Saturday, February 7, 2015

Subitizing with Stickers

Subitizing is crucial for children to develop number sense. Subitizing is the ability to know the amount in the set without counting. It's an instant recognition.  Compare it to learning sight words.  It is instant recognition of the total. Our young children need many opportunities with counting objects in many arrangements to master this skill.

Here is a fun way to work on subtilizing using foam or raised stickers. The children can touch/feel/count and also practice on subitizing.  I used 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper and large heart sticks found at the Dollar Tree for these cards.  You can also use laminated card stock or 4x6 index cards.

I first arranged the stickers into dice configurations and let the children practice telling me what they saw.  "What do you see?" is an open-ended question which allows the children to work on their own level and encourages higher-level mathematical thinking.  Let's look at the arrangement in the picture above.  Some children will recognize there are 6.  Some children will see 3 + 3= 6.

I also make subitizing cards using two different colors.  Children can work on many different levels this way.  Some children will be counting the set to know that is has 5 hearts.  Some children will be working on subitizing or "knowing" there are 5 hearts without counting.   Some children will begin to see that 5 can be a set of 2 and 3 as show below with the 2 different number combinations.

Materials needed:

  • Paper
  • Stickers

Easy, peasy!  Lots of learning happening!

Have fun subitizing!  Don't forget to sign up by email at the top right corner of the page.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Do you go above 6 and if so how far do you go for preschool? Thanks, I like this idea!

    1. Yes, I go above 6 working up to 10. For preschool you want them to be secure with numbers to 5, then gradually increase their number until they are to subitizing 10. Begin using the same colors to represent the numbers. When they are secure in that area, then you can make them two different colors for higher leveling thinking skills. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. I make a lot of stickers for the kids and myself. Sometimes I make them because I need new labels. At other times, I make them just for fun. It's a good thing that the kids and their friends love stickers- I make and give tons away!​​avengers wall stickers