Sweet Girl really wanted me to buy some conversation hearts when we were at the Dollar Store last week.  So, I did, but not so much for eating, but for counting and crafting. :)

One day while Love Bug napped, I got out a "Let's Count" sheet for Sweet Girl to do.  I opened a box of conversation hearts and sat by Sweet Girl while she put the correct number pieces of candy in each heart.  This is great for practicing one-to-one counting.  When she was done, she wanted to know how many she had altogether, so we counted all of them.  Counting 1-5 is easy for Sweet Girl, so I am going to make "Let's Count" manila folders.  On the inside of the first folder there will be hearts numbered 1-5 and the other side will have 6-10.  Another folder will have 11-15 and 16-20.  This way we don't have to worry about four sheets of paper floating around.  Also, I made sure that there are just the right amount of conversation hearts in the container for this activity.  This way if Sweet Girl comes up "short" on candies, she will know that she miscounted somewhere.  I did let her have a few after counting with them the first time. :)

Take it further:  Separate the candies by colors or match ones with the same phrases.  Do "I Spy" certain letters or phrases on the candies.  See who can make the tallest stack of candies before they fall over.

Sweet Girl even decorated the page with some heart stickers.
She loved counting with the candy!
Sweet Girl loved the counting so much, she wanted to do it again after Love Bug woke up.  I wasn't going to give any conversation hearts to Love Bug (choking hazard), so I gave her the laminated doilies I'd been using with Sweet Girl.  Love Bug loved rubbing, feeling, stacking and holding the doilies so much, she wasn't even interested in what Sweet Girl was doing.  I counted the doilies with Love Bug and talked about the shape and color of each.  It was nice to see both of the girls so engaged in their own activity.

This counting activity could be done for any holiday.  Other shapes could be shamrocks with green M&Ms, eggs or nests with candy eggs, sunshines with yellow M&Ms, Christmas trees with any type of Christmas candy, the possibilities are endless!  Mini marshmallows, beads and foam shapes would be great counters, too.  If you want to do this with younger children, be sure to use large counters (they do not have to be edible).  You could even put painter's tape on the floor into shapes with tape numbers so you have a larger space to count.  The older children would have fun with this, too!

For some fun and interesting facts on conversation hearts check out this link.
Love Bug had stacked up the doilies to give them to me.

**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  

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