Thank you Dixie® Cups for sponsoring this post. Check out how versatile these 5 oz. multi-purpose cups are!
Inside: Everything you need to know to set up this DIY preschool math activity, called number cups — a fun and easy number sense activity that teaches one-to-one correspondence.
My kids love activities that they can use their hands to learn and play! This number cup activity is so fun and easy.
Plus, it teaches children number sense, one-to-one correspondence, and identifying numerals.
Here you’ll find everything you need to know for this preschool math activity, including:
- What You Will Need
- How to Prep This Activity
- How to Play: Number Cups
- Number Sense Activity Extension
- Why the Skill of One-to-One Correspondence is Important for Preschoolers
- Tips for success
What You Will Need for The Preschool Math Activity
- 10-11 Dixie® multi-purpose 5 oz. cups
- Round dot stickers
- Optional: blank paper to draw your own number mat (1-10)
2 Minute Prep
Before you start this activity, you’ll need to buy and gather the materials above.
Next, write the numerals 1-10 on a set of 10 Dixie® multi-purpose 5 oz. cups. I like using these particular cups because of their versatility.
If you’d like to add a scaffold for your child, you can draw a number mat to help your child arrange the cups in the correct order. For this, you simply place the cups on a blank paper then draw squares around them and label 1-10.
That’s it! Easy peasy. Now, you are ready to do the preschool math activity with your child.
Top secret tip: If you leave the materials in a place you and your child can see them, they will likely naturally discover them the next morning and ask you about this learning activity. This is a perfect time to capitalize on their curiosity!
If you try this secret tip, let me know in the comments if it worked. 🙂
Number Cups: A Preschool Math Activity
Sit down with your child and tell them you are going to play a game with cups.
Model how to select a cup and identify the number on the cup. Then, show how to slowly count and stick the matching number of stickers to that cup.
You may want to purposely make a mistake and use too many or too little to show the importance of checking your work.
Then, model how to check your number of dots to make sure it matches the cup’s numeral. If you made a mistake, say, “Oops! I put too many stickers. What should I do?” Next, show the child how to remove a sticker and count one more time.
Now, let the child practice selecting cups in any order and placing the corresponding number of stickers on the cup.
Number Sense Activity Extension
Once the child has completed the activity, you can show them how to put the cups in numerical order. You can easily make a number mat with a blank paper and marker.
This is an excellent scaffold for helping children become independent in counting.
Why the Skill of One-to-One Correspondence is Important for Preschoolers
Around the age of two, most children can begin counting to 10. Typically, they can list the numbers one through ten, which is rote counting.
However, understanding that three means a set of three objects (one-to-one correspondence) is a more complex skill.
This is the skill highlighted in this activity and is related to rational counting, in which a child can match a number with the correct set of items and in the right order.
For example, “a child who has not yet developed one-to-one correspondence may skip over an object, count an object more than once, or not yet see a connection between the number names and the objects.” 1
This is why being able to match the correct number of stickers to the cup is essential. Subsequently, being able to sequence the cups in order is helping a child further develop their number sense.
Tips for success
- Model first how to do the activity by creating one extra cup for yourself.
- Observe your child while they complete the activity. You may even want to take notes so you can follow up another time or day if you see them struggling with any part of the preschool activity.
- Show a positive attitude toward learning math. Make it a fun experience. 2
Bonus: Reusing Cups
When you are all done, flip the Dixie® multi-purpose 5 oz. cups over and stack them in the bathroom to be reused. 🙂 They are well-designed and sturdy enough for my kid’s little hands. That’s a win for this mama.
What kind of preschool math activities have you tried with your child? Let me know in the comments below.
- Mcilroy, Tanja. How to Teach Your Child One to One Correspondence. Empowered Parents. Accessed: June 18, 2020. https://empoweredparents.co/how-to-teach-your-child-one-to-one-correspondence/
- Master, Allison. 10 Things to Know About Math. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Accessed: June 18, 2020. https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/things-know-about-math