Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to give your kids a fun and engaging math activity. There are a number of themed activities and math worksheets available through a quick Internet search. Here's how you can use these resources to give the kids a math lesson that they'll enjoy. You can create a number of other fun activities to bring out the inner_mathematician in a child. For example, if you want to teach kids about the basic ideas of volume and surface area, then Valentine's Day could really lend a hand. Fill three glass jars that differ in size with some heart_shaped candy. Ask the kids to estimate how many sweet treats they think each jar contains. The candy could also help children practice their ability to make tallies, data charts and graphs. Using heart_shaped candy of different colors, ask your child to tally how many of each color there are. You could even use one of the themed math worksheets to help. Once they have created a total for each color, ask your child to compile the totals into a bar chart. If you are feeling kind, then the candy can become a generous reward for the hard work that they've done.
No matter what materials you choose, it is most important that you supervise your child constantly so that mistakes get caught rather than practiced. I learned this particular lesson the hard way. When my daughter was young, she did something that needed "attention." I no longer remember what it was that she did, but I told her to write the sentence "I will not disobey my parents again" 50 times. I should have known better, but I didn't check on her at the beginning and then I got busy. So, sometime later, she brought me 50 sentences of "I will not disobey my parents agen." She had just practiced misspelling "again" as "agen" __ 50 times! I'm not certain that we ever really got that fixed. This issue of NOT practicing mistakes is extremely important. Parents shouldn't give worksheets as busy work and teachers should only use them if you are going to have a non_math teacher substitute. White boards with supervision are always a better way to practice skills. If you need some time to do chores, your child will get much more benefit by helping you with the chores. And maybe you can work in a little discussion of numbers or counting while you do chores together.