Along with singing our counting rhymes and songs, we love to add some number books to our book basket each week to see the numbers, count the objects on the page and also to get to associate the words with the number names. This selection of number and counting books combines a mix of early board books and some number books that you can read aloud with older preschoolers that introduce concepts like ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc…). For more book recommendations and ideas check out our books lists for Toddlers and Preschoolers to find ideas to read together throughout the years.
Simple Counting Board Books to Share with Young Toddlers and Babies
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Our first choice for babies and young toddlers is Duck & Goose 1, 2, 3 by Tad Hills. This simple book features these two loveable characters and has clear simple sentences as well as great colourful illustrations that make pointing and counting the number of objects on each spread in the book easy.
By the classic children’s author Rod Campbell this rhyming numbers board book for babies and toddlers is ideal to share. 123 by Rod Campbell has familiar farm animals and lets you count the number of animals on the page working from 1 through to 10.
Featuring the classic illustrations of Eric Carle this book counts the number of animals in the zoo – 1, 2, 3 To the Zoo has a train and on that train, a number of animals can be found in the carriages. Count along and point out the number in the corner of each spread with your baby or toddler and help them to start to associate the number with the spoken number.
Our featured Number book for the Virtual Book Club for Kids Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh is great to read together with your toddlers and preschoolers. Counting forward and backwards the greedy snake places the mice in the jar and then the clever mice escape back out leaving the snake hungry. You and your child can count from 1 – 10 as you put the mice in the jar and then from 10 – 1 as they tumble out. Match the number words with the numbers as you read and help your child to build the relationship with the words and numbers.
Another fun Eric Carle book 10 Little Rubber Ducks takes you on a voyage exploring the world with these 10 little rubber ducks that have fallen overboard. At the simplest level you can use the book to count to 10 with. However, it’s a great back for using to discussing directions, positional words and ordinal numbers. A valuable book to add to your collection for storytelling with maths.
Pete the Cat is a popular storybook character and this book Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is fun to read together and count backwards. It’s another one that has repetition, rhyme and you can even sing the song along with Pete the Cat. Look and match up the numbers and the words with older preschoolers helping them to learn the number name words as well.
In One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, a duck is stuck in the mud and the animals on the farm help him try and escape the mud. With the farm animals in groups from 1 animal solo to 10 animals, they can’t unstick the duck until they all work together. Count out the numbers of farm animals on the page and flip back and count the 2 fish and the 3 moose together introducing addition as you read together.
Inspired by the counting rhyme five little monkeys this book Ten Little Monkeys by Child’s Play is great to read with your toddlers and preschoolers especially if they know the rhyme as well. We particularly liked the cut outs from the book as the monkeys fall off the bed.
One of the early years goals for mathematics in the UK is to work on “counting numbers in irregular arrangements”Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews, so those not seen in a line or in the patterns as they would be seen on a die. In the book, you and your child can count along with the black dots as they change arrangements and get used as different things throughout the story from the moon to the eyes on a set of keys.
Counting beyond 10 the book Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr is great as those numbers race up the tree. Focusing on the number itself you can point out the numbers which are in bold as well as climbing the tree as you say them.
Kids love large numbers – and bugs and in Centipede’s 100 Shoes by Tony Ross you guessed it there are 100 shoes… 50 left and 50 right. With fun illustrations and a funny tale this book is a great number book for your preschoolers talking about large numbers and funny creatures.
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Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.