premath activities

Off to School Toolbox: One-to-One Correspondence

One-to-one correspondence or one-to-one matching is another vital skill for kids to have in their learning toolbox, even if it seems easy and obvious to us. This is so critical that we don’t think of it as something kids have to learn, but what exactly is it?

one to one correspondenceBasically, it’s being able to link one item to only one other item. Like one person on a chair, one sock on each foot, one dress-up mask on each face.

How could this be a critical skill? Well, think of how many times in a day we use it. One name for each person, counting out money when we pay for something, one ticket per person on the bus. And that’s just for numbers.

As we read, we know that each letter group is one word that we can see, say, and mean. There is only 1 match for b r a i n, and that is brain. For people learning English, part of what makes it so confusing for the brain is that some words have more than one sound and more than one meaning.

Isn’t it one to one easy and obvious? It is for somethings, but not all. Kids are not born knowing that each number will count one item. They don’t know that squiggles on a page are connected to the words we say, let alone that each squiggle bunch is different from the others. It’s another step beyond those to figure out that each written word matches to one spoken word and one meaning.

one-to-one matchingOne-to-one correspondence forms the foundation for math and reading. To help children develop this, take advantage of what’s happening for the family and how kids are playing. At meal times, each person needs one plate and cup. Pretending school, each stuffie-student needs a chair for its very own-self. Kids will often do this on their own as they play independently. It’s very helpful when reading books to kids, to point to each word as you say it.

Kids need practice but you don’t need to turn your house into a school bootcamp. There will be many opportunities for one-to-one correspondence as part of daily life. Will fun and learning match your child’s play today?


(P.S. I’m always happy to answer your questions, even if there’s more than one. Contact me one way or the other. )

Gardening with Kids for Fun and Learning #10

Gardens are fun places for learning such as math, language, science, art, interacting with others, connecting to nature and more, as well as for some kindergarten readiness.

gardening activities for kidsOn the weekend, there is a wonderful farmer’s market in our area.  While picking up some fresh rhubarb, this little 3 year old boy was checking out the writing on the board. He couldn’t read the words and prices, but he could ‘read’ the pictures so he shared about the tree growing in the garden. Reading is based on the idea that squiggles have a meaning, they are not just random. The squiggles in the drawing of the tree hold the message “this is a tree”. Reading letter squiggles can grow from that. Being so helpful, he also picked out the best bunch of rhubarb. He practiced some social skills, conversational language, and interacted positively, all in space of a few minutes.

The farmer’s marked wasn’t exactly a garden, but certainly had garden produce. Back in the garden, kids can also practice some everyday math. There’s lots to count: the number of seeds, new sprouts, leaves on plants, plants that have flowers, or rows. Kids can use comparisons such as bigger leaves, taller plants, longer rows, etc. Figuring out more is another math activity. Are there more little plants or more big ones? Are there more flowers or more plants? The answers will not always be accurate but that’s okay. Remember fail = first attempt in learning.

gardening activities for kidsseed-packsGardens usually have some strategies for knowing what plants are growing where, such as sticks, stones, or other markers that start a row. Kids may be able to draw pictures of what’s planted to attach to the sticks or paint the rocks with a picture of the veggie. Sometimes there are boxes around plants or strings to divide up an area. These are organizational tools and will go into the folder in the brain, along with other experiences, for “Ways to Organize.”

What are some other learning activities that can grow as kids help in the garden?

Kindergarten Readiness – Conversations with Guest Experts #4

For each radio show on Learn and Play with Mrs A, I take notes because I’m learning so much about kids and kindergarten readiness from fascinating guests who are experts in a variety of areas. Each of them is passionate about kids and loves the work, or maybe that’s play? Here’s a play-of-the-day suggested from our play-of-the-week conversations and a little information about these awesome guests.

math activities for kidsWhile math is not magic, educator and speaker, Cathleen Alexander added “…but it is magical.” So was a conversation with her about kids and math! She reassured us that kids do not need to be born with a math gene; instead, they need to have lots of fun experiences with math. One activity that she suggested was ‘story problems on a plate. For these, you and your child can use cookies, cereal, crackers, etc. For example:

Put a few fishy crackers on a plate. Together you and your child can count them. Put some Cheerios in a small line. What happens if you each eat one, how many are left? One cookie and one cookie, and now there are how many cookies? Oops, how did there get to be none?

Here’s a link to the podcast with Cathleen Alexander on kids and math:
Cathleen Alexander/Learn and Play podcast

Kindergarten Readiness and Early Learning Basics: Math

Parents and caregivers often ask what young children need to know before kindergarten; this is the 20th in a series of blog posts on kindergarten readiness and early learning basics. No matter the age of your little one, this will give you a general picture of what to do as your child’s very first teacher. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness and Early Learning Basics: Math

Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Counting

1 little, 2 little, 3 little fingers can all be used for counting which is another kindergarten readiness learning and fun activity. Counting can be done anywhere and at anytime. Not only is counting an early math skill, it is also the base for number sense. As children repeat the experience of counting over and … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Counting

Kindergarten Readiness And Olympic Numbers

Today, kindergarten readiness goes to the Olympics for some number fun and learning. The Olympics may be the sporting event of the world but would it be possible without math? Scores, measurements, time, laps, points – it all needs math. No matter if your child already knows numbers or not, all kids can benefit by … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness And Olympic Numbers

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Counting Rocks

For some very inexpensive kindergarten readiness math fun and learning for young children, use rocks. Usually, rocks are quite easy to find and they can be fun to count. When counting, as you can, help your child point to or touch only one rock at a time. They will make mistakes as they learn how … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Counting Rocks