Number concepts

Babies and Toddlers, blog

One of the most important number concepts is 1 to 1 correspondence. 1 to 1 correspondence means matching 1 item with 1 other item.  For example, passing out napkins, you give 1 per person.  Kids need to practice this to develop the skill to count items and to understand simple number concepts. There are several activities you can do to work on this skill.

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  1. Ask child to give 1 cookie or cracker to all family members.
  2. Ask child to give a toy food item to stuffed animals or toys that you set up at a snack time or tea party.
  3. Have a group of 3 or more of something (small toys or crackers) ask child to take “just 1” from the group. If they take more than one say “Oh you have 3 crackers, can you show me just 1?”
  4. Have a group of at least 5 items and practice counting them together, 1 at a time. Count slowly and hold up 1 item at a time.
  5. As you walk around with your child count your steps, only count to 5 or 10 unless your child knows the numbers past 10.
  6. Clap your hands as you count to 5, clap and count slowly.
  7. Have your child jump and count their jumps.

Anytime you can practice counting item with your child you will really help them begin to understand number concepts.


Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle and one across the middle so that you have 4 spaces. Write 1 number per space, 1,2,3,4.  Then in the space for 1 make 1 dot, in the space for 2 make 2 dots, but space them out. Do the same for spaces 3 and 4.  Now give your child some items, it can be crackers, cheerios, blocks, whatever you have. Then practice placing 1 item on each dot and counting them. You can also practice tracing each number with your finger and encourage your child to do the same.



Practice counting “1,2,3, Go!”  before doing something, it can be pushing over a block tower, going down the stairs, pouring water over a child’s hair in the bath, etc.

Practice counting as you walk up and down the stairs.

Count the members of your family.

Count the fingers on each hand.

Practice asking the child his/her age and help him/her with the answer.

Find books about counting and practice counting the items on the pages. You can always draw groups of simple shapes to count together. Really work on touching each one as you counting and not going too fast or too slow.

Here are some great books about counting:

This one is great because it really works on 1:1, your child matches up cheerios to the places in the pictures especially for the cheerios.

Here are other great counting books:

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