May 25, 2011

One-to-One Correspondence

Identifying numbers and rote counting are fun to teach our children, but once mastered, it  does not mean that our child understands what the value of each number is. Teaching one-to-one correspondence is a great way to teach them the unit value of a number. I have found the explanations of one-to-one correspondence to sometimes be confusing, so this post is really to clarify it for myself and hopefully for you too.

I thought that I would start with the proper definition and headed on over to Wikipedia.  This is what they had to say: "In mathematics, a bijection, or a bijective function, is a function f from a set X to a set Y with the property that, for every y in Y, there is exactly one x in X such that f(x) = y and no unmapped element exists in either X or Y." Hee hee...You got that, right?

Okay, lets try again. My research led me to a post at A Teacher at Heart and I learned that it is fundamentally the matching of one object to one (corresponding) number or object , for example: matching the number "3" to the three bears;  or "4" to moving four spaces on a board game; matching one knife to one fork; or two socks to two shoes. The key is that the matching is to the same value.

In light of the above information, I realized that when counting with Little One (33 months at the time of this article), it is important to simultaneously touch and count the objects. In practice, this means that I may gently take Little One's hand and touch the objects that we are counting. Children tend to naturally touch objects as they count, but may sometimes skip an object or double count. A very informative article on number skills at down syndrome education online explains that children can be helped to keep track of counting by placing objects already counted in a separate pile or counting in one direction. Increasing the size of spaces between objects and using objects that are not too small to hold or roll also helps the young child in the counting process. (This website is definitely worth checking out if you would like more information about teaching numeracy.)

In an article by Rita Webb at Ezine , she points out that one-to-one correspondence also involves the skill of comparing sets to see which has more or less. She shares a variety of activity ideas to practice both matching and comparing. I won't be writing about the comparing of sets here, but you can head on over to Ezine to see what she has to say.

Earlier this year we did a mini Cats theme and I found some cat counting flashcards at Sparklebox. I wanted to try out a one-to one correspondence activity with Little One (See picture above) and was surprised at how easily he understood what was required. I would say "Can you put one block on one Kitty?" and so on. I'm on the look-out for some more easy one-to-one correspondence activities, so if you have any to share, please leave a link in the comment box.

PS. Our Touch and Count Cubes, seen in the picture above, are a great learning tool.  I highly recommend them for every household. I use them regularly during the homework session with my older son, as they have endless mathematical possibilities. They are available here in South Africa at CNA stores or through agents. Please contact me if you would like more info. 

PPS. Linking this to Show and Tell @ ABC and 123

May 20, 2011

Car Painting

Little One had fun one afternoon painting with some of his cars. 

The paint can be tricky to clean off the wheels, so if your little guy wants to paint with his favourite car, you may need to prepare him for multicoloured tyres after the art. :)

Have fun!

(PS. This is not an original idea and I like to give credit where it is due, but unfortunately I cannot recall where I saw this for the first time. If it's your idea - please let me know.)

May 10, 2011



I woke up on Sunday morning and while getting ready for church, I was thinking about whether God would be pleased with me. I was thinking, as I often do, that I am not doing enough as a follower of  Jesus. I had read the previous evening during my quiet time about how God wants us to gain followers for be a fisher of men (Matthew 4.19). Was I letting God down?

While in the car on the way to church, I was chatting to Big One and he unexpectedly said that he really hopes that we believe in the right God, because if not, we won't go to heaven. My heart skipped a beat for a do I respond? And then I simply said that I know we believe in the right God, because I have experienced first hand answered prayer and God's amazing love for me. I shared a story from my childhood (when I was about 9), where God answered a prayer of mine in a BIG way. He seemed to accept my explanation. :)

A little while later I was standing in church and it then dawned on me that I had just been given an opportunity to testify for my God. I had fished! I also realised that the doing I was concerned about earlier, happens in our homes, with our friends, in our neighbourhoods. Sometimes we think that we have to talk to strangers or go on an expedition to faraway places to be fishers of men. God reminded me that the waters are often much closer to home than that.

Just by the way, the sermon was about Martha and Mary (Luke 10.38-41) and how Mary, did not busy herself, but sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his word. Another reminder for me that first and foremost we need to come to the feet of Jesus, before all else. Our God is amazing, isn't he!

May 6, 2011

Creating Board Games

I created this board game for play therapy , but Big One spotted it lying on the dining room table and wanted a go.

Board games are generally expensive to purchase and therapeutic board games even more so. As you may know, I am all for making Mommy-made toys and games and it's no different in my approach to play therapy. I really enjoy creating my own play therapy tools. This game was made from an old file and some recycled/rejected business cards, which I sourced from a local printing shop.

You may be wondering how board games fit into play therapy. Some times with older children, I find a game to be quite a non-threatening, playful way to approach more serious issues.

The game has pretty basic rules. Throw the dice and depending on where you land, you  either stay put, move forward or back, or pick a card. The card you pick has a word on it. These words include feelings (all sorts) and other words, like "mom, brother, friend, teacher, cheating, honesty, school, home, divorce, bully, punish, protect" etc. All you have to do, is say something about the word that is true for you or your life. 

Big One really enjoyed playing and he was very keen to hear what I had to say when it was my turn to pick a card :). His main priority though, was definitely to win! Don't you think the astronaut counters are cool? (Big One's contribution to the set-up)

Now you don't have to be a play therapist to play this kind of game with your child. You may want to stick to feeling words for starters, but then you could add in some more interesting words. Remember though, that your child must never feel pressurized to make a statement about a card and a statement made should never lead to an interrogation. The tone of the game should be fun.

Have you ever made a home-made board game to play with your child?

PS. I'm linking this to:
It's Playtime!
Show and Tell 
For the Kids Fridays 

May 3, 2011

Love this Book : Superhero ABC

Love this Book is just that...a post about a book we LOVE, but haven't done an activity or craft linked to it.  It's a book that has been loved for whatever reason and is too good not to share :).

I first found this book at the local library and it was loved and read so much, that I bought it for Big One as a gift. He recently took it to school and according to his teacher it managed to grab the attention of most of the boys in his class! What makes it extra cool though, is that the writing is all in capital letters. Here in South Africa, our children are first exposed to lower case letters and are only introduced to upper case at a later stage. This is a great first upper case reader for a young boy (or girl). It also has very interesting words in it, so is great for vocabulary enrichment too.

All in all, I think that this is a SUPER book. It has a comic book feel to it and there are plenty of heroines to entice girl readers too. Big One is 9 and it is certainly one of his favourite reads.

Author, Bob McLeod, has a website, which has some fun activities and printables linked to the book. Be sure to check it out here! Bob also kindly provided me with the picture that you see here. My photograph was not doing the wonderful art work justice :).

To see some other book suggestions that have inspired art, crafts or other activities, click here.
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