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Language and Communication Match two equal sets  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Begins to match 2 equal sets

Early years skill:Numbers
Early years typical range:22-36m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Number and Algebra
P-scales/Curriculum level:P5
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP30
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Making matching Lego towers

Lego bricks

Make a tower of 3 bricks and another identical one of 2 bricks. Hand the child the third brick needed for the smaller tower and help the child complete the tower.

Say 'Look...the same' and point to the 2 towers.

Compare the towers and count the bricks.

Increase the height of the towers and the number of the bricks the child has to add to make the towers the same. Make your tower and then say 'Look......make the same'.

Give lots of praise for making a tower the same.

Allow the child to explore the materials you are using before you start the activity'


You want the child to get the idea of things being the same.

Extend the idea into everyday life e.g. match cups at snack time or knives and forks at dinner time.

Peg board patterns

Pegs and a peg board

Make a peg pattern e.g. red peg, blue peg, red peg.

Start the pattern off for the child. Say 'Look.........Make the same'. You may need to hand the child the pegs to complete the pattern to start with.

When the child makes the same pattern praise and say 'Look.......the same'

Allow the child to complete more and more of a pattern that you have made as they become familiar with the activity.

Praise for completion.

Matching using coloured counters/coloured care bears etc

Care bears


Use 3 coloured counters and put them in a column on the paper.

Give the child the right coloured counters to make a match and give any support needed to put his/her counters in a column matching your column.

Make the activity more difficult by making the pattern more complex and increasing the number of items to be matched.

Line of coloured dots on a piece of paper

Colours and paper.

Draw a short simple pattern of dots or squares on the paper. Can the child copy?

If they copy successfully say 'Look ............the same' and reward.

Paper and colours

Draw a circle and put, say 3 crosses inside. Can the child put 3 crosses inside a circle too?

Extend this e.g. 3 cars in a circle, 4 bears in a circle etc .Say 'Look...........the same.'

Establishing one to one correspondence

Large laminated numbers 1/2/3 on card

Small laminated numbers 1/2/3 on card

Pieces of food/crisps/biscuits (or other motivating items)

Marbles and marble run game

Cars and garage ramp

Place the large 1 and 3 cards on a table - space them out well.

Put one piece of crisps/biscuit/fruit (or other motivating items) on the one card and 3 pieces on the 3 card.

Put the small 1 and 3 laminated cards near the child.

Say 'what do you want?' and hold out your hand to receive the small laminated number that the child chooses. Take the card and say 'Take 3 pieces of fruit'. Guide the child to taking 3 pieces if necessary. Reinforce the lesson by saying 'Three.........three' etc.

The child may not need to use the small laminated card to support requesting. The child may just say 'One' or 'Three'. If so say 'Take one' or 'take 3' as above.

When understanding 1 and 3 is good introduce 2.

Follow the same procedure with motivating toys like marble runs and garages etc.

Understanding that '1' is always '1' and '2' always '2' etc is quite abstract and a big step for a child.

This skill needs lots of practise and encouragement.

Give yourself enough time.

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