How to teach subitizing concept to preschoolers

Subitizing concept for preschoolers
Kids Activities, Preschool activities



Understanding number sense


after 3.5 years

Materials needed

Any set of items- fruits, spoon etc. Paper, pen, colors.


Subitizing is a straightforward concept with the tricky word(at least to me!!). It is the ability to find the number of items or recognizing the number of things without counting them. Yeah!!! You got it right. If there are a certain number of the same items, we usually count and find the number of items. But finding it without the count is called subitizing. And yes!!! Only a small set of items. We can say 5 or 6 maximum for adults and a maximum of 4 for children. It is a little hard to find the number if it goes beyond that. But with the subitizing concept, we can find them too. Let’s have a look at them.

We can look subitizing into two ways.

1.Perceptual subitizing.

2.Conceptual subitizing

Perceptual subitizing

It is said to be visually recognizing a pattern instantly. Say, for example, If we have six apples, our mind quickly groups them into the category of 4 and 2. This quick visual sorting of any large group of items is called perceptual subitizing. If we look at any big group of objects (be it dots, real items, images, etc.), we sort them in small groups without counting. It seems so interesting, right!!!. Please go and check it right away. It was fun, indeed.

Perceptual subitizing

Conceptual Subitizing

Conceptual subitizing is understanding and recognizing a small group of items and adding them together. Say, adding the two groups which we found and said as perceptual subitizing.

Adding these two groups is said to be conceptual subitizing. 4+2 = 6.

It is our natural ability to do such thing. At the same time, it is good to introduce the concept as activities helps the child to sharpen the memory even more. Interested in looking at our activities. Scroll down to have a look at few simple activities which we did together.

Activities to practice subitizing

We did few activities to practice subitizing. Let’s have a look at them.

Subitizing concept for preschoolers
Subitizing concept for preschoolers
Subitizing concept for preschoolers
Subitizing concept for preschoolers

Other Ways to practice Subitizing:

  • While being at home, ask the child to say the number of items without counting. Say, for example, how many mobiles are there, how many spoons are there, etc.
  • Don’t stress out, though; start with a minimum number, say 1. 
  • While doing a counting activity, we can try this. Will be more useful 

Read more

1.Please CLICK HERE for various indoor activities for infants, toddlers and preschool kids
2.Please CLICK HERE for best book and toy recommendation for kids from Amazon
3.Please CLICK HERE to know more on subitizing concept from fellow blogger
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