Learning About Numbers – Subitising and Number Recognition

Learning about numbers - subitising and number recognition | Octavia and Vicky

I haven’t shared any of our favourite kids apps for a while – mostly because we haven’t been using them. Interests have been elsewhere! However, in the last week Pebble has been asking to play a game again, and it’s always the same one. She really loves Baby Bus – Baby Learns Numbers (not sponsored – just love it!). Baby Bus has LOTS of different apps available, but this is the one that has taken Pebble’s fancy. Perhaps the interest in number comes from her recent birthday and talking about being three, not two?

The game is played by looking at a group of objects – different types of fish – in a row. The child needs to try to count how many objects there are and match it to the correct bucket below.

Technology for Kids: Baby Bus App - Numbers | Octavia and Vicky

This game is just the right level for Pebble at the moment, and might be fun for your child if they:

  • enjoy counting or are interested in numbers
  • can subitise and/or count up to 10 objects
  • can recognise some or all of the numerals from 1 to 10

So, um… what’s the subitising business? That’s teacher-talk for being able to recognise the number of objects in a small group, without counting. At the moment Pebble can subitise up to 3 with accuracy, sometimes 4.

Pebble can recite the numbers 1 – 12 accurately. Reciting numbers in order is different from being able to count a group of objects correctly. Pebble can count a group of up to six objects correctly, often getting confused when the number gets higher than that. The app is very forgiving – if the child chooses the wrong answer the first time they can just choose another answer until they get it right.

As a parent I like this app because:

  • it has clear sound, pictures and numbers
  • it is repetitive – it counts the objects out loud each time
  • the music is optional! (thank goodness for the mute button)
  • it does not increase in difficulty as it goes along – that would be too tricky for Pebble’s age
  • it can be played in a few minutes – that’s enough screen time

If your child is still learning to recognise the numerals 1 – 10 you can talk about the shapes of the numerals to help them find the correct answer. Pebble can point and count to each object to find out how many objects there are, but sometimes doesn’t know which bucket to choose. I might suggest that the numeral she is looking for is ‘pointy’, ‘curly’.

Taking it further – Play Time!

I love a good app, but I also love taking a child’s interest to the next level and into the real world. So your child is interested in learning about numbers? Try these fun, hands on games for learning to subitise and recognise numerals.

Learning About Numbers - Subitising and Number Recognition | Octavia and Vicky
Dice Bingo and Numerals Card Game – both from Lessons Learnt Journal

Learning About Numbers - Subitising and Number Recognition | Octavia and Vicky

Sorting and Subitising with Egg Cartons – from Learn with Play at Home

Pebble ~ Three years old (36 months)

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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