Heart Hopscotch – Lessons From a Botched Valentine’s Day Activity

Yesterday, as I was thinking about a few more Valentine’s Day activities to do with my two-year-old, I ran across a Facebook post in which another super mom created an adorable Valentine’s hopscotch game for her kids – teaching them about numbers and shapes all while having fun. It looked simple, doable, cute and educational.

Ever-idealistic, I put on my super-mom crown and decided that our Valentine’s week wouldn’t be complete without a game of Heart Hopscotch.

Heart Hopscotch only requires a few key items:
–colored cardstock
–painter’s tape
–plastic container lids

The goal is to get kids hopping, counting, and identifying numbers and names of numbers while having fun.

“How hard could it be?” I think.  It’s a nice day outside and we need to get some exercise.

I take thirty-minutes pushing through the piles in our loaded-up-to-the-ceiling craft closet, working hard to complete the simple mission of finding colored paper and markers, already giving up on the idea of using painters tape. Plastic container lids? Check last week’s lunchbox.

After my two-year-old daughter starts a whine-fest, complaining I’m not paying enough attention to her. I pry myself away from the craft closet and look across the room at a grumpy-faced Madelyn, only to realize seconds later that her 11-month-old brother is nowhere to be found.

Rushing outside, two-year old in arms, I find my son sitting at the end of the driveway, inches from the street, happily munching on a red crayon.

After plopping Logan on a pushcart and steering him back in the right direction, I find myself even more determined to complete my “fun and educational” Valentine’s activity. “We WILL play Heart Hopscotch today!” I channel my inner-zen and get back to business.

I cut the construction paper into heart shapes as instructed, organize the pieces into a hopscotch-ready design, write numbers down on the correct hearts, all while ignoring Madelyn behind me, screaming at the top of her lungs because she’s getting tired and doesn’t understand the game.

Hoping to distract her from her tears, I decide to encourage her “leadership” skills, and I ask her to orchestrate the hopscotch game as she sees fit. We’ve done this before.

She takes the bait.  We’re off! I’m patting myself on the back. Mom for the win. Wait, where’s Logan. Darn it…wait…oh yay! He’s still engaged with his crayon. I’m saved.

M is now reordering the pieces of paper. We’re making progress. I start hopping with her. Yes. It’s working! We hop around and count the numbers, then I give her a chance to reorganize the pieces. We laugh. Both kids run around and wear themselves out just before dinnertime.

The activity wasn’t as perfect as the other mom’s post suggested, and I wore myself out trying to execute to perfection, but I’m checking it off my Valentine’s Day bucket list with a smile. It’s the journey, not the destination, right? No one was hurt, my kiddos participated, and I got to jump around with them while talking about numbers and Valentine’s Day.