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Does your young child have 1 to 1 correspondence? If they don't, they may count objects too fast and accidentally skip over items or count the same one twice.

The 1 to 1 correspondence definition is counting one number for every object counted. Simple put, it's counting accurately.

One to one correspondence develops for numbers under 5 in the preschool years and by the end of kindergarten, kids are expected to accurately count up to 20 objects.

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why kids need 1 to 1 corresopndence

Make your own 1 to 1 correspondence board game in 1 min!

What you'll need:

  1. Magna-tiles -these are the best kids toy I've ever laid eyes on. My kids can play and build with them for hours, which I cannot say about any other toy. If you don't have Magna-tiles, you can always draw a board to play on. But really, I wish I hadn't waited to so long to get them because they're magical.

2. Dry Erase Foam Dice- These dry erase dice allow me to put what I want to on each side. For my 2 year old who only knows numbers up till 3, I wanted to reinforce those numbers only. This would also make it easier for her to count with one to one correspondence. On each side, I wrote 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, and 3. You can personalize it however you want! We even use them to add an element of surprise to chores and so many other ways.

3. Two toys of the kids' choosing, could be anything!

Create the board together

Making the board game together will be a great opportunity for practicing 1 to 1 correspondence.

We chose to have two separate tracks, but really you can make a board that all players use!

When making two seperate tracks, it was important that both players had the same number of Magna-tiles, or the game wouldn't be fair. This led us to deciding a certain number and counting that many squares together.

For counting larger numbers, it is important that children move each piece as they count one more in order to keep track.

DIY board game practiing 1 to 1 correspondence

Play and teach 1 to 1 correspondence:

  1. Each player puts their character on the first square of the game board.
  2. The first player rolls the foam die and reads the number. (If your child is struggling to remember a certain number, this is a great opportunity to practice it, since they'll have lots of exposure to it over the course of each game).
  3. Player moves their character forward that many steps.
  4. Remind your child to count slowly as they move their character forward one square for every number counted.
counting for preschoolers 1 to 1 correspondence activity

Lil Sis (2.5 years) doesn't yet have 1 to 1 correspondence so I tried these methods to help her better understand:

From beginning to end, she did begin counting with greater accuracy, and as we played again and again, she understood much more.

How This Method Teaches 1 to 1 Correspondence:

Kids make a lot of mistakes while rote counting, meaning they're just saying the sequence of numbers they've memorized. In a game, the numbers translate to movements on the board.

By actually having to move each piece only that amount, kids are more focused on counting slowly, leading to greater accuracy.

When kids are counting groups of objects by sight or just by pointing to each item (this happens often in number books when there are no actual manipulatives to move) they more easily lose track of the number of objects.

Giving children manipulatives (actual objects) and asking them to physically pick up and move each item will develop the 1 to 1 correspondence concept that every number said stands for one more item.

To sum it up, help your child develop 1 to 1 correspondence by making sure:

An excellent 1 to 1 correspondence activity that makes sure to do all these things is Dot Sticker Phone Numbers.

Phone Number one to one correspondence

Leave a comment below to let me know how you practice 1 to 1 correspondence with your child!

For the 100th day of our Covid-19 quarantine kindergarten, my kids and I created counting collections of 100 items.

As part of kindergarten standard K.CC.A.1 in the US kids must count to 100 by ones and tens. The 100th day of school is the perfect time to practice counting to 100 and to create student led counting collections that expand kids number sense and challenge them to count higher than they have before!

counting collections to 100

What Are Counting Collections?

A counting collection is any number of objects that you count out and put together. It can be a collection of a specific kind of object, or it can be different sets of objects.

You can start with a number in mind, like we did with counting to 100, or you can work towards discovering how many of an object you have.

In order to be successful completing a counting collection, kids will have to keep track of what they counted and count orally with one to one correspondence.

Kids of any age can participate in counting collections, as there is no specific end number. Create a collection of 20, 50, 100, or more!

Our 100th day of Kindergarten Counting Collections:

One hundred is a BIG number so for a counting collection to work, children must have a way of keeping track of what they have counted. This could be through providing a pen and paper or creating a system to separated counted from uncounted objects.

Though kids usually come up with their own systems, we used a ten frame because it was my oldest child's first time counting to 100, and a ten frame is a great way to show ten groups of 10! It's also an easy way to check your work without having to start all the way at the beginning.

How we counted to 100 using a ten frame:

  1. First we made a giant ten frame out of blue painters tape. Then we counted the 10 boxes in the ten frame...that's why it's called a ten frame, after all!
  2. Next I explained that 100 is a big number but we were going to break it into groups so that we can keep track as we count. 100 is ten groups of 10! If we make ten groups of 10, we will have 100 objects. What items should we use for our first group of 10?
  3. My kids put 10 items in each square.
  4. As they complete each group of ten, together count by tens to measure progress. Only 5 groups done? Count to 50 by tens.
  5. Once they have 10 groups of 10, celebrate by counting to one hundred! You can count all the objects by ones or tens.
100th day of school counting collection activity

How we counted to one hundred using a 100's mat:

  1. For this second activity, I printed out a snacktivity mat that had ten circles drawn on it. It's easy to make your own.
  2. Next I got out a bowl of Cheerios and shared with my kids that we would be counting 100 Cheerios.
  3. I asked them to problem solve how we would keep track, reminding my eldest that we used a ten frame the previous day.
  4. She remembered that 100 is ten groups of 10 and suggested putting 10 Cheerios in each circle.
  5. As the kids worked on their counting collections of Cheerios, they checked their work by counting each group once it was completed, "10, 20, 30, 40..."
  6. Once they filled the 10 circles, they had completed their counting collections of 100 Cheerios!
count to 100, counting collection of cheerios

Some guiding questions while counting to 100:

Why are counting collections important?

Counting collections are more than just counting orally as high as you can. Rather they are opportunities to develop number sense- the understanding of how numbers relate to one another.

For example, Big Sis sometimes put more than 10 objects in the ten frame. I would point it out and she would have to count backwards or sometimes remove objects and recount the whole group. When should couldn't find enough of a certain object, we would ask ourselves, "Hmmm, how many more do we need to get to ten in that box?"

Not only was she counting, she was relating numbers to one another, problem solving, and doing addition and subtraction.

Also, not much time is spent in younger years counting to large numbers. Spending time counting to higher numbers helps kids to conceptualize what quantities look like. So often, those large numbers seem unfathomable to children. 100 seems like such a HUMONGOUS number to preschoolers and kindergartners, but doing a counting collection in a ten frame breaks it down into smaller groups.

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When introducing the concept of measurement to children, we always start with non standard measurement.

At the ages of 4-6, children understand the concept of short, long, taller, etc but they usually have no understanding of centimeters and inches, making those standard units of measurements too abstract for them.

So in preschool and kindergarten we introduce units of measurement that kids can really wrap their minds around. Usually those are regular household objects and toys.

Measuring is a practical skill that kids use when pouring water, comparing who had more cookies, determining who is taller, etc. In this activity kids delve in deeper to understand measurement of length and height with non standard units!

5 non standard measurement activities for kids

What's the difference between standard measurement and non standard measurement?

Though measuring length is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of measurement, there are actually multiple types of things we measure. Here are some of the standard units we use for these measurements:

Adults are used to pulling out a ruler, measuring cup, or using a scale to measure things. Usually we can visualize something close to a foot or a cup, if we needed to estimate. But children do not have that awareness yet, so instead teach them to measure with non-standard measurement unit.

These non-standard units can be anything but are best when the child selects them and are of high interest: shoes, lego pieces, stickers, race cars, etc. The one thing that they MUST be is uniform in size.

A child cannot measure their height in legos and markers! Instead one unit needs to be used at a time and lined up end to end, just as we would do when measuring with a ruler.

When do children begin to use standard measurement tools like rulers?

In the United States, the common core standards introduce standard measurement in second grade.

Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.

Before then, kids are expected to understand the concepts of measuring objects without using standard measurement tools, like in this first grade standard:

Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end.

5 Ridiculously Fun Non Standard Measurement Activities for kids

In each of these activities, kids use objects instead of rulers to measure length. There are a few rules for measuring precisely that kids should follow when lining up their nonstandard units:

1. Measuring Me in Household Objects

Measuring Me in non standard measurement units

To play "Measuring Me," you'll need blue tape and access to items around the home that are (mostly) uniform in length. Some ideas are shoes, blocks, markers, crayons, envelopes, etc.

  1. Have your child lie down and mark their height with a length of blue tape.
  2. Ask them to pick out one type of object of uniform size to use as their non standard unit of measurement: their shoes, markers, race cars, envelopes, crayons, etc.
  3. Have them line up the items one by one along their length of blue tape. It's important that they practice placing objects end to end without gaps to get an accurate measurement.
  4. As they reach the end of lining up the objects, have them count the total number. They are that many markers or race cars tall!
  5. Try again with different objects, and make predictions on whether or not it'll take more or less of that new unit of measurement to span the blue tape.

While you have the blue tape out, check out TAPE SHAPES!

2. Snacktivity- Measuring My Foot and Hand

The non standard measurement unit for this activity is my favorite... snacks!

You can choose anything that is uniform in size, and I recommend items that are easy to line up end to end like pretzel sticks. Of course, a classic and fun snack to use is goldfish.

  1. Trace your child's hand and foot on a piece of paper, and determine which one is longer.
  2. Provide your child multiple types of snacks to measure their hand and foot with. Optional: draw a straight line from the top of their foot/hand outlines down to the bottom for more accurate measuring.
  3. Line up those snacks and start measuring. How many goldfish long is your foot? Your hand?
Hands measured in pretzel units

There may be opportunities to talk about halves or beginnings of fractions in case snacks don't line up exactly. You could also round up or round down...

Want another fun math snacktivity? You'll love PUNCH MATH!

3. Snowman Heights in Unifix Cubes

This is one of my favorite math centers for the winter. Kids love to see the family of snowmen and compare their heights from shortest to tallest before measuring them in unifix cubes.

Snowman heights with non standard measurement unifix cubes

4. Measuring Veggies with Bean Rulers-

Student in this teacher's classroom measured and compared the lengths of different vegetables during a farming unit. Their teacher made them non standard bean rulers to practice measurement in a developmentally appropriate and fun fashion!

5. Crooked Paths Measurement- by Susan Jones Teaching

I love this simple yet genius measurement activity. Draw one straight line on a piece of paper and one crooked, anyway you choose. Have kids guess which is longer and then use paper clips to measure which one is longer.

susan Jones crooked paths activity

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Teachers of young children talk about one to one correspondence, but what is it? One to one correspondence is counting one object for every number said.

Without one to one correspondence, one will not be able to count objects accurately. When a child is able to count one object per each number said, they also understand that a number represents a specific quantity.

At what age do kids develop one to one correspondence? This can be between the ages of 3-5. In kindergarten, kids are expected to count up to 20 objects with one to one correspondence. In preschool up to 10.

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Finished look of punch math activity, ready to play

Does your child do this? They may not have one to one correspondence!

Picture this: you're playing a board game. Your child rolls a 5 and they move their piece WAY MORE than 5 spaces, while managing to only count to five. They're not cheating! They lack one to one correspondence.

When given a quantity of objects and asked to count, many kids count faster than they register each object resulting in counting to a number that is MORE than the actual number of objects!

This happens because kids learn counting as a rote skill. Children memorize the number order much earlier than they learn to count objects, so saying the numbers in that order is automatic. For many, they are just saying numbers without any knowledge of numbers representing quantities.

So, we have get them to SLOW DOWN!

The best way to build one to one correspondence is to give children a way to slow their counting. So, I teach my students a counting rule called, "Touch 1, count 1." For every object they are counting, they must either touch it, or move it to another spot completely.

This snack activity, aka snacktivity, is a highly engaging way to build one to one correspondence with items you already have around the house.

For a very basic one to one correspondence activity - perfect for 2-3 year olds, try this build your own board game activity!

Prep your Math Snacktivity - One to One Correspondence Game

With this simple hands-on learning game, your kid will love learning number recognition, one to one correspondence, numeracy, and even arithmetic. Just grab these few supplies and get ready to play.

What you'll need:

Prep your Punch Math Snacktivity:

  1. Put a few snacks in each circle. Make sure they're small and dry.
  2. Then wrap aluminum foil over the top and sides of the muffin pan.
  3. Over each circle, draw a circle then write a number that your child can identify or is working on identifying.

For preschoolers, I recommend numbers between 1-10. For kindergarteners, numbers ranging from 1-15. Don't go into the teens unless your child has mastered 1-10.

One to One Correspondence Activity

Three Ways to Play to build One to One Correspondence and Other Math Skills:

How to teach one to one correspondence with snacks

Simplest Way to Play: Builds One to One Correspondence and Number Recognition

For this version, your child is solely focused on number recognition and one to one correspondence.

To start, present your kiddo with the straw and talk about the numbers they see on the aluminum. Their mission is to uncover their snack by identifying the correct number and punching through the aluminum foil that many times.

Invite your child to play by asking them to punch number 3 three times, number 5 five times, etc.

By punching the straw through the aluminum foil they're forced to slow down their counting and follow the "touch 1, count 1," rule of one to one correspondence.

They'll be thrilled to reveal the snacks underneath with each punch through. For an additional way to practice, you can have them count the snacks as well!

Medium Difficulty Way to Play: Builds One to One Correspondence and Number Sense

Once your preschooler or kindergartner has a good grip on number identification try this way of playing that builds number sense using more than and less than.

Call out actions such as, "Punch a number that is more than 5. Punch a number that is less than 2."

Another way to play this way is to show them on your hands a number of fingers and ask them to find a number that is more than or less than that many! That way they're "subitizing" the number of fingers, translating that into the number they identified, and then building their knowledge of more and less.

Advanced Way to Play: Builds One to One Correspondence and Arithmetic Skills

You guessed it, have your child determine which number is the sum or the difference to your simple arithmetic problem, and punch the number the correct number of times to reveal the snack beneath.

Use call outs like, "Punch the number that is 5 +1!" and "Punch the number that is 4-2!"

To scaffold and make this a little less tricky, use your fingers to show addition and subtraction. Hold up 8 fingers, "Punch the number that is this many take away 3!"

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Kids who count the wrong number of objects without noticing their mistake have yet to develop the important skill of one to one correspondence.

The definition of one to one correspondence is the knowledge that only one item is to be counted for each number that you say. To put it another way, each item in a group of items is only to be counted once.

Kids learn how to count out loud before they learn how to count quantities. Oftentimes, they're saying the numbers faster than they're registering the actual quantity. So my rule is to tell them to "Touch 1, count 1."

In these one to one correspondence activities with your phone number, your child will delight in matching the quantity of various objects to the numbers before them.

Phone Number one to one correspondence

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post at no additional cost to you.


Dot stickers are a wonderful tool for developing one to one correspondence because peeling the sticker will slow down your child's counting. As they peel each sticker, they should only count one number more in the sequence.

Is your child having trouble peeling the stickers? Remove the white backing from the page and it'll be MUCH easier!

How to Teach One to One Correspondence with Phone Number Activities:

Teaching phone numbers fine motor preschool math

Dot Sticker Phone Number Activity

  1. Write your phone number in large numbers across the paper. They can be block numbers or just written regularly.
  2. Sing your phone number together. Just like that car commercial or that catchy tune you heard on the radio, songs are great memorization tools!
  3. Place the correct number of dot stickers on each number in the phone number. The number 3 should have 3 stickers, 8 should have 8, etc.
  4. As your child peels the dot stickers, remind them the "Touch one, count one" rule.
  5. Each time your child finishes a number, have them go back and check their work. Here is another opportunity to build one to one correspondence, as your child can "touch one, count one" by touching each dot sticker they've placed on the number and counting.

Build on the Dot Sticker Phone Number Activity with the following one to one correspondence activities:

Ways to teach one to one correspondence with googly eyes and stickers on phone number
  1. Use dot paints to "dot" your phone number. Each number is dotted that number of times.
  2. Use stickers to correspond to each number. Maybe they'd like these mermaids? Or dinosaurs?
  3. Sticky googly eyes are a spooky way to practice one to one correspondence with your phone number
  4. Place the matching number of Legos inside each number
  5. Colored toothpicks are a fun counter
  6. Use snacks!
  7. Repeat any of your favorite ways with a new phone number

Is your child still struggling with one to one correspondence?

For beginner counters, try exercises where they have to actually move the objects they're counting. One excellent game that I use to build one to one correspondence with my 2 year old is this.

Moving the objects they're counting will slow down kids' oral counting to match the number of objects. As a result, they will better keep track of what they've already counted.

As children get more confident in counting, they might only touch the object, then point at it, and then ideally for smaller numbers, they'll be able to visually know how many they have quickly in a skill called subitizing. Domino games are great for subitizing!

Want more one to one correspondence practice? If your child likes snack time (who doesn't?), then they'll love this snacktivity aka snack activity.

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