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Ones and Twos

Help children develop their math skills and recognize sets of one and two elements with this fun activity.

Activity 3: Recognizing sets of one and two


2 plastic cups and 3 of the same objects—it’s great if they float.

Try It Out:

  1. During bath time, give your child 2 cups. Put 1 floating object in 1 cup, and 2 of the same floating object in the other cup.
  2. Point to the cup with 2 floating objects and say, “This cup has 2. How many are in this cup?”
  3. Point to the cup with 1 floating object and say, “This cup has 1. How many are in this cup?”
  4. Play a game in which you hide the cups with objects behind your back. Show 1 cup at a time to your child. Ask: “How many are in this cup?”

Making the Most of This Activity:

  1. Try pointing out other sets of 1 and 2 as you move throughout your day. For example, at the park, there may be 1 slide and 2 swings. Or in the car, there may be 1 cup and 2 books in the backseat.
  2. Give your child opportunities to create sets of 1 and 2 items. At the supermarket, have your child put 2 apples in a bag, or choose 1 box of cereal.


Was your child able to point out any sets of 1 or 2 during eating, dressing, bathing, or other routines? If not, your child will develop this new math concept with time and practice.


American Institute for Research

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