Dot stickers are incredibly useful materials for creating fine motor and early math activities for young children. Susie of Busy Toddler (if I'm not mistaken) pioneered and proliferated the use of dot sticker activities for children crafts and learning activities, and swears by their versatility and ability to engage.
How Dot Stickers Teach One-to-One Correspondence
By pasting a sticker while counting in sequence, children acquire the developmental skill of one-to-one correspondence.
One-to-one correspondence refers to the act of counting each object in a set once, with one touch per object. Acquisition of this skill enables children to accurately count a number of objects.
One-to-one correspondence is not to be mistaken for rote counting.
How is one-to-one correspondence different from rote counting?
Rote counting involves memorizing number words in the proper order (one, two, three…) while one-to-one correspondence is a more advanced level of math comprehension typically built on the knowledge of rote counting and/or recognition of number symbols.
Young children need opportunities to practise assigning a number with an object and assigning the final number word with the total quantity of objects. Before they master one-to-one correspondence, many children may have memorised number words in sequence, but often skip an object or count an object more than once.
With consistent practice, children get a better understanding of the concept of one-to-one correspondence and can accurately count a set of objects.
10+ Creative Dot Sticker Counting Activities for Toddlers
These 10+ creative dot sticker activities are fun, engaging and great for one-to-one correspondence practice. Many of the themes are inspired by nature as well as sports and food children are familiar with.
1. Tennis Game
It is easy to turn yellow dot stickers into tennis balls. Illustrate either two curved lines or a horse-shoe symbol on yellow dot stickers to transform them into tennis balls.
Then, illustrate tennis rackets, write a numeral beside each racket and encourage your toddler to count and assign the corresponding number of tennis balls to each racket.
My toddler noticed that the tennis rackets were of different sizes (I illustrated a larger racket for the bigger numeral) so that invited a conversation about sizes during play.
Rich use of vocabulary in play conversation boosts language development. These are fun facts about tennis (as well as an introduction to its history) on Mom Junction to interest children about this popular game.
2. Soccer Game
Seeing the success of the tennis dot sticker activity with my toddler, I created this soccer version by illustrating goal posts and soccer balls.
I referenced Wiki How on how to draw a soccer ball.
Here's play extension idea for older children -- teach them about pentagons and hexagons, which are shapes that make up the design of the soccer ball.
Again, Mom Junction provides a wealth of information about the soccer game, which might be interesting for children to find out and learn.
3. Cookie Jar
Cookies are no stranger to children, who love this snack for its sweet, crunchy/chewy texture (and often chocolatey flavor). To illustrate cookies, use brown dot stickers and put black dots on them to represent chocolate chips.
My toddler pasted a couple of the cookies at the top of the cookie jar, saying that she was 'dropping them in'. I love how this activity inspired this unique perspective and provided the opportunity for me to introduce positional words to her.
This activity inspired my toddler to burst into the Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar nursery rhyme and ask for a cookie.
4. Bubble Tea
My toddler adored the colorful boba shop sink play activity I had created for her a while ago, so I made this 2D version to continue this boba passion.
I provided 'bobas' of different colors to initiate a play conversation about colors and flavors. My toddler enjoyed this activity so much that she decided to cut out the bubble tea beverages for further pretend play.
5. Pepperoni Pizza
This activity reinforced object recognition of pizza and pizza toppings. I DIY-ed this activity while my toddler watched on, so I invited her to name pizza toppings she would like me to draw in addition to pepperoni and she said -- mushrooms.
This is a good way to engage children in an activity by leveraging their interests and preferences.
6. Dot Painting Museum
Inspired by The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds which is a favourite book of my toddler (reviewed it in an earlier post), I created a scene whereby my toddler was given the 'mission' of sticking dots onto empty wall paintings to create dot artworks.
I had provided dot stickers of quantities specifically tailored to the wall paintings in the illustration, but my toddler didn't take notice and was free-spirited with usage of colors (which was of course, perfectly normal and fine). This is just a reminder that sometimes the setup or progression of an activity might not go as planned, but it is important to let the child be, and follow the child's interest.
7. Orange Tree
It is summer and we've been doing u-pick at fruit orchards. Tapping on this momentum and experience in harvesting fruits, I created this dot sticker activity for my toddler to stick oranges onto bare trees to create orange trees.
I folded a green construction paper multiple times, drew a circle on the top layer, and cut the whole swath of folds to yield several green circles. These green circles represented the orange trees' tree crowns. Using a brown marker, I added the tree trunks.
Finally, to orange dot stickers, I drew a small 'x' towards the top to represent the flower stalk on the orange fruit, and a few dots for the dimples on the orange peel.
During play, an interesting fact about orange trees which I shared with my toddler is that orange trees as young as three years old can produce fruit (long before the tree has grown to its full height!)
Science Kids has many other interesting facts about oranges for children who are interested to learn more.
8. Tomato Plant
Tomatoes are one of my toddler's favourite vegetables (which upon Google verification, I realised its correct botanical classification is fruit). I went on to find out that there are two types of tomato plants -- bushes or vines.
I opted to go with tomato vines for this dot sticker activity.
I marked out the flower stalk on the tomato fruits with a 'x'.
9. Glutinous Rice Ball Soup
Glutinous rice balls are round dumplings, often with sweet fillings such as ground sesame or peanut. They are consumed on key Chinese festivals and are also popular snacks in Asian countries. In Chinese, they go by the name of 汤圆 (Tāng Yuán).
I did a simple illustration of two bowls for my toddler to fill using dot stickers, representing glutinous rice balls.
I was inspired by The Measured Mom who created a ladybug themed dot sticker activity to teach the letter L.
I cut out multiple red circles from construction paper to resemble ladybug bodies and drew the head and feelers using black marker ink.
Unfortunately I ran out of black dot stickers so we substituted with white ones that retained a color contrast with the red. I invited my toddler to color over the white dot stickers but she declined.
This ladybug themed dot sticker activity is best paired with We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines, which mentioned about ladybugs being useful aides to gardeners by eating up aphids that destroy plants.
Awesome Dot Sticker Activities for Children
These mamas have great ideas for using dot stickers to create learning activities for toddlers and preschoolers:
- Teaching Mama
- Happy Tot Shelf
- CHALK Academy -- Betty of CHALK Academy uses dot stickers to teach Chinese, a minority language in her household, to her children
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.