Subitizing is when we look at a number of objects and instantly know how many there are. It’s an important skill for little ones and this super quick activity…even 20 seconds will do… can really help! This post is part of our When You Only Have A Minute series.
This is when we look at a number of objects and instantly know how many there are. Apparently we’re biologically limited to only doing this with up to 4 or 5 randomly spaced objects. When objects are placed symmetrically, like with a 10 frame, it’s easier to know up to 10 objects.
This is when we automatically know, for example, 4 + 2 = 6.
So if we see two small groups of objects we shouldn’t have to say to ourselves 4 + 2 = ?, our brains should just automatically know the answer without too much conscious thought.
Better than counting?
Such an emphasis is placed on counting with young children, but it’s interesting that research is showing that this instant number knowledge is a much higher predictor of later success in math. No wonder we’re emphasising it more these days!
What you’ll need
Download this subitizing printable HERE, then print off whatever dice you would like to use onto card. I don’t recommend using copy paper as it’s difficult to construct the dice and get lots of use out it, in other words, paper cubes are super easy to squish!
Simply cut out each die shape, fold on the dotted lines and glue the die together by its tabs.
How to play
Easier: A child rolls 1 die and tries to name how many objects they see. They might need to start out counting, but the focus should be on getting them to practice over time until they can say ‘how many’ instantly, without really thinking about it. This is a good goal for PK and Kinder kids.
Harder: A child rolls 2 dice, sees how many objects there are on each cube, then adds them together and says how many in total. Again, they will probably need to start with counting or adding the second number to the first, but the goal is to aim for automatic knowledge.
Even harder: Spin 3 or even 4 cubes at once to increase speed for addition to 20!
Addition to 10
Each cube goes from 0 to 5 so using 2 dice allows a maximum of 10, which is a good number for Gr 1 kids to aim to recognise.
Fluency within 5
If you’re looking for fun, low stress games to give your kids confidence with numbers to 5 check out this pack. It includes 7 different games and activities.
Did you download your printable yet?
If not, here is the Subitizing When You Only Have a Minute printable again!
I wish you happy teaching and learning!