Prior to snack or during dramatic play of restaurant, the adult can arrange a snack of Gold Fish or some small snacks on small tray. Place piles of four, five, and six crackers on the tray so that the amount is clearly seen in each pile. Place the piles in patterns such as seen on dice, as patterns are easier to recognize.
While acting as the server, the adult asks, “How many crackers would you like, Sir?” Let the child say a number and pick a pile. Say, “Please put that pile in front of you for a minute, Sir.” (This allows the child to see the visual referent.) “I need you to help me replace the pile you took for the next customer.” Hand the child a bag or bowl of the crackers and say, “Please take the same amount of crackers you took and make a pile on my tray, so I can ask the customer next to you how many she wants.”
In addition, the child should be able to recreate or match that pile, demonstrating the recognition of and ability to create a set.
Subitizing helps children with math because they begin to recognize amounts without having to count. Add to this the ability to “count on,” and determining amounts becomes much easier. Encourage parents to begin to play simple board games requiring counting up to six using one die. Dice use numbers in patterns that help children recognize amounts.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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