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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!

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.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

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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