart happy to learn about math.
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There is also a number line on the ten frame counting mat where the correct number will be marked. This is a great way to reinforce that this number has significance. It’s not just a number we’re talking about. It has a special spot on the number line, and there is a value assigned to it.
On the “Make it or Write it” section, this is a great way to make the number with dice or dominoes. If your little learner already loves writing numbers, feel free to have him or her write it in. If the child needs extra support in handwriting, I would probably hold off on this. We want to focus on number sense, not handwriting. It’s important not to introduce too many skills at once because that can quickly overwhelm or frustrate a child. I’ll be making some number cards to work on handwriting soon so that you can focus on that, too!
Related: Conversation Hearts Pre-Writing Practice
The Pre-K version of these Valentine counting mats is slightly harder. If a child breezes through the first set, which I’ll call the preschool counting mats, then they’re ready for this next set. This is really more about skills and less about age though.
The ten frames are left open for your student or child to fill in with any manipulative that you have around. These are perfect for mini erasers, gems, pom poms, and the like. I personally love something that I can grab real fast that’s already in the classroom or house.
*Don’t forget to have your little learner slide those manipulatives off the ten frame(s) and into the build it/make it section. This helps to build conservation of number – understanding that there is no need to recount the manipulatives because that number stayed the same since I did not add more or less to the amount.
Related: Valentine Hearts Number Recognition Activity
The second set of ten frame counting mats are also more advanced on the number line. Have your little learner circle the correct number. I make these into a dry erase surface by laminating them or putting them in a dry erase pocket.
And there you have it — math made fun!
Done-For-You Valentine’s Day Resources
Spend less time lesson planning with done-for-you lesson plans and unit studies! Click on the image below to learn more about each lesson plan. These pair perfectly with our Valentine’s Day Counting Mats!
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