Making patterns is an important math concept for kids to know – and what better way to learn them than through conversation heart patterns!?
When I told my 5 year-old, A, that she would be making patterns using classic Valentine’s conversation hearts, she couldn’t wait to get started. A loved sorting the different colored hearts, figuring out the patterns, and gluing down the candies. I loved the super easy prep and that my daughter was joyfully practicing a concept that is so central to understanding mathematics.
To prepare for this activity, I simply grabbed a piece of cardstock and drew several hearts on it. For each heart, I created a different pattern for A to complete by gluing on a few repetitions of the pattern.
I chose to have A glue the hearts down because she loves to glue and having her squeeze the thick craft glue strengthens her hands for writing. In less than 5 minutes, we were ready to make conversation heart patterns!
Conversation Heart Patterns
(To turn this into a simple busy bag activity, simply draw a heart on a piece of cardstock, cut the cardstock to fit in a plastic bag and toss in a box of conversation hearts. You can start the patterns without gluing the hearts down. Then, after your child completes a pattern, you can easily remove the hearts and begin another.)
A has been creating patterns for years now so she easily completed this activity within minutes – with the exception of my tricky ABCAC, ABCAC pattern. When I noticed she wasn’t sure what the pattern was, I had her slow down and point to each color while naming the color out loud. Once she heard the repetition out loud, she then was able to complete the rest of the conversation heart pattern.
When A was done, I reminded her that each pattern can be represented by a letter pattern. Using the simplest pattern, the pink-green-pink-green pattern, I showed her this can be called an ABAB pattern.
I chose a few of the simpler patterns and had A tell how we could name the pattern using letters. This provided her with a little extra challenge, but A was motivated knowing she would soon be eating all the leftover candies. There’s really no sweeter way to practice patterning!