teaching one to one correspondence skills in pre-k


Activities and ideas for teaching one-to-one correspondence skills to young children in your childcare, preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten classroom.

One-to-One correspondence is a foundational math skill for preschoolers. It can takes months or even an entire school year for preschoolers to master this skill. For this reason it is important to provide your students with plenty of opportunities to practice one-to-one all year long.

Objective: Use one-to-one correspondence to solve problems by matching sets and comparing number amounts and in counting objects to 10 and beyond and to recognize the number of objects in small groups without counting and by counting (NCTM)

One-to-One Activities

Rubber Ducks

Counting Ducks
Materials: bowl, water, rubber ducks, foam die
This activity is fun, fun, FUN! My students could play this game for hours and hours and it’s great for 1:1 practice. Place a shallow bowl of water in the middle of the table. Give the students one large foam die (I prefer foam because they are easy to roll and don’t make any noise) and have them take turns rolling it. The students have to count the dots on the dice and place the corresponding number of ducks in the “pond”. If counting to six is too hard then tape a piece of paper over the numbers that are too hard and put one or two dots on the paper instead.

Spill the Bears
Spill the Bears
Materials: plastic bear manipulatives OR teddy grahams, Teddy Graham “on-the-go” cup.
Place a certain number of teddy bears in the plastic cup and put the lid on. Have students sit around a table or in a circle on the floor and take turns shaking the cup and “spilling” the bears out. Students count the bears each time they are spilled using their fingers to touch each one. This game sounds very simple but you would be surprised how many children don’t know how many bears there are in the cup until they count them, even though it’s the same amount each time and several kids had a turn before them. We play Spill the Bears once each month with a different number of bears. In September we used only two bears to play the game, in October we used 3 bears, and in November we used 4 bears etc. If you use Teddy Grahams instead of plastic bears the students may eat the bears after counting them correctly.

Ice Cube Tray Games
ice cube game
Materials: ice cube trays- one per child, foam dice, thematic erasers or other manipulatives.
The erasers pictured at the left are flowers to go with our spring theme. To play this game each child gets an ice cube tray. Students sit around a table and take turns rolling the dice. Students must place the correct number of erasers in the ice cube tray that correspond with the dots on the die. The object of the game is to fill your tray with erasers.

Muffin Tins
muffin tin
Materials: muffin containers, sharpie marker, buttons
You can use metal, plastic, or cardboard muffin containers, whatever you prefer or can find easily. I found cardboard muffin containers at my local grocery store that work great for this activity. Write a number in the bottom of each muffin space with the Sharpie marker. Next, provide a large variety of different buttons for the students to count and place in the correct muffin spaces. For example, four buttons would go in the space with number four written in the bottom.

Thematic One-to-One Activities
You can find more one-to-one activities on the individual Theme Pages.

Math Resources

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