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Your child needs to understand one-to-one correspondence before learning to count


You might think that your child already knows how to count because they can recite 1 through 10. However, memorizing the sequence of numbers versus counting with one-to-one correspondence are two different issues. 

What is one-to-one correspondence? 

It’s the understanding that each object in a set is only counted once. If you put 5 balls in front of your child, they might be able to recite ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5’. However, they might double count ball 2 and forget to count ball 5. 

3 activities to practice one-to-one correspondence

  1. 1. Prepare an ice cube tray, pom poms, and a tweezer. Have your child put one pom pom into each compartment on the tray while counting out loud.
  2. 2. Prepare some number flashcards and small objects. Pick a number card and place the corresponding number of objects on it. 

  3. 3. Prepare some clothes pegs and cardboard. Draw a certain number of stripes on the cardboard. Have your child put the corresponding number of clothes pegs on. 


You can use everyday experiences to practice this skill. Count the number of grapes in your child’s bowl, count the cars in the parking lot, and so on. Remember to point to one object each time you say a number. Your child will master one-to-one correspondence in no time!