10 Best Preschool Activities and Games to Develop One to One Correspondence

one to one correspondence

One to One Correspondence is a vital math skill preschoolers need to acquire early on. It helps children improve their reading and computational skills, which they can apply once they reach school age. However, it can take months or a year for preschoolers to start counting items they see around with one to one correspondence. 

So as a parent, you need to provide your preschooler with lots of opportunities to practice one to one correspondence throughout the year. Luckily for you, here on computer kids daycare, you can find a wide range of educational games and activities for this purpose. 

But before we go further and learn how to teach one to one correspondence, we should know first what this term means.

What is One to One Correspondence?

The basic idea behind one to one correspondence is that any object in a set can be associated with another object in the same set. 

It can mean one apple object on top of one apple picture. It can also mean placing six marbles on the number 6. While this is a vital mathematical skill, it is also essential in literacy. For instance, pointing to two words as you say two words.

Why is One to One Correspondence Important?

one to one correspondence

One to one correspondence is one of the crucial skills that preschoolers need to learn at a very young age. It helps in mathematical development and boosts your child’s overall cognitive function. Other than that, there are many other reasons why it’s essential to teach your kid one to one correspondence early on. These includes:

  • It develops your child’s number sense – One to one correspondence helps your preschooler learn number words. So the more times you do it, the more they will develop their conceptualization of numbers. As a result, kids will understand numbers and communicate better with you as they develop their math skills. 
  • It helps to learn fundamental mathematical principles – It is also an essential skill that they need to master in order for them to learn about mathematical concepts like addition and subtraction.
  • It improves memory – Another benefit of one to one correspondence is that it can help enhance your preschooler’s memory. They can decode a new form of a written word and associate it to a previously learned idea. Which eventually, they can use in their future.
  • It develops basic computational skills – Learning the skill early on will improve their sense of numeracy. They can better understand numbers and relate them to objects. Practicing the one to one correspondence will help your child learn how to count things easily. 

How to Teach One to One Correspondence?

The best way to teach one to one correspondence is by using games and activities, which require children to operate both their eyes and their mind and make children say the numeral name aloud, which is more complex for kids.

You need to ensure that the activity and game you choose do not confine them to limited space as such activities can restrict their movement and cut down on their exploratory learning. It should also have an excellent visual element. So they can use their eyes to associate objects with numbers while learning new ones one by one. Finally, to make it more exciting and fun for your child, you can introduce a twist in the game.

Below are 10 one-to-one correspondence activities for preschoolers that are suitable for both your classroom and home.

10 Best One to One Correspondence Activities and Games


1. Ice Cube Tray Activity

To perform this activity, you may need to have dice, cubes like small Lego blocks, and an ice cube tray. Provide each kid with an ice cube tray. You can use a tray that has ten frames to make it more engaging. Kids take turns rolling the dice and then put the right number of cubes in the tray that corresponds with the dots on the die. It is a very simple yet effective way to learn one to one correspondence.

2. Muffin Tins Activity

It is another simple activity your child can perform. You can use plastic, cardboard, or metal muffin containers for this activity. Mark a number at the bottom of each space of your muffin container with a permanent marker. Then give children a variety of different colored buttons to count and put in the suitable muffin space. For instance, six colored buttons shall go in the space with the number six written at the bottom.

3. Rubber Duck Counting Activity

The best thing about this activity is children can play it for hours and hours and still enjoying it. It is an excellent activity to practice one to one correspondence. Before having your child perform the activity, you should first read to them a book about ducks. Books like Five Little Ducks by Pamela Paparone and 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle are ideal for kids. 

Place a bowl of water on the table or any place you want your children to play. Give your children one foam dice and have them take turns rolling it. Let your kids count the dots and have them place the corresponding number of mini rubber ducks in the pond. 

4. Number Toss Activity

It is a great game for kids age 1-3 years old, and it’s perfect for performing on rainy days. You may need number cards with pictures, a laundry basket, and bean bags to play this game. Mix the number cards and have each child pick one card to use. Once they have received the cards, help children learn the number by counting the matching number of objects in the card. 

Once they have familiarized the number, ask the children to pick up the same amount of bean bags you pile nearby. Next, position the kids near the laundry basket and ask them to toss the bean bags into the laundry basket one at a time while counting aloud. When they are done, ask the children to pick up the bean bags and have kids count again as they place them back in a pile.

5. Sum Swamp Game

This fun game includes a board designed as a swamp. It is fit to play with 2 to 4 children ages five and beyond. It will unleash children’s sense of competitiveness as they compete to be the first player to get their favorite swamp animals around the board. 

Sum Swamp Game also comes with two dice that have numbers and one die that displays a minus or plus sign. Each child takes a turn rolling the dice, and once they roll, children need to put the dice with numbers together with the minus or plus sign to determine how many spaces they will take on the board. There are fun twists children will discover along the way that adds more excitement. Sum Swamp Game is an excellent way to introduce early math skills along with counting and number recognition.

one to one correspondence

6. Counting Ladybugs Activity

Kids age three years old will surely enjoy and have fun doing this counting ladybugs activity. The box comes with 96 ladybug cards with dots printed on one side and numbers on the other. They are perfect for children with small hands to hold while they match the number with corresponding dots. Children can also choose a card with a number then count the matching number of ladybugs. The best thing about this Counting Ladybugs activity is that your children can bring it anywhere they want it to play.

7. Spill the Bears

When you have a lot of baby bear counters in your storeroom, you can use that and perform this exciting activity. If none, you can buy a set of it online or at your local stores. Spill the Bears is easy and amusing for kids. 

Have your kids sit in a circle on the floor and take turns shaking the cup and spilling the baby bears out. Ask kids to count the baby bears each time using their fingers to develop their counting ability. Change the number of baby bears on the cup to make it more engaging and fun for your kids.

8. Roll and Cover

You may need to print pictures for this activity. For example, you may print an image of ten oranges with a number on it. So if you have ten oranges mark each with a number from one to ten. If you can’t provide any picture, you can draw figures like squares or circles and label each one with a number. If everything went well, use a dice, have your kid roll it, find the number, and let him cover the figure or picture with a counter like buttons or baby bear counters. 

9. Counting with Magnetic Numbers

Use magnetic numbers to teach your kid about one-to-one correspondence. It is a fun activity your kid will enjoy. First, draw a row of different sets of shapes. Then, try to vary the numbers of figures on each row ranging from one to ten. 

Put the paper on the surface of your refrigerator using magnetic numbers. Let your child count the shapes in a row and let him find the magnetic number that corresponds to the number of shapes, and place it next to the shapes. You can also print pictures and figures with vibrant colors for this activity.

10. Pretend Play with Play-doh

Play-Doh is one of the best items to use when playing for fun imagination games. For example, let your kid pretend to make cakes using different colors of play-doh. Your kid can create one cake of one color, two cakes of another color, and so on until he has created cakes using all the vibrant colors. So your kid will have one yellow, two red, three pink, and many more. 

If your child is done making the cakes, instruct her to bring her favorite stuffed toys and dolls. For example, if she has twelve cakes, she will need twelve toys. Let her set up a picnic with her toys, designate a corresponding play-doh color with each toy, and then tell her to count out the cakes for each toy. It will teach her one to one correspondence, eye-hand-coordination, and it will enhance her thinking and listening skills. Indeed, play-doh is a reliable item to use when playing fun imagination games for kids.

one to one correspondence

Counting is vital in everyday activities like getting dressed, eating meals, and even in playtime. Kids will need to learn the concept of counting when they are young, and the best way for kids to learn and develop is through playing games and performing engaging activities like the lists above.

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