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Subitizing... WHAT is THAT?




When I first started teaching, I heard this word for the first time, and even I didn't know exactly what it was until I put it into practice. Subitizing is the skill that helps us recognize "how many" (objects, dots, toys, etc.) without needing to count. For example, when an adult or older child looks at dice, they almost immediately recognize how many dots are 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 without needing to count. This isn't so for our preschoolers and early Kindergarten students. This skill actually needs a lot of practice, but luckily it's easy to do with board games and authentic experiences. See the "printables" section for a print out memory game that can help students practice at home. Youtube has some great songs and videos as well.


For some low or no prep ideas, try seeing how fast they can identify numbers on dominos or play with your fingers! Hold up a few fingers and have your child practice seeing how fast you and your child can both identify the number without counting! Young children may need to practice with counting first (we'll talk about 1:1 correspondence in a different post). This is part of learning and once they get counting down, they can practice subitizing. Being able to quickly recognize numbers will come in handy for future math skills like addition and subtraction, as well as being able to do mental math. If your child takes awhile to learn this skill, don't worry! With practice and time they'll get it.

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