One-to-one correspondence is an important foundational maths skill. Here are some ideas I have used with my older babies, toddlers and into preschool years.
What is it?
- Saying one number to one object as you count (therefore the “one to one” correspondence.)
- Children often begin learning to count by saying numbers out loud while pointing or touching objects, without those numbers actually matching up with the objects being counted.
- Children also count the same object more than once or skip objects entirely.
- One to one correspondence activities should be self-correcting; there are exactly the correct number of objects for the receptacle. Any left over or running out before all the spaces are filled signals to the child that there has been an error.
- Start with large, non-slippery objects that fit easily into a scoop or are transferred by hand and move on to activities that require greater fine motor control.
- Even older babies can experiment with one-to-one correspondence. Babies love to put things in containers and tip them out again. A freezer popsicle tray is fabulously enthralling for a child at this stage. They work especially well if no more than one object can fit in each segment, but this is not essential.
- Keep interest by changing the way objects are transferred; by hand, with spoons, scoops, tongs then tweezers.
- Change the material to be transferred; stones, pompoms, pegs, jewels, plastic animals or anything else you can think of. Keep in mind the age of the child and be wary of choking hazards.
- Change the receptacle used; bowls, baskets, tins, containers, iceblock trays, egg cartons, jars or any other container with a definite number of depressions.
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