Observe the child during any activity of the day involving two or more of the same item (pieces of fruit or cereal, toy cars, blocks, etc.).
Ask the child to give you two of something. “Can I have two cars?” Alternatively, ask the child to count how many of an item he has.
The child will hand the adult two items or will point in sequence to the first two items before losing one-to-one correspondence with the words and objects.
Help parents understand that the first three aspects of understanding numbers are using one-to-one correspondence (or having only one number name for each item); invariant sequence (the items counted are always in the same sequence), and cardinality (the last number stated is the total amount). Parents can help children learn these foundations by helping the child point to each item as it is counted, by helping them learn the number sequence a little at a time (emphasize up to 3 items), and at the end of the count say the total amount (“One, two. You gave me two”).
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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