Saying numbers and knowing what numbers mean are two different and distinct mathematical skills.

Your child might be a champion counter, yet not be able to identify the number “8″ out of numerical sequence. He or she might be able to recognize the numeral “12,” but be unable to count out 12 objects. Knowing how to match numbers to objects is basic, mathematical one-to-one correspondence.

Practicing one-to-one correspondence helps your child make the connection between seeing, saying, and knowing.

Here are three easy activities to help your child practice one-to-one correspondence in math.

• Put a small pile of pennies on a table. Say, or show a number between one and twenty. See if your child can count out the number of pennies that you named. If he can’t do it by himself help him count out the correct amount.Have him put the pennies in a straight line, pointing to each penny, as he counts in sequence.
• Take the Ace (to represent one) through 10, of one suit, from a deck of playing cards.Line the cards, left to right, from the Ace to the ten.Below the card have your child place the appropriate number of pennies.Once your child can easily do this from one to ten, mix up the cards and place them out of sequence.  Practice until your child can match the pennies to the numbers shown on the cards.
• Play “Roll for a Snack.” Use a small snack cup or plate. Take one die, from a pair of dice, and have your child roll it. Count out a goldfish cracker, raisin, Cheerio, or favorite small snack for each dot on the die.Continue rolling and counting until the cup or plate is full.Who knew that counting could be so delicious?

(To increase difficulty use two dice and add the dots.)