How to Teach Your Child One-to-One Correspondence While Counting

One-to-One Correspondence | Teaching Little Ones to Count Objects

Inside: Is your child having trouble with counting objects? This is how I taught my 2-year-old one-to-one correspondence.

How to Teach Your Child One-to-One Correspondence (plus 4 FREE printables!)

Psst.. just a DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this post are through Amazon Affiliates. That just means that Amazon gives me a small piece of the sale if you click one of the links and make a purchase. At NO ADDITIONAL COST to you!

We don’t always think about the building blocks that need to be in place for early learning. All the little cogs within the machine of our children’s brains.

Enter one-to-one correspondence. “One-to-one correspondence” is just a fancy term for the ability to keep track of what objects have been counted and what objects haven’t. It
was one of those things that I hadn’t really thought about but that plays a role in the way our children process early math information.

When kids are little, they sometimes count objects twice or skip over counting some of them altogether. It’s because their brains haven’t begun to realize that each object needs to be counted and counted only once.

Counting Flower -- One-to-One Correspondence

As kids grow and learn, one-to-one correspondence is normally picked up. But we can actually help our kids learn it faster by giving a concrete way for their brains to recognize what’s happening while counting.

And while it may seem like something difficult (it often seems hard to teach things that we don’t even think about!), it’s actually really simple.

How to Teach One-to-One Correspondence

So how do we go about teaching one-to-one correspondence?

For my quick video explanation over on our YouTube channel, click here:

Since recording the video, I created a few free printable options you can use for counting with your little one. Input your name and email below, and I’ll drop the download into your inbox! (By subscribing, you’ll also get our weekly email newsletter)

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One-to-One Correspondence Printables

Using These Printables

The simplest way to teach one-to-one correspondence is by showing the objects moving from one concrete area to another.

First, you need a group of objects. You can try counting cubes, counting bears, the glass stones that I use in the video, cotton balls, Cheerios… almost ANYTHING! It just needs to be small enough to fit on the spaces provided on the printable.

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Of course, be careful of choking hazards (I know you already know this).

Next, pick which printable you actually want to use. You could pick the flower or bee hive printables and act like you’re moving buzzing bumble bees. Or use the lily pad printable and act like they’re hopping frogs. Or use the barnyard printable, and let your child pretend to be a farmer moving horses.

Whichever one you choose, make a game out of it! Kids learn best through play.

Bee Hive Counting -- One-to-One Correspondence
If you use The Good and the Beautiful Math K curriculum, you can use the bee manipulatives for this counting activity too!

Next put all of your objects into the first space (flower, hive, lily pad, or fence). Then you’ll have your child slide the objects from the first space to the second, counting the objects out loud while moving them.

The first few times, you’ll likely want to put your hand on top of theirs while they move their manipulatives (just so they get the hang of it) and count out loud with them. As they begin to understand, hang back and see how many they can count on their own.

How Does This Work?

Like I said above, it’s easier to show one-to-one correspondence when moving things from one concrete area to another. Why is that?

Excuse me while I nerd out for a moment…

We can actually think of these two separate areas as groups. So one group consists of things that haven’t been counted while the other is made up of the things that have been counted. As your child moves the objects from one group to the next, it begins to solidify pathways in their brain.

Farm Counting -- One-to-One Correspondence

Our understanding works best when we can see and interact with something in a concrete form first. Our brains can then begin to process how that concept works. Then we’re able to process that same information in more abstract ways.

Of course, all of that isn’t something we explain to our kids, but I love understanding what is happening in their minds.

This is a simple activity, but it’s extremely effective in helping our little ones to understand how to count objects correctly.

If you haven’t subscribed to get your printables yet, don’t forget to do so before you go by plugging in your name & email here: (I promise not to SPAM you or share your info)

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} #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-fieldRow input::-moz-placeholder, #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow input::-moz-placeholder { color: #333333; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-fieldRow input:-ms-input-placeholder, #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow input:-ms-input-placeholder { color: #333333; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-fieldRow input:-moz-placeholder, #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow input:-moz-placeholder { color: #333333; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow { height: 42px; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow .ml-input-horizontal { width: 70%; float: left; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow .ml-button-horizontal { width: 30%; float: left; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow .horizontal-fields { box-sizing: border-box; float: left; padding-right: 10px; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow input { background-color: #ffffff; color: #333333; border-color: #cccccc; border-radius: 4px; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 0; padding: 10px 10px; width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; overflow-y: initial; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow button { background-color: #d43328 !important; border-color: #d43328; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; border-radius: 4px; box-shadow: none; color: #ffffff !important; cursor: pointer; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px !important; font-weight: 700; line-height: 20px; margin: 0 !important; padding: 10px !important; width: 100%; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-horizontalRow button:hover { background-color: #333333 !important; border-color: #333333 !important; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow input[type=”checkbox”] { display: inline-block; float: left; margin: 1px 0 0 0; left: 0; top: 0; opacity: 1; visibility: visible; appearance: checkbox !important; -moz-appearance: checkbox !important; -webkit-appearance: checkbox !important; position: relative; height: 14px; width: 14px; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow .label-description { color: #000000; display: block; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; padding-left: 25px; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow label { font-weight: normal; margin: 0; padding: 0; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow label a { color: #000000; text-decoration: underline; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow label p { color: #000000 !important; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif !important; font-size: 12px !important; font-weight: normal !important; line-height: 18px !important; padding: 0 !important; margin: 0 5px 0 0 !important; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow label p:last-child { margin: 0; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-embedSubmit { margin: 0 0 20px 0; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-embedSubmit button { background-color: #d43328 !important; border: none !important; border-radius: 4px !important; box-shadow: none !important; color: #ffffff !important; cursor: pointer; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif !important; font-size: 14px !important; font-weight: 700 !important; line-height: 20px !important; height: 40px; padding: 10px !important; width: 100% !important; box-sizing: border-box !important; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-embedSubmit button.loading { display: none; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-embedSubmit button:hover { background-color: #333333 !important; } .ml-subscribe-close { width: 30px; height: 30px; background: url(https://bucket.mlcdn.com/images/default/modal_close.png) no-repeat; background-size: 30px; cursor: pointer; margin-top: -10px; margin-right: -10px; position: absolute; top: 0; right: 0; } .ml-error input { background: url(https://bucket.mlcdn.com/images/default/error-icon.png) 98% center no-repeat #ffffff !important; background-size: 24px 24px !important; } .ml-error .label-description { color: #ff0000 !important; } .ml-error .label-description p, .ml-error .label-description p a { color: #ff0000 !important; } #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow.ml-error .label-description p, #mlb2-1569820.ml-form-embedContainer .ml-form-embedWrapper .ml-form-embedBody .ml-form-checkboxRow.ml-error .label-description p:first-letter { color: #ff0000 !important; } @media only screen and (max-width: 400px){ .ml-form-embedWrapper.embedDefault, .ml-form-embedWrapper.embedPopup { width: 100%!important; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm { float: left!important; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow { height: auto!important; width: 100%!important; float: left!important; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow .ml-input-horizontal { width: 100%!important; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow .ml-input-horizontal > div { padding-right: 0px!important; padding-bottom: 10px; } .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-button-horizontal { width: 100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 400px) { .ml-form-formContent.horozintalForm .ml-form-horizontalRow .horizontal-fields { margin-bottom: 10px !important; width: 100% !important; } } function ml_webform_success_1569820() { var $ = ml_jQuery || jQuery; $(‘.ml-subscribe-form-1569820 .row-success’).show(); $(‘.ml-subscribe-form-1569820 .row-form’).hide(); } https://static.mailerlite.com/js/w/webforms.min.js?v253251d9ecd93b8e74c12a37f72e896f

What other ways have you found for helping children understand one-to-one correspondence? I’d love for you to share, so leave those in the comments below!

Until next time,

Audriana

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