Early mathematical activities in infants


Matching equivalent and non-equivalent sets using one-to-one correspondence: children will engage in these activities over a period of weeks. The aim of this activity is to establish relations through matching. One-to-one correspondence is the basis for counting. The approach used is discovery learning, and the skills covered include recording, reporting, predicting, sorting, classifying investigating, planning and co-operating. The children do the activity, discuss the results with each other and with the teacher and then record their results.


Pairs of identical or related objects e.g. cups and saucers, charts showing labelled objects etc.


Pictorial recording, non-permanent recording using string, cards or arrows and oral recording. No symbols or number names are used at this stage.


Discuss language of lesson informally & discuss recording


Match, goes with, belongs to, each, more than, less than, enough, not enough

Lesson content

Children match 1 cup … 1 saucer
Children match 3 flowers … 3 flowers
Children match 5 buckets … 5 chairs
Children match 4 flowers … 2 flowers
Children match 3 children … 1 pencil
Group of children and chairs. Is there a chair for each child?

Establish relations between objects e.g.:

  • The bag belongs to the girl
  • The beaker is the same size/colour as the bottle

    Discover inequalities such as;

    • The group/set of three flowers is less than the group/set of four flowers
    • The set/group of four stars is less than the set of three stars
    • Reinforce these concepts using matching picture cards, dominoes and peg boards
    • Make a necklace using one bead of each colour
    • Cards with pictures of objects, children find the same number of counters
    • Match cards with the same number of objects
    • Record orally and pictorially with child-child and teacher-child discussion
    • Children set up similar challenges for each other
    • Teacher chooses a child to drop a bead in a box for each child as they leave the room, another child takes out a bead as each child returns
    • What does it mean when box is empty?
      What does it mean when beads are left?
      What does it mean when box is empty before all are seated?