Setting the table with toddlers: a playful context for engaging in one-to-one correspondence

Dina Tirosh, Pessia Tsamir, Esther S. Levenson*, Ruthi Barkai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Taking a socio-cultural perspective, in this study we explored the challenges toddlers might face as they practice 1–1 correspondence in the playful context of setting a table, and how different individuals may participate in this playful activity. Findings indicated that toddlers’ competence in carrying out one-to-one correspondence may be related to the locations of items set on the table and what to do with leftover items. The researcher played several roles including the expert participant, assistant, and play partner. Some toddlers participated peripherally, others were more involved in the play, while others were more involved in completing the 1–1 correspondence. In some instances, it seemed that a child’s participation was an interference, rather than a help. Toddler educators may consider how natural settings and activities may be adjusted to offer children appropriate playful mathematical learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-728
Number of pages12
JournalZDM - International Journal on Mathematics Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1631/18


    • Location language
    • One-to-one correspondence
    • Peripheral participation
    • Playful learning
    • Toddler mathematics


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