Cool & Creative Ways to Use Your Muffin Tins!

Teaching One to One Correspondence

on May 21, 2012

Today I have one of many educational uses for your muffin tins, because after all YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher 🙂

This activity is designed for younger children like preschoolers. Recently I had noticed my 2 year old was counting but not touching the objects and she was  just naming random numbers but not actually equating them with the objects she was counting. I kept trying to show her the right way and  moved her finger over the objects and counted out loud with her but she was insistent on doing it her way. I was getting frustrated because I know she can count from 1 to 10 quite easily, so why is she doing this? Enter the concept of one to one correspondence…

This concept is so fundamental that we often don’t even think about it. Most people want to jump right into teaching their kiddos to count 1-10. While Rote learning (memorizing counting numbers) is a handy tool, it can just be like singing a song and have no meaning to them. In order to lay a strong foundation for mathematical understanding they need to fully understand the meaning behind each of those numbers, AHA! So that’s what’s going on here!

One-to-one correspondence is the ability to match numbers to objects or object to object; for example, the numbers one to five matching five blocks, or matching one sock to one shoe or in this case one apple to one muffin tin hole 😉

I went on a researching spree and came up with the following…




The next activity I found is called Tennis Ball Puzzler. This one came from a fellow blogger as well on a site called Parents as Teachers.

For this activity you will need 7 tennis balls and a 6 cup muffin tin.

Here’s what you do…

  1. Place the muffin tin on the floor or a table. Hand your child the tennis balls, one at a time, and ask her to put them into the muffin cups.
  2. Repeat until all 6 tennis balls are placed in a muffin cup.
  3. Now ask her to dump the balls out and do it again.
  4. Repeat the game several times, each time talking about what she is doing.

Ok, simple enough right? But wait there’s more!

  1. After she has dumped out all six balls hand her the 7th ball.
  2. Again encourage her to put one into each cup. (Now that there are 7 tennis balls, one will be left over.)
  3. Observe how she solves the problem of the extra ball.
  4. If she gets frustrated and doesn’t understand why there is a problem, count the balls together. “Let’s count the muffin cups. 1-2-3-4-5-6. Now let’s count the balls. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. Well, no wonder! There are too many tennis balls!”

I like the puzzler challenge aspect of this one 🙂 I can’t wait to do this with my little one. And since today is another wet and rainy one guess what we’ll be doing! What will you be doing with your muffin tin today?


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