I find myself reverting to using my fingers to count on at times when a mental arithmetic presents itself, (and my iPhone is not within reach). It’s just plain ridiculous. I do it because it gives me the correct answer and doesn’t require as much thinking as using addition facts. Sure, it gets me the right answer, but it’s slow (and a tad embarrassing to be caught still counting with fingers at my age). I am an inefficient user of maths. Hence my determination to help my children develop efficient numeracy strategies, lest they be caught like their mother still counting on their fingers when it’s clearly no longer cute to do so.

People who are efficient users of maths develop and use a range of methods to solving problems. They use addition facts automatically and combine and partition numbers (i.e. see both the parts and the whole of number relations) almost without a thought. For example, in the following image, efficient users of maths can automatically see the 3, the 2 and the 5.

Subitising helps children combine and partition numbers. Subitising is the process of immediately recognising how many items are in a small group; e.g. when a die is rolled and the number of dots is recognised without having to count the number of dots.

If your child is at the stage where they are unable to recognise and state the number of dots arranged in a standard die pattern for numbers one to six without counting the dots, this simple game of dice bingo will help them practise subitising so they can automatically identify and name a number when shown standard dice patterns.

You will need a die, a marker and a dice bingo sheet as shown. I added in numerals, but this may be omitted.

Simply roll the die, state the number of dots (without counting) and mark off the squares whenever a number appears.

When the squares are all coloured in BINGO! Have a reward handy for all the hard work.

N & M: 3 years, 9 months

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