Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to Make Paint

I remember sitting in my art education class in college, and thinking "when am I ever really going to use this stuff in my classroom." I felt like the art techniques were too advanced for Elementary aged kids and the essays we were supposed to write were just too intense for a "non-art" major in my opinion. Lo and behold, I have found myself using a few tips and such from the class for not only my students when I was teaching, but for my son as well.

One tip she gave us was how to make egg-yoke paint. It is super easy and fast and not to mention CHEAP. All great things for a busy stay at home mom. And when do you not have an extra egg in the house??

So here are the easy peasy instructions:

Egg Yolk Paint

  • Break an egg over a bowl and separate your egg yolk from your egg white. You will need separate egg yolks for each color.

  • Transfer your egg yolk to your plastic cup.

  • Pour 1/4 cup of water into your cup. Mix your egg yolk and water mixture.

  • Add a few drops of the food coloring of your choice a little at a time to your egg and water mixture. Add more food coloring until you have your desired color.

  • And that's it! This is a type of Tempera Paint. Tempera paint is a great paint to use with children because it dries so quickly making it easy to transfer and layer paint upon paint upon paint. Not to mention, it cleans up super easy!

    If you haven't checked it out already and you need a fun activity to do with Tempera paint powder, go here.

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Fun Outside

    Being outside is always fun and I feel that children NEED to be outside at least a few times a day. So here is a fun activity for ANY age. I am thinking I'm going to try it with my toddler soon. I know he will have a blast! {and probably get real messy :)}

    Materials: Paper, any size you can find; tempera paint powder (sold in places like Walmart in the craft/school supply section), bubbles and a bubble wand

    After securing your paper to the ground outside, scatter tempera powder all over (more colors the better!). Next give your child some bubbles and let him blow them right onto the powder. They must get low to the ground and aim their bubbles to hit the powder. As the bubbles land on the powder, it magically turns to paint and begins to make crazy designs as the bubbles pop all over the place! It creates a really fun painting!

    When I do this with my toddler, I'M going to blow the bubbles and let him pop them as they land on the paper. I am also going to let him get real messy by bringing a bucket of water out and letting him use a paint brush to "paint". He might also use his hands too. ;)

    This was the perfect activity for my first graders at the end of the school year when we all needed a break.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Great Learning Tool

    I usually don't like to promote something that might cost some mula, however I saw this awesome learning tool at the library with my son the other day and I fell in love. I am thinking of investing in some myself. Of course my one year old might need to gain a little more advanced fine motor skills before he will use and enjoy them. But that will come soon enough!
    {Magnetic Learning Numbers and Letters at Lakeshore}
    As you can tell in the picture, you use the magnetic stick to trace or write the number with the magnetic ball inside. This is a great way for your beginner writers to practice writing their numbers AND letters. This product is also sold with letters too! My son was already interested in holding the stick and trying to make the ball move. I imagine in just a year or so he will be ready to use it the right way. I love finding different ways to introduce a new topic or to practice and this seems to be just the ticket.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    The Ten Frame

    Okay I know what you are thinking...what the heck is the big deal about the TEN FRAME any way?
    I didn't really realize the power it had until my last year teaching. I was sitting in a class that was to educate US teachers on the Singapore Method and Approach to Math, when all of the sudden the light clicked---that's right 24 years later I realized why it was so hard for ME to understand math...I had never grasped the POWER OF 10!!!

    It made so much sense. If a child can look at this frame and understand that:
    a) at a glance there are 7 counters
    b) that without counting each one individually he can tell you in a split second there are 3 missing
    c) if you add 3 more counters it would equal 10
    d) there are 5 on top and 2 on the bottom, that equals 7
    e) 7 + 3 = 10
    and so on. 

    If our brains can understand the root number 10, then as mathematics builds on itself we can begin to understand topics like: rounding numbers, MENTAL MATH (which is SO difficult for so many students)--they are able to visualize the ten frame, addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, grouping numbers, even and odd numbers, word problems and how to strategically represent numbers.

    This picture was taken off this site. I love this post and suggest you take a little time to read it! I'm telling you the power of the ten frame is BIG!

    Here is an AWESOME website to help your children become more familiar with using the ten frame. Click here to play this game.

    Click here to print off your very own TEN FRAME to use with your kiddos at home! (There are over 50 pages so be careful before you press print.)

    I am very aware that is only ONE tool to use to help your child understand number sense, but along with other tools this can provide a great resource to lean on when teaching your children the basics of math. 

    More on the Singapore Method SOON!

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Pass the Plate....

    A fun, easy and cheap game.
    This is a timed game where a group of children (or just you and your child) sit in a circle with a paper plate. Give them (or your child) an allotted time to write as many words as they can in a certain category as they pass the plate. Your child or the group of children can receive points for the amount of words they write. To make it fun, play a song and when it stops or when you pause it,  your child or the group will know they need to stop. I played this with my students and had them put their marker or pencil up in the air when the song stopped so I would know they weren't writing still. 

    Ideas for categories: 

    Word Families.....If you have a first or second grade child you know what they are. A word family is a group of words that all have something in common. An example of a word family is "ate" found in plate, skate, fate, slate, etc. All of these words have the ending "ate" thus making them a word family. If this is the family you're working on then write "ate" in the middle of the plate with large letters. To play the game your child will write one word that ends in "ate" somewhere on the plate, then he will pass it to you and it will be your turn. OR he will continue to write as many words as possible until you stop the music or say times up! Either way provides great vocabulary practice as well as spelling, reading and writing practice.

    Grammar: Write the word "noun" in the middle of the plate and have your child write words that are nouns: person, place, thing or an animal around the word. Of course this can be done with adjective, verb, pronoun, adverb and so on. 

    Math: Write "+2 for #'s 1-10" your child will then take all the numbers, 1 through 10, and add 2 to them. He will write his addition sentence like so: 1+2=3 another one would be 2+2=4 and 3+2=4...and so on. Of course you can do this with any math fact: -5 for #'s 10 through 20 OR X's 5 for # 1 through 5. Anything can work!

    I'm sure as you think about this game more and more ideas will pop into your mind that can individually help YOUR child with skills she's working on in school at home.

    Make it FUN. Give "skittle" points for correct answers or stickers to tell her she's done a great job. This will be a fun way to practice at home and make your child WANT TO LEARN. Just another trick to pull out of your bag! This handy game can be taken ANYWHERE, in the car, on vacation or to grandma's house. 

    Have fun with it!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Good Readers Think!

    Comprehension is a very important part of becoming a good reader. When you are reading with your child remind him to ask these questions will he's reading independently...and you can ask him these questions too!

    I wonder.....
    I predict.....
    It reminds me of....
    In my mind I see....
    It makes me feel.....
    I like the part about....
    In my opinion.....

    Easy enough, right? By asking your child these questions as well as teaching him to think about them as he reads, you are helping your child become the best reader he can be. As your child comprehends the text better, he will become a faster (more fluent) reader. He will also be more engaged in his story, allowing him to ENJOY what he's reading, thus increasing his LOVE of reading. 

    All really, really great reasons to help your child with comprehension!!

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    ~ Number Sense ~

    In order for any one to master MATH they must first master NUMBER SENSE.

    Number sense seems so basic, but really it is the core to which ALL mathematics is based. 

    So what is number sense exactly? 

    Number Sense

    A person's ability to use and understand numbers:

    · knowing their relative values,
    · how to use them to make judgments,
    · how to use them in flexible ways when adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing
    · how to develop useful strategies when counting, measuring or estimating.

    (taken from:

    In order to better help you teach your children this basic, but most important skill I have posted some ideas below. The most important element to this learning process is to HAVE FUN while doing it and make sure your child knows that they are learning MATH at the same time!

    1. Celebrate the Date!

    For example: Today's date is 2-15-2011. 

    Use these numbers in ALL different ways! Starting with the number 2. Write the number, create the number, count the number on your body (find everything on your body that you have 2 of), look for the number, eat the number, etc. Use ALL the 5 senses and be creative! Be careful not to cover too much material at once. Start with baby steps. Remember MASTERY is KEY! Maybe just focus on the day of the week or the month. Be sure and review what you have taught each day before going on to teaching a new number. 

    2. Use a TEN's FRAME!!!

    This is one of my favorite tools when teaching math! My 2nd graders had one in their desk and we used it ALL the time. It looks simple and it is. The POWER of the TEN's frame is something that I will refer to often when talking about teaching the basics of math. The POWER of TEN is something that is critical for our mathematical minds to understand. More on this topic later.

    1. It is easy to create a ten's frame. Using a piece of paper draw a rectangle and divide it into 10 squares, 5 on top and 5 on the bottom.

    2. Next give your child something fun to use as counters: cheerios, pennies, marbles. Then explain to your child that there are 10 squares on this paper. Count them together. 

    3. Place one cheerio in the first square and ask your child, "How many cheerios do you see on this paper?" (Depending on the ability level of your child you can proceed to ask more difficult questions about number sense.)

    4. Next bring to the table the written number on cards and explain that you are going to play a game. You will show your child the number card and have them represent that number on their Ten's Frame using their cheerios.

    Let your imagination run wild with this one. The ten's frame is the best! I will be showing 
    several other ideas using this awesome too!

    3. Number Sense Treasure Hunt

    This is a great game to play with kids! 

    1. Explain to your kids that it is time to go on a Number Treasure Hunt around the house, at the park, in the car, really wherever you are!

    2. The rules of the game include:
    - I will tell you a number and you must find something that represents that number.
    -For example if I say the number 4 and we are in the car then I want you to see if you can find something that is represents that number.  Like a STOP sign that has 4 letters in it, or the number 4 setting on the radio dial in the car, or 4 crackers on the back seat of the car. 
    - Encourage your children to think outside the box and make sure that they can explain their reason for choosing that object.

    3. It is important for your children to learn that numbers are EVERYWHERE they just have to recognize them. 

    Have fun teaching NUMBER SENSE!

    Please post any other ideas that you might have to teach your kids number sense at home or on the road!  

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    And the WINNER....

    of our Valentine's Day Giveaway

    goes to...

    Jordan and Shannon!!!

    (Please send us an e-mail with your mailing address so we can get these books out to you ASAP!)

    A HUGE thanks to all of our followers to spreading the word. Catch us next month for our March giveaway! 

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Valentine Dinner Conversation

    Day 13

    Only one more day left of our 14 Days of Love and Crafts series! This also means there is only one more day left to enter into the GIVEAWAY!! If you haven't entered yet, go to the right sidebar and click on GIVEAWAYS and enter!!

    What are you doing for Valentine's Day for your kiddos??

    We love quick and easy ideas that are fun and engaging and here's another one for you.

    Having a fun Valentine's Day dinner with the family? 

    Make your own conversation hearts! These conversation hearts can be made on festive paper cut into hearts, folded in half and placed in a jar or some sort of container. Make up fun questions and write them on the hearts. Your kids can help out with this too! Pass around the jar during dinner (or any other time during the day) and have each family member pull out a heart and read a question. You can then go around the table and have everyone answer the question. Don't be afraid to make up silly questions! We played this game in my classroom during our Community Circle. My students LOVED creating the hearts/questions and had even more fun answering them. Sometimes we found ourselves laughing and sometimes their answers just melted my heart. It's a fun way to bring conversation to the table, while enjoying each others company and celebrating V-Day.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Giveaway ends Monday!

    Don't forget to enter our GIVEAWAY!

    Go to the right hand column on this blog under Topics of Interest and click on **GIVEAWAYS** to enter.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Love Stories

    Day 11

    Here are 3 of my most favorite stories about LOVE. They are wonderful picture books that any child, any age will fall in love with.


    **Your Lovable to Me

    **Love, Splat

    **Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Valentine's Day Dinner MENU

    ~ Day 10 ~

    It's time to plan out the MENU for a festive Valentine Day Meal for the whole family to enjoy! (If you are going out on Monday, then you can do this on Saturday or Sunday night.)

    Here are some fun ideas that you and the kids can serve for dinner on Valentine's Day:


    Make your own pizza. The kids can choose the toppings and fix them up into little bowls so that they are easier to put on the pizza. Parents can shape the dough into a heart when it is ready for toppings. To get the entire family involved, each person can create a personal pizza for themselves with their favorite toppings. Add a salad and you have a perfect Valentine’s Day meal.

    ~ Valentine Soup ~
    8 oz. Can of sliced mushrooms
    1 can black olives sliced
    Pepperoni cut in small pieces
    4 Cups water
    Large jar of spaghetti sauce or homemade spaghetti sauce
    2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
    1 teaspoon parsley
    1 teaspoon basil
    In saucepan add all ingredients together. You can add or omit any ingredients as you would like. Simmer on medium 15-20 minutes until warm. Serve with garlic bread.

    Read more:

    ~ Heart Meatballs ~
    1 egg beaten
    ½ Cup Spaghetti sauce
    ¼ Cup bread crumbs, seasoned
    ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
    1 ½ lbs. Ground beef
    1½ Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. With your hands shape meat into a heart. These will be much bigger than average size meatballs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until done in the middle. (test with a meat thermometer)
    It is rather easy to shape these into a heart shape and they are great placed on a mound of spaghetti or eaten as it is with a dot of red ketchup on the top. One of the easiest and fun kids Valentine recipes.

    Read more:

    ~ Heart Salad ~
    Create a green tossed salad with whatever vegetables you'd like. Add some healthy Valentine hearts by cutting red peppers in half. Remove the seeds and cut out the core. With a small mini heart cookie cutter cut out hearts out of your red pepper halves. Toss into your salad. It is a lot of fun for those at dinner to find these red hearts.

    Read more:

    For drinks, to make it festive, you can serve Cranberry juice mixed with your favorite Lemon-lime soda! 

    And for DESSERT....
    who doesn't love pizza for the main course and for dessert? 

    This is especially FUN to make with kids!

    ~ Cookie Pizza ~
    sugar cookie dough or brownie mix
    2 Cups chocolate chips
    14 oz. Sweetened condensed milk
    2 Cups milk chocolate candies (M&M)
    2 Cups mini marshmallows
    ½ Cups peanuts
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Press cookie dough or brownie mix into pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. In saucepan, melt chocolate chips with condensed milk. Spread over crusts. Sprinkle with chocolate candies, marshmallows and peanuts. Bake 4 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly toasted.
    ~Shape your pizza dough into a heart shape.

    ~ Fruit Pizza ~

    sugar cookie dough
    white cream cheese frosting
    Sliced fruit, strawberries, kiwi, raspberries whatever you choose
    Spread cookie dough onto pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Then frost. Top with sliced fruit in whatever pattern you choose.
    ~Shape your pizza dough into a heart shape.

    Read more:

    Don't forget to teach as you go! Let the kids count the toppings on their pizza. They could group them by two's, three's, or five's. Have them measure the ingredients into the bowls prior to using them in the recipe. Lot's of math can be learned from your very own kitchen. It just takes a little bit more time and patience to teach take it!

    Happy EATING!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Gifts for Valentine's Day

    **Day 9**

    Homemade gifts are always the best. I LOVED getting them from my students and we always made them for their parents. Here are a few ideas that you can make with your children from 

    Heart Necklaces

    Heart Felt Scarf

    Conversation Heart Cookies

    Lace Matted Picture Frames

    After making these gifts, have your child create his own wrapping paper to make the gift even more special for a friend, parent, sibling, teacher or just some one they love.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Fun in the Kitchen

    **DAY 8**

    One of my favorite things to do with kids is COOK! There are so many fun ways to involve your kids in the kitchen. Today while watching a T.V. segment on KSL's Studio 5,  I saw some great ideas for some Valentine's Day goodies that you could bake with your kids. 

    "LOVE"ly Lollipops

    Courtesy of KSL Studio 5:

    Candy Canes*
    Lollipop Sticks (6 or 8-inch)
    Almond bark or vanilla candy melts/chips
    Wax paper
    Valentine sprinkles
    Lollipop bags and ties
    * You can use small or regular-size candy canes. Small are the easiest to get out of their wrappers. For the small, use 6-inch lollipop sticks. If you use regular candy canes, you'll need to break the bottom off each to make the heart shape. Use the 8-inch stick for them.
    Preheat your oven to 350° F.
    Place two candy canes in a heart shape on a greased cookie sheet (or one covered with a non-stick baking mat). Put a sucker stick in between the two candy canes so that it goes through the bottom point all the way to the top point of the heart. Start with 8 suckers per sheet so that you can shape them before they cool and re-harden.
    Put the cookie sheet in the oven and watch the candy canes closely. They will begin to bubble and melt in 3-5 minutes. When this occurs, remove them from the oven and pinch the ends of the candy canes together at the top and bottom of each sucker to form a heart. THE CANDY CANES WILL BE HOT, so do this carefully. (I used a butter knife to help shape them.) Let the candy canes cool completely. Transfer onto wax paper.
    Melt almond bark or candy melts in the microwave, following the directions on the package so that it doesn't burn. Pour some into the center of each sucker and use a spoon to smooth it in each heart. Add sprinkles before the center hardens. Let the bark harden and then package for your valentine.
    Fun Variation: Snip a couple inches off of each stick and place through the center of a frosted cupcake for a cute topper.

    Check out the other 2 ideas here: 
    Conversation Cupcakes
    Sweetheart Grahams


    I also love to look up fun recipes on these two fabulous websites: 

    Here is a yummy treat that would be SO fun to make with your kids for a Valentine Day gift for friends or neighbors. I am planning on making mine tomorrow! SO EASY and FUN!

    Oreo Truffles: Found on
    Oreo Cookie Truffles
    1 bag Oreo Cookies, ground in blender or food processor (filling and all)
    8 oz softened cream cheese
    1 package Almond Bark (white chocolate candy coating)
    1 square of the Chocolate Bark for drizzling
    1. Mix ground oreos and cream cheese until well combined. Roll into 1 inch balls and place onto baking sheet or tray. Refrigerate overnight or until very firm.
    2. Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Using 2 little spoons, dip balls into chocolate and place onto parchment paper to harden. Once dry, melt chocolate bark and spoon into the corner of a ziplock baggie. Snip a small corner and drizzle back and forth over the truffles. Let dry.
    3. I enjoyed mine chilled in the refrigerator, but may be room temperature as well! Enjoy! Thanks for the great recipe Bakerella!
    About 30 truffles each recipe
    Simple and Delicious!

    **Also only a few more days left to enter our FREE GIVEAWAY contest. Please click on GIVEAWAYS on the right side of this blog. 

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    **Day 7**

    Numbers and Hearts

    Number sense is one of the most difficult concepts to master. My biggest piece of advice for all you moms with little ones at home is to start young! Introduce your child to numbers at an early age through developmentally appropriate games/activities. Count often and show your child what numbers look like. Not just their shape (i.e. 9) but how many 9 is: ********* (9 stars). It is important you do this often, if not daily, to help your child gain a strong sense of numbers. This will greatly help him when he begins preschool and kindergarten.

    A fun way to practice number sense is by letting your child play hands-on games like the ones below.

    To make it fun and festive, you can buy these cute hearts from the dollar store (14 for a dollar!) and write the numbers 1 through 10 on each heart. Of course you can write less or more depending on what you think your child can handle.

    With these numbers there are countless ways to play games!

    You can give your child the hearts in a big pile (not in order) and have her lay them out on the floor in the correct order.

    OR....You can have your child help you lay out the numbers in order on the ground and then tell her (or show her) a number and have her "skip" or "hop" or "twirl" or "walk backwards" or...I think you get the picture, to that number. You can do this one over and over and over again!

    If you buy enough hearts and you can play a GIANT game of memory to match the correct numbers (i.e. 5 and 5) or addition/subtraction memory (turn over two numbers and have your child add or subtract them) for older children.

     OR....You can give your child one heart and have her "show" you what the number looks like using manipulatives.
    You can also have your child draw pictures on the hearts and then hang them with ribbon or yarn from the ceiling in her bedroom or in the living room for some cute decorations!

    Have fun playing with hearts!

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Love Mail

    Day 6

    Who doesn't LOVE to receive mail? Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to send those you love a sweet letter in the mail. Hand writing letters is a lost art. It is one of my favorite hobbies and has been since I was a little girl. Growing up I loved to write to my long list of pen-pals. Take this chance to sit down with your child/children and see what they know about writing a letter. 

    Beginner's Basic Letter Writing
    (Geared toward ages 7-9, but may be adapted to ages 3 and up)

    1. First begin by making a list of what your child already knows about letter writing. This is fun to hear what they know goes into creating a letter that you will mail. Ask questions like: "Who do you write letters to?" "What do you write in a letter?" "How do we mail letters?" etc. 

    2. Based on your child's background knowledge you may begin the process of writing a letter. 

    Dear _____________,
        (Indent--3 finger spaces.) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
                                   Love, ______________

    It's nice to provide your child with lines and some prompts to help them get started. You could always do what my 2nd graders referred to as a SLOPPY COPY first and then have them copy their letter on to a beautiful hand made card! Encourage your child to ask their reader questions and inform them of exciting things that are happening in their own life. 

    3. I say the more ART the better! Have your child draw pictures, borders, or color the letter to add personality. I always loved using stickers to decorate my letters when I was young.

    4. ADDRESSING the ENVELOPE! This is a very important part of the letter writing. Rather than having Mom or Dad do it, take the opportunity to teach your child how to address the envelope properly. Here is an example below.
    5. Have your child drop it in the mailbox! 

    Letter writing is a wonderful way to promote good hand writing since they are writing for someone else to read. It is empowering for young children to write for a purpose. I know that I LOVED getting my pen pals response letters in the mail and could hardly wait to write them back and answer their questions! 

    Have fun writing some LOVE MAIL this week to all those special Valentines!

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Heart-Shaped African Violets

    DAY 5

    I always loved when my first grade class and I planted flowers/plants together. It was a great hands-on learning experience. We always learned SO MUCH about plants. They also learned about responsibility, as they were in charge of keeping their plant alive (no I did not water them after school for them!). They learned about the parts of the plant and what a plant needs in order to stay alive. In addition they learned about the materials plants make in our world and how they keep us ALIVE. This activity was always a huge hit in Room 26.

    Here is a fun way to bring science into your home while celebrating Valentine's Day.

    All it takes to create African violets is a large healthy leaf, cut in half. To turn the leaf into a pretty gift, snip it into the shape of a heart. Using clean, sharp scissors, remove a leaf with 1 inch of stem from a plant, and shape the leaf (it was always fun to take a little field trip outside to find our leaves). Next, fill a small pot with fresh potting soil, and poke a hole in the soil with a pencil. Insert 3/4 inch of the stem, pack soil firmly around it, and water well. No sun needed!

    (While rooting, the leaf should be covered with a glass jar or a plastic bag and removed from bright light to keep it moist.) 

    A new "plantlet" should emerge in 6 to 8 weeks.

    I love how these plants have little tags on them to indicate who's plant is who's. You could also add a little tag to it and give it away as a gift. Your child/children will absolutely love this activity and especially the responsibility that comes with it.

    Happy Planting!

    P.S. If you haven't already entered our first GIVEAWAY, you can find that post on the side bar of this blog under "Topics of Interest" or you can click HERE.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Friday Night = Game Night

    ~Day 4~
    Valentine Themed Game Night

    Friday night is the perfect night for a family game night! So today after school gets out have your kids help you make BINGO or "HEART" cards for tonight's game night:) 

    This website is the BEST! You can make your very own themed bingo cards FOR FREE!
    check it out: 

    The best part is that you can choose what you want your children to learn as you create your very own Bingo cards. The site will walk you step by step through creating your very own custom bingo cards. Here is the one that I created in a matter of minutes:


    I created mine to practice Letter Recognition. 

    This is a great way to get the whole family involved in the process of learning and having fun together! 

    To go along with "HEART" bingo cards you can use Valentine Day M&M's as your markers. The first to get a bingo or "heart" gets to pick a prize from a sack of Valentine goodies that you might purchase from the Dollar Store! 

    Happy HEART night!