How Many Are Hiding?

“How many do we have? Close your eyes, I’m going to hide some. Open you eyes! How many are hiding?”

You can play this game in many different ways, with many different objects (fingers, pennies, stuffed animals, toys, and even with people). You can hide things with your hand, with a cup, or, for large things, such as people or stuffed animals, with a blanket or a piece of furniture. When counting how many things children are practicing reciting number words in the correct order, using one-to-one correspondence, and counting to know how many (cardinality) or even subitizing (knowing how many immediately). In order to figure out how many are hiding, children have to remember how many there were in all, look at how many they can see, and then figure out how many were taken away (e.g. how many are hiding). When children are just starting they may have to name how many they can see first, before figuring out how many the can’t see.  As children gain more experience, teachers can increase the number of objects. Children also enjoy doing the covering—in this case they still need to do the work to make sure their partner gets it right!

About the Math


How to Play


Formative Assessment: Preschool Math Look Fors



Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
Classic counting picture book: one black dot makes a sun, 2 black dots the eyes of a fox, and three black dots a snowman, etc. As you read, have the group count the dots on the page together. This book is a great compliment to the dot card games where kids are practicing one-to-one counting and subitizing. As an extension have kids put 1-10 circle stickers on a page and draw their own designs.

You can use this book to extend the idea that numbers are composed of parts by finding the smaller numbers of dots that are part of the whole. For example, on the 6 dot page one hand holds 3 new marbles while the other hand holds 3 old marbles—3 and 3 are 6. The train has 4 pairs of 2 wheels that make 8 wheels (dots) total.

Quack and Count by Keith Baker
The seven ducklings in the books split into all the whole number combinations that make seven. First children count all seven ducks, then the ducks slide, hide, chase, splash, and quack in the combinations 6 + 1; 5 + 2; 4 + 3; 3 + 4; 2 + 5; 1 + 6, and finally all seven fly. This book helps children understand that numbers are composed of smaller numbers. This is the same mathematical idea in the How Many Are Hiding game—numbers are composed of parts that make up the whole.                                                       

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Elhert
This counting book is a pleasure to read aloud with beautiful, vivid illustrations. The narrator imagines she has turned into fish and to “flip down rivers and splash in the sea.” One each page, children can count the fish 1 to 10. The little narrator fish includes a simple addition problem on each page such as, “4 striped fish plus me makes 5.” Children enjoy counting the fish or sometimes the fish eyes as you read the book. For a challenge, they can try the “plus one” problem on each page. At the art table, children would enjoy making their own illustration of fish to count. To make their fish, they could glue color bits of paper on to their page or use crayons, markers, or paint. Children enjoy narrating their own picture and having you write down what they say.