Rocks may not seem like an educational material for early learning but just a few stones are needed for some kindergarten readiness math fun.
As children sort out that numbers mean ‘how many’, they begin to count. Have you ever noticed that as they learn, they count somethings more than once, sometimes over and over? In order for children to count, they need to figure out that one number goes with one thing. This is called one-to-one correspondence and is a basic math concept. Being able to match one item to one number is a key to understanding how the number system works. Children may be able to say numbers in order but may not necessarily figure out that each time they count that means one more. Kids need to understand this 1-to-1 relationship first so they can link one number and one object.
For kids to grasp this idea they need to have lots of play experiences with one to one matching. Since the rocks were out, it was easy to ask Lee to make a rock family just like her family. She needed a rock for mommy, daddy, herself and baby sister in the shoebox lid house. But there were five –another one for the cat! Math is about numbers but it is also about relationships. Using one rock to be each person in the family was creating a relationship, too. (Rock families will all be different.)
There are other ways to play with 1 to 1 matching. How many toes are on a foot? One rock for each toe, or one rock for each house; in this case it was one rock. As your child is able, you can make some easy or harder suggestions. One rock for each wheel on the car, one rock for each chair in the kitchen, one rock for each nose, etc. What happens when it’s one rock for each eye? Kids will think of their own ideas for matching (and mathing). Are there some rocks that your child can use for kindergarten readiness fun and learning?