Can You Find Me ?

A child with good mathematical skills would be able to immediately tell the number of objects in a small group. When the children play with dice, they quickly know the number of dots on the dice. They don’t have to count. This ability to recognize the number of objects in a small group is called subitising.

Subitising is a basic maths skill. Subitising helps to develop a good number sense. The aim of this activity is to improve the subitising skill of the child. At first, the child may have to count the objects. When the child does the activity several times, he may develop the ability to tell the number of objects without counting.

To help the children to develop the ability of subitising, care is taken in this activity to present the problem by grouping the objects. See the example below.


If the child can understand that there are two groups of three apples, it becomes easy for the child to get the answer.

One more example is given below.


Here, the groupings are two and three. The child can  get the answer without actually counting .

In the hint we have suggested: Count Again. This is only to help the child to get the answer. Repeated practise would help the child to learn the skill of subitising which would be very useful when the child does addition and subtraction.

Tips for parents

Does your child have difficulty in maths? Does she have a good number sense?

This activity is to improve the number sense of your child. A parent can help the child in many ways. The most important thing for a parent to do is to accept the child without any conditions. Unconditional acceptance is the first step in handling your child.

Accept the fact that the child has difficulty in maths. Seek remedial measures and patiently teach your child. Praise your child as often as possible. Your expectations from the child should match with her/his abilities. Don’t get upset when the child, who is otherwise bright, is not able to understand even basic concepts in maths.

You try to develop activities that can make her/him understand the concepts.

For developing subitising skills you can use your fingers. You can show four fingers in one hand and ask the child how many fingers are there. Similarly, using both hands you can show three fingers in one hand and two fingers in the other hand. Many combinations are possible.

You can also use seeds- tamarind seeds or pumpkin seeds- to teach subitising. Any number of combinations is possible. You can use objects like pebbles, small paper balls etc. to teach subitising. You can arrange the material in small groups.

Using a white board with different colour ink pens can be very useful. Different patterns can be drawn on the board.

The internet provides many useful exercises.

Parents can make their own resources.

Parents can use the internet and get several types of activities of this nature. Subitising videos are available in the net. Also search for “Subitising worksheets.”