C is for Counting – a Preschool Math Exploration

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Counting is a very important math skill that preschoolers and Kindergartners work on. And while being able to count is very important, one-to-one correlation (or understanding what the numbers represent) is often difficult to grasp. We spent one morning working together on understanding one-to-one correlation with numbers from 1 to 12 and counting from 1 to 20. After all, C is for counting, right?

Activity One: One-to-One Correlation Cookie Worksheets

Objective: To help the preschoolers develop an understanding that numbers represent the quantity of something, or one-to-one correlation.

Materials: One set of cookie worksheets for each child. Click here for the free printable.
¼ cup of chocolate chips for each child
School glue

Procedure: Begin by counting on the worksheets with the children from 1 to 12. Have them tell you the number on each cookie. You can make this a game by pointing to random numbers for advanced students. For younger students, counting the numbers in order will help them learn the number order better. Next, tell the children that these are chocolate chip cookies, but that the cookie baker forgot to add the chocolate chips. Explain that the children get to add the chocolate chips to the cookies for the baker, but that each of the cookies only need the number of chocolate chips that is printed on the cookie. Help the children count and glue the chocolate chips to the cookies. Be sure to include enough chocolate chips so the children can have some as a snack afterwards.

My preschooler really enjoyed this activity. I don’t know if it was because I gave her ¼ cup of chocolate chips to play with and eat, but I’m betting that had something to do with it. I also made the activity go from 1 to 12 so that she could get some exposure to those “weird” numbers – eleven and twelve. She also is a very good oral counter and understands what the lower numbers mean. But the higher amounts still elude her as quantities.

Additional Activity: Number Rhyme

When doing this activity, it may help to say the following number rhyme with the children, while they count. We’ve  developed an addition to the classic number rhyme, “One, two, buckle my shoe.” My preschooler has become enamored with it.  We’ve added on a second verse – and the meter’s not quite right, but it’s still fun to say.

One, two, buckle my shoe.
Three, four, let’s shut the door.
Five, six, pick up sticks.
Seven, eight, lay them straight.
Nine, ten, a big fat hen.

Eleven, twelve, see an elf.
Thirteen, fourteen, a boy is courting.
Fifteen, sixteen, glue is sticking.
Seventeen, eighteen, plates are breaking.
Nineteen, twenty, and that is plenty.

We said it while we counted chocolate chips. We sounded a lot like broken records, but again, my preschooler had a lot of fun and was full of questions about the words in the rhyme. It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to see my preschooler getting more comfortable with counting past ten.

These activities, taken together, really help explore and reinforce the concepts of counting and one-to-one correlation. And besides, who doesn’t love an activity that involves ¼ cup of chocolate chips and a silly verse?

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