Last Updated: Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Dice games – early level

What is this?

This activity encourages children to use dice confidently by recognising the dot formations. When using the dice children are encouraged to identify how many dots are showing without counting (subitising).

This learning activity is intended to support teachers and practitioners to plan learning experiences for children in their usual setting or while they are learning at home. As well as taking account of national and local guidance relating to Covid-19, the activity should be used or adapted accordingly to consider the range of learners and their prior knowledge and individual circumstances in relation to this learning experience.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Early level

I am developing a sense of size and amount by observing, exploring, using and communicating with others about things in the world around me. MNU 0-01a

Purpose of the activity

This activity encourages children to use dice confidently in their play. This will help children to develop skills in subitising.

Learning activity

  • Invite children to play the online game Subitising. This encourages them to subitise using a dice. The game can be played more than once to see how quickly children can recognise the number of dots being displayed.
  • There are many simple games that can be played with a dice. For example, choose a number and roll the dice. You score a point every time you roll that number. When you roll that number, you get another turn. When that number is not rolled, the turn is over. Children could keep a tally for each time they roll their number. First one to a certain score, for example, 10 is the winner!
  • Another game you could play is ‘Bugs’. You will need a dice and paper/crayons/pens to draw the bug. It would be helpful to have a completed picture of a ‘bug’ for children to have for reference during the game.
  • In this game each number on the dice represents one part of the bug, for example, number 1 is the body, 2 is the head, 3 is the legs, 4 is the eyes, 5 is the antenna and 6 is the tail. Each player needs to roll a 1 to start and then can add each detail to each part. For example, you cannot add eyes until you have rolled a 2 for the head! The first player to finish their bug wins. This can be made more challenging by requiring a 3 for each leg and a 4 for each eye. The game can also be varied to create a rabbit, cat, snowman, face, mouse, etc. You can decide what number on the dice represents each part to go on the picture.

National benchmarks

  • Recognises the number of objects in a group, without counting (subitising) and uses this information to estimate the number of objects in other groups.
  • Checks estimates by counting.
  • Applies counting skills to ask and answer questions, makes relevant choices and decisions based on that data.

Possible approach to assessing learning

Some of the following may be useful in supporting you to assess and celebrate children’s progress:

  • How confident are children in subitising? Can they subitise for all representations on the dice?
  • To what extent do they use counting to support their judgements?

When planning your approach to assessing learning, please take account of the latest guidance on assessment approaches.

Resource subject Numeracy and mathematics
Resource type Learning activity
Resource format Webpage