How to teach Subitizing concept to preschoolers

Basic math skill for kids-Number sense
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Kids Activities, Preschool activities

Subitizing for kids

Benefits

Understanding number sense and basic math

Age

After 3.5 years

Materials needed

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

Table of contents

What is subitizing

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.

  • Perceptual subitizing.
  • 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

Conceptual Subitizing

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.

1.Dot matching activity

Basic math skill for kids-Number sense
  • It is a very simple DOT matching activity
  • I have drawn DOTS from 1 to 5 and made matching dots too
  • The child has to match the correct number of dots without counting.
  • That's when it is subitizing concept when the matching happens without counting.

2.Mark the line to matching DOTS

Basic math skill for kids-Number sense
  • It is a very simple DOT matching activity
  • I have drawn DOTS from 1 to 5 and made matching dots too
  • The child has to match the correct number of dots without counting and draw the line
  • That's when it is subitizing concept when the matching happens without counting.

3.Grid matrix

Basic math skill for kids-Number sense
Basic math skill for kids-Number sense
  • Instead of simple DOT matching activity, i have prepared as a grid matching
  • Mentioned numbers in the column and colors in the row
  • And prepared separate sheets ,where it has different number of dots (1 to 4 ) on all those colors mentioned in row
  • Child has to visually look at the dots and find the correct matching number
  • And then they have to keep the exact piece in the corresponding box.
  • This is a great Subitizing activity, visual discrimination activity and logical thinking activity for kids
Basic math skill for kids-Number sense

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.
  • While folding clothes, sorting vegetables/fruits 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.
  • This activity can be extended further more as per the age of children.I have mentioned upto preschool age.

Summary

Subitizing is one of the great math skill ,a great visual concept which helps the child to think visually and logically. It is good to practice more on this concept of subitizing from young age.

Read more

1.Please CLICK HERE for more math concepts for kids.
2.Please CLICK HERE for more ideas on subitizing concept.
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