It is absolutely true to say that before learning to count a child needs to understand ‘one to one correspondence‘, which is having the skills to be able to match an object with a number or object. Keep in mind that children may not master this skill until well after 5 years of age.
Little Possum (aged 2.5 years) has recently shown a keen interest in counting objects and matching colours. Inspired by this post by an unknown author, I decided to make this cool counting tubes activity using toilet rolls. Makes a wonderful busy bag idea too!
- 3 x toilet rolls
- Coloured paper
- Glue stick
- Matching coloured pompoms
Thie activity looks to need a whole lot more toilet rolls than what is really required. If you are able to measure, mark and cut your toilet rolls as shown above you will create all that you need. Check to see what (and how many) pom poms you have available as this will help you determine what colour to make each of the tubes. I only had one green pom pom so that made me decide the smallest toilet counting tube would need to be green.
Once you have the colours decided on for each tube, rub them with a glue stick and wrap them in coloured paper (as shown above). It’s a great idea to have enough overhang of paper at the top so you can simply tuck it down into the tube.
We decided to do a little bit of playing with the pompoms beforehand and practice our counting and matching skills. Possum still has some difficulty in counting with one to one correspondence, which is absolutely fine, however we do try and practice this whenever we get the opportunity to.
I really like these counting tubes because they only allow for children to count up (or down) to a small number. Sometimes I think we can expect too much from children and make 10 a goal. I personally prefer to start small and consolidate counting skills and building from there.
Beyond Possum but for your interest, I added numbers to each of the coloured tubes we had a light hearted chat about what each of them represented. She was familiar with the number one and two and with future exposure will get to know the other numbers in good time.
Possum loved the challenge of matching the coloured pom poms with the coloured tubes, which she did over and over and over again. She just loved it and it was so easy for her to do and set up again for herself. Matching colours is a great way for children to engage in the early stages of one to one correspondence.
We had lots of fun with this activity. Regardless of what stage your child is at, they will be able to get something out of it. I feel really pleased to have made an activity that helps support Possum’s learning of colours, counting, number recognition and one to one correspondence. This activity engages her now and will continue to as her skills in these areas grow and develop! It also makes a fabulous little busy bag.
Would your child enjoy this learning tool?
Other learning tools you’d like –