Looking for some simple ways to help your preschooler master counting and one to one correspondence? You’re in the right place!
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We’re almost at the end of our Getting Ready for Kindergarten series! Let’s talk math – specifically, counting.
Sometimes we confuse counting by rote with one-to-one correspondence.
What’s the difference?
Let me give you an example.
My two-year-old loves to count, and we often hear her counting all the way to 12 – not because I’ve taught her (I haven’t!), but because she’s a little copycat. She has four older siblings and has heard them count so many times that she has the sequence memorized.
But if you give her a set of five objects, she will point to them and say, in her little sing-song voice, “one, two, fwee, foh, five, six, seven, eight!” Or, depending on the moment, “one, two, fwee, foh!” She knows how to recite her numbers. But, developmentally, she’s not ready to count sets of objects larger than two.
She counts by rote. She doesn’t use one-to-one correspondence.
5 Ways to teach one-to-one correspondence – before kindergarten
Around age three, many children are able to count small groups of objects accurately. But if your child isn’t – no worries! Try these five simple activities.
- Count a lot. Make a counting game out of everyday activities whenever you think of it. Count the chairs as you set the table, the blocks as you build a tower, the books as you read aloud, and the train cars as you chug along the track. Preschoolers love to count!
- Count objects in a line. Toddlers and young preschoolers are easily confused when you ask them count a jumble of objects in a pile; they often count objects twice. Begin simply by putting a small number of objects in a line and asking your child to count them. Begin with just two or three objects; when your child consistently gets that number correct, add more.
- Move the same objects around, and count again. Take the objects out of a line and scatter them. Have your child count them. Then push them together in a very tight line. Ask your child to count once more. Eventually your child will understand that rearranging a group of objects does not change their total number.
- Count motions. Have your child count as you clap or hop. If this is difficult, have your child set out one counter for each movement. He can count the counters after you are finished. Poker chips work great for this!
- Match objects to dots. Print these free dot cards from Prekinders. Then have your count aloud as he places a manipulative (like these fun teddy bear counters) on each dot.
Our printable number book is another fun way to match objects to dots. You can get it here.
Here’s one more fun freebie for teaching one-to-one correspondence! Get our fish bubble mats here.
We hope you enjoy these simple ways to practice counting!
And don’t forget to check out the rest of our Get Ready for Kindergarten series…
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