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Do You Know How to Teach 1 to 1 Correspondence?


1 to 1 correspondence is an important beginning math skill for preschoolers. You may have heard this term before, and maybe you’re not sure what it is. Or maybe you just need some extra one to one correspondence activities. No matter why you’re here, I’ve got you.


What is One to One Correspondence?

One to one correspondence is the skill of counting each object in a set once, and only once. For example, a child who touches each block in a row and says the number out loud for each block touched, “one, two, three…” is showing the ability to count with one-to-one correspondence.

Why is One to One Correspondence Important?

Most children can rote count easily, as it has more to do with memorizing the order of numbers. One to One Correspondence focuses on the concept of quantity. 1 to 1 correspondence is the building block for almost all math concepts. Without mastering one-to-one correspondence, children will oftentimes struggle with basic math concepts.

1 to 1 Correspondence Teaching Objectives

The objective of counting with one-to-one correspondence can be done by asking children to solve problems by counting objects, matching sets, comparing number amounts, counting objects to 10 and higher, and recognizing the number of objects in a small group with and without counting. Super clear, right? ?

Here is what it means for you in the classroom:

Children will learn and master one to one correspondence with different hands-on activities and games. They need real objects that they can touch and manipulate. As a teacher, you then guide the learning to help them to count by touch, compare, and match. I have a list of activities and ideas below to help you teach this skill to your students.

One to One Correspondence Activities 

Dice Activities

Children love using dice when learning. I found huge foam dice at the dollar store that has been a big hit. Dice games are great for learning 1 to 1 correspondence. Children learn that the number rolled relates to the number of objects they take or the spaces they move. There are so many activities you can do with dice.

  • Building Blocks: Roll the dice and then stack the number of blocks that you rolled. How many blocks can you stack before it falls over?
  • Rubber Ducks: Roll the dice. Count the same number of ducks and place them in a ‘pond’. The pond could be a picture you printed or a bucket.

Counting Soup

I love activities that use random objects like mini erasers, pom poms, feathers, and pipe cleaners. It makes learning so fun and unique. I am just getting into these counting soup activities for working on 1 to 1 correspondence. The picture below is the activity in our Five Senses Study. You can create ‘soups’ out of so many objects you already have.


Ten Frame Counting Mats

Ten frames are a great way to introduce early math skills. There are tons of ways to use them. You can roll play dough balls and have children put them in the ten frame to complete it. You can also use counters, mini erasers, pom poms….anything goes. Here are some Play Dough Number Mats that work on 1-to-1 correspondence.


Here is another amazing 10 frame activity by Teach the TK Way. You can download it for free on TPT here.

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Muffin Tins

I wrote numbers in the bottom of cupcake liners and put them in a plastic container that held cupcakes from the store. I couldn’t let that amazing container go to waste!?  The picture below is when we counted pumpkin seeds for fall. You could use any object for the season or theme you’re working on.

Pumpkin Seed Counting fall and Halloween math activity. Great counting activity for preschool, kindergarten, and early childhood!

Counting with Objects

You can use all different types of objects when counting. I love to use counters that I got off of Amazon. Mini erasers are fun to use, pom poms, glass jewels, and even toys. If it’s an object that kids are interested in, they will want to count with it. Below we counted pumpkins for our fall theme and dinosaurs for our dinosaur theme.

1-to-1-correspondence    1-to-1-correspondence

Counters We Use

Here is a list of the counters shown above, and others that we use for 1 to 1 correspondence. You can click on the link to see them in Amazon. You can also find fun things to use as counters at the dollar store, and Target dollar spot. Hit can be hit or miss though with those stores. I like that I can usually find exactly what I need on Amazon. It saves me so much time so I can focus more on teaching.

Please note these are affiliate links.


Learning Through Play

It is so important for young children to learn through play. There are tons of fun activities and games that you can do at home to help them. Check out this great information from Savoring Each Moment about teaching math through play

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