Have containers with multiples of items that could go together (farm animals and blocks, plastic insects and real leaves, plastic plates and cookies, etc.). Have more than six items in each set, with some items larger than others. Have the child place pre-drawn numbers 1-6 next to the items in sequence.
Entice the child into dramatic play related to the items selected. Create a scenario where six of one of the items needs to be set out. Then encourage the child to find the matching needed item for each of the original set. When all sets are completed, ask the child to find his favorite numbers.
Observe whether the child can easily match items with one-to-one correspondence. Also see whether the size of the item confuses the child or causes the child to omit it as a choice. Ability to use any size items shows ability to attend to numbers only. Children may be able to identify several numbers and call these their favorites.
Early childhood educators can provide opportunities for children to match sets of items in meaningful contexts, such as placing settings for snack for each child, handing out materials for each child for an activity, etc. Children can count the number of children at a table and then find the amount of materials needed so each can have the necessary items.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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