This candy heart activity is on the calendar around Valentine’s Day every year. Kids love smashing and smooshing the hearts, and it’s an absolute blast!
The first time we tried this candy heart activity, we knew we’d do it EVERY year
We set out giant trays of candy hearts and the mortar and pestle (also known as molcajetes). The kids knew the mortar and pestles were for smashing things, and then they realized they were going to smash candy hearts, and their eyes swelled to the size of balloons.
“DO WE GET TO SMASH CANDY?” they asked in excited shrieks.
The squeals and giggles of excitement echoed through our city and state (ha!) and it has been pure love ever since.
Related: Our giant 10-foot Valentine’s Day coloring banner is another favorite Valentine’s Day activity!
This candy heart activity is a smash!
We acquired this massive amount of candy hearts from our preschool families by asking each family to send in one bag of candy hearts. This is a fun strategy if you are a teacher and can ask families to contribute supplies.
However, if you cannot collect bags of candy from families, candy hearts are usually easy to find at Dollar Tree, so this can still be done inexpensively.
K, let’s get down to business. Candy hearts + a mortar and pestle = the best, best, best Valentine’s Day fine motor activity to ever exist.
Looking for more candy heart activities? Give these a try!
- Candy Heart Graphing – The Kindergarten Connection
- Valentine’s Candy Hearts Science Activity – Curriculum Castle
- Valentine Bingo – Say Not Sweet Anne
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- Candy hearts
- Mortar and pestle (ours is from Costco many years ago, but the one linked here looks very similar as it has shallow sides which are perfect for kids)
Directions and establishing rules
I am smiling just typing this because this activity is just so, so fun.
Before letting them loose, I always model how to do this activity with a single candy heart. I put one candy heart in the base, smash it until it’s in tiny, dusty pieces, and then grab the next candy.
After modeling, we establish and reinforce the rules:
- Only add one candy heart at a time into the mortar and pestle.
- Before adding another candy heart, the first one must be crushed entirely.
- No handfuls of candy can be added at a time.
Trust me, if you don’t establish the rules above, they’ll fly through the candies in mere seconds.
How long do candy hearts last?
Because we had so many candy hearts every year, sometimes we didn’t quite use them all up.
If we had a bag or two left over (which wasn’t typical because we used them in MANY activities), we would put them in the freezer and store them until the following year.
Always double-check the expiration dates on the packages, but because we weren’t eating these and stored them in the freezer, they were always as good as new the following year!
What do you do with the crushed-up candy dust?
Sometimes we would toss it, and other times we would add it to different activities.
- Play dough: add the broken pieces into play dough for colorful, sweet-smelling fun.
- Paint: invite your kids to sprinkle their candy heart dust on a painting, and when the paint dries, the candy will dry in it.
- Potions: set out your broken candy dust with shaving cream potions for extra lovely play.
We do this with our preschoolers ages 2.5-6! Make sure to supervise at all times.
Sometimes we invite the kids to eat 1 or 2 just to take the temptation away. Other than that, we always have clear, consistent boundaries and it’s never an issue.
Not at all! We have used name-brand and off-brand candy hearts and they all smash and smoosh just the same.
You have to try this candy heart activity!
Once you start, you’re immediately going to begin oohing and ahhing and you’ll quickly understand why this activity is on repeat year after year.
We can’t wait to hear what you think about it, too!