What is Subitizing for Preschoolers?

What is Subitizing?

For preschoolers, subitizing is the ability to see a small number of objects and, without counting, instantly know how many objects there are. Okay, you’re questioning whether a preschooler can grasp this concept – I get it. But for years most of the 3-5 year-olds I’ve taught have been able to catch on to the concept of subitizing after consistent practice. 

Why Teach Preschoolers Subitizing?

Subitizing is a number sense and number arrangement skill which will greatly assist kids later in school when they’re learning addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Knowing how to subtilize makes the process of addition and subtraction quicker by not having to count. The ability to recognize the number of objects that appear in sets without having to count speeds up the understanding and process of multiplication.

How To Teach Subitizing –

Playing games with dice is a great way to practice subitizing – kids won’t even know they’re learning a sophisticated math skill! Group crackers or grapes into sets – count sets for a time and then start asking “how many,” without counting. 

Subitizing Snack!  

One of my favorite ways to teach subitizing is to use whatever you’re having for snack. Let’s say it’s apple slices and crackers – sort into two groups and ask, “How many?” for both groups of snack. And, as a bonus, you’re practicing sorting skills with your preschooler all while just sharing a snack together!