Combining classic stories and activities is a great way to develop literacy and other skills at the same time. In this Jack and the Beanstalk Maths Activity for toddlers and preschoolers, we get hands-on bringing the classic story to life and work on some numeracy and literacy skills. Stories are fabulous tools to use in learning because children naturally love stories and with a story, everything is just more fun!
Jack's Beanstalk Maths Activity Skills
We worked on various skills with this fun activity:
- Number recognition
- Fine motor skills
- Counting up to 10
- Counting backward, from 10 to 1
- Skip counting in 2's
- Recalling(memory) and retelling(language) the story
We have included links to the products and books used in this activity. If you buy from these links we may earn a small commission.
What you need for this count and climb Jack and the beanstalk activity
- Tall cardboard roll(gift wrap rolls are great)
- Green craft foam or green cardboard
- Green craft sticks(or use plains ones you painted)
- Cotton wool
- Cardboard from an Amazon box or similar
- Craft knife
- Marker pen
Jack and the Beanstalk Books
There are many different versions of the story that you could read aloud with your children before starting this activity we have selected our 4 favourites below and provided affiliate links to them on Amazon - if you purchase any of them we may earn a small commission based on the sale.
For the youngest children, we recommend this Jack and the Beanstalk board book which provides a lovely introduction to the tale as well as comes with an audio version so that you can play it in the car or at bedtime for your little ones.
Both of my children love the illustrations of Nick Sharratt and also his funny way of retelling and making up stories. In this Lift the flap Jack and the Beanstalk which is ideal for sharing with toddlers and preschoolers there also is a CD to listen aloud to together.
We have a collection of the Ladybird First Favourite Tales as they were a great introduction to the classic fairy tales and in a condensed and simplified language ideal for reading together, they were also some of the first books that my daughter started to read independently outside of the school reading scheme. This version of Jack and the Beanstalk and the other fairy tales would make a perfect addition to your bookshelf for your baby through to school age reading together and then independently.
A classic keepsake this Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg is the one that follows the original story the best and has beautiful classic illustrations inside.
Setting up the Count and Climb Jack and the Beanstalk Activity
First, cut ten leaves from your craft foam or cardboard.
You can add more (up to 20) for your older child. Add the leaves to the craft sticks.
Then make slits in the cardboard roll for the craft sticks to fit in. Number these slots to correspond with your leave sticks.
For the giant's castle: cut the cardboard in the shape of a castle and add the windows and doors with a marker. Glue this onto the top of the cardboard roll together with the cotton wool for "clouds".
More Fairy Tale Inspired Activities for Kids
Time to play!
Let your child add the beanstalk leaves, here he will need to use his number recognition skills, counting skills and fine motor skills.
Climb and count up the beanstalk! We used our Duplo man as Jack and as he climbed up and up, my son(3.5 years old) did the counting.
Older kids can let "Jack" jump up the leaves in 2's etc. to work on skip counting.
When coming down from the castle, your child can count backward until Jack reaches the ground. My son made an ax with leftover cardboard and at the end, he "chopped" off the leaves(pulling out the sticks) so the giant can't get down!
We played this over and over(and over) again. Later he played all by himself and made up his own stories too. Thus making this simple toy great for imaginative play too!
A fun counting(and playing) activity to go along with the story Jack and the Beanstalk! I am sure your child will love it just as much.
Nadia is a South African mommy of two and a therapist at an elementary remedial school.
She blogs over at Teach me Mommy about easy and playful activities with the aim to teach.