Message in a Backpack™ Family Math Game: Subitizing
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Subitizing is the ability to “see” and recognize a small number of objects and know instantly how many there are without counting. Subitizing tells you what number you roll on a six-sided die—most adults no longer have to count the dots after playing board games for a while. It’s an important foundational skill for children’s development of number sense.
Try this activity with your child to expose them to subitizing!
- A five frame (helps children show quantities 1 through 5)
- Counters (shells, coins, etc.)
Five Frame Subitizing
Start the game by showing your child the quantities 1 through 5 in the five frame. Put one counter in the first box and say “one.” Now, it’s your child’s turn to show one. Next, put a counter in each of the first two boxes and say “two.” Take turns to five.
Play the game again, with your child going first.
Don’t worry if your child doesn’t catch on to subitizing right away. The important thing is to have fun and enjoy math together.
Photos © iStock Images and courtesy of the author
Message in a Backpack™ is available online in Spanish. Visit NAEYC.org/tyc to start reading now!
Deanna Pecaski McLennan, PhD, is a passionate early childhood educator, researcher, and writer from Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, who has spent over 20 years working with young children. As a teacher in Ontario’s full-day kindergarten program and a university instructor, she devotes her research and practice to exploring the potential for rich mathematics learning through playful inquiry and exploration.