Valentine Story Math Freebie

Even though it has become quite a Hallmark holiday, Valentine's Day is such a cute day for kids. It is all about sharing love and kindness.

It's sweet. 

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we want to share some love and kindness with you.

We have a CGI Math Freebie for you: Valentine's Day Story Math

Valentine Story Math

Weekly Targeted Skill: Addition Problem Solving

This Valentine-themed Story Math problem is an addition story problem. It's great because numbers can be switched out to fit your child's level. Choose larger numbers for more of a challenge and smaller numbers for more scaffolded support.


This problem type is called a Join: Change Unknown.

That means that two numbers are joined together. However change unknown means the result is given and the starting number is given, but the number joined with it is unknown. 

For example, in this story, Brewer makes 3 Valentine Cards on Wednesday, on Thursday he makes "some" more, and we know he as 8 Valentine Cards when he's done. The change (how many he made on Thursday) is the unknown.

3 + ___ = 8

It's funny because when I was growing up, I was taught to treat this type of math problem as a subtraction problem. I was taught to take the total and subtract the starting number. 

Valentine's Day Activity

However, this is actually an addition problem, not a subtraction problem, and kids usually solve it this way. Kids will often start at three and count up to get to eight. You don't even need to show them, kids naturally figure out this strategy on their own. 

The first step is to give your child counters to work with. Usually, kids will put out three counters and then count up until they get to eight counters. Then they count the counters they added.


The Extension:

Once kids solve for how many Valentine's cards Brewer made on Thursday, there is an extension question. It asks how many more cards Brewer made on Thursday than on Wednesday. Kids must compare to find this extension answer.

Valentine's Day CGI math

Tips for doing story math with your child:

  1. Read the story to your child and have them visualize what the story is about (it helps if you act it out)
  2. Give your child something tangible to count with (Cheerios, pennies, unifix cubes, etc.)
  3. What is the story about? Have your child explain to you what the story is about. Make sure they have an idea about how to get started.
  4. After your child solves the problem, encourage him to draw a picture or at least explain how he solved it.
  5. Do NOT teach your child how to solve this with a "traditional algorithm," i.e. don't teach him how to stack the numbers and add them. Story math is about children solving the problem on their own.


Valentine Kindergarten math


Want to grab some other freebies while you're here? Check activities out for Kindergartners and first graders!

Story Math 

Christmas Story Math 

Snowball Story Math 

Secret Message Puzzles (decode with math)

Valentine Secret Message Puzzle 

Super Bowl Secret Message Puzzle 


Learning Escape Room Game Kits for kids:

Check out our educational escape room games and our lockbox game kit! Kids love the thrill of solving math, reading, and logic puzzles to get codes to unlock a final treasure. Make learning an exciting adventure! 

Escape boredom. Unlock learning.

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