Looking for the BEST counting books for kids to spark an early love of reading and numbers? This list will get you started with books to teach counting, number recognition and more.
One of my favorite ways to engage kids with math and numbers is through reading picture books. This is a low-floor activity that allows all children to listen and participate, regardless of math ability. Plus, it’s a non-threatening way to see and learn about math for kids who are math anxious. In the past, I have put together a variety of book lists for introducing, reviewing or exploring various math concepts. Today I want to add a new book list to my collection: the BEST counting books for kids. Although you can certainly use any book to practice counting, these books are specifically designed to show numbers and counting in different ways.
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Finding Just Right Math Picture Books:
Typically, I categorize picture books depending on how specifically they focused on teaching math. For this list, however, I am focusing on books specifically written to help teach and practice counting.
The reason is that virtually any picture book can be used to practice counting. Just stop and observe the pictures to count objects, characters or compare quantities within the pages.
So if I were to try and include tier 3 books (engaging stories that were not written to teach math, but lend themselves to math learning), this list would never end.
So instead, I’m sharing books that tell a story AND teach about numbers and counting as well as books that don’t necessarily tell a story, but do focus on numbers and counting with engaging pictures and visuals.
So I hope this helps you to find just right math books to use to supplement your math curriculum or prepare your toddler or preschooler for Kindergarten math!
Also, please note that while I do include links to all of these books on Amazon (so you can learn more and see what they look like), you can likely find most of these at your local library. So there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars to build a counting book library (although if you have it to spend, go for it!)
The BEST Counting Books for Kids:
Ok, full disclosure, I am starting this list by sharing my own book. But I genuinely think this is a unique book for teaching numbers, counting and subitizing, in a way that other counting books do not. 😉
1, 2, 3, Animals! A First Counting Book for Toddlers, by Bethany Lake (available for pre-order, until released on April 21, 2020)
This book combines cute animals and a cute story with multiple subitizing visuals and representations of each number to 10. The letter at the beginning also lists ideas to help parents and teachers find ways to use this book to practice visualizing quantities (subitizing) and practice counting, both forwards and backwards.
Note: Because this book is new, you probably can’t find it at your local library. If you’re interested, I hope you will either purchase a copy on Amazon, or put in a request at your library to purchase a copy! 🙂
Richard Scarry’s Best Counting Book Ever, by Richard Scarry
This is an adorable story that will show kids that numbers and math are all around us. It’s also a fun way to practice counting all the way to 100!
How Do Dinosaurs Count to 10? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
This is a cute, rhyming board book that provides lots of practice with counting to 10 along with some fun dinosaurs. If you have a dino-obsessed kid, this is a fun way to get in some counting practice!
Counting Our Way to Maine, by Maggie Smith
This is another fun example of counting in real life that kids will love! All things are packed and counted as the family makes their way to Maine. This book shows counting objects up to 20.
Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef, by Marianne Berkes
This picture book will not only teach counting, but also teaches about the amazing animals of the ocean with fun rhymes (and a simple song you can sing to learn each rhyme).
Check out the full series of books to learn about animals from all over the world (and practice counting skills!):
- Over in the Grasslands: On an African Savanna
- Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme
- Over in the Forest: Come & Take a Peek
- Over in a River: Flowing Out to the Sea
- Over on a Desert: Somewhere in the World
- Over on a Mountain: Somewhere in the World
- Over in the Arctic: Where the Cold Winds Blow
We All Went on Safari, by Lauri Krebs
This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will teach kids about the animals of Tanzania and how to count in both English and Swahili.
On the Launchpad: A Counting Book About Rockets, by Michael Dahl
This fun picture book is great for kids who love outer space and rocket ships. Practice counting and find the hidden numbers in the pictures.
How Many Bugs in a Box? by David Carter
This is an older book, but if you can find it at your local library, your kids are sure to have fun with all the ‘pop up’ bugs as they practice counting!
Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra
The hilarious rhymes and antics of one clever monkey will be sure to entertain your little one. I would note that this counting book is a little more wordy, and so young toddlers may not be able to sit through it. Older kids, however, will find it delightful!
1 Big Salad by Juana Medina
This book doesn’t tell a story, but it will certainly encourage creativity as your kids count to 10 with Juana’s imaginative illustrations! It would be fun to give your kids a similar art challenge using objects from nature after reading this picture book together.
Hopefully this list of the best counting books for kids gives you some fun ideas for weaving together math and literature and encouraging a love of BOTH in your child or your students.
Looking for more literature based math ideas? See my complete resource page HERE.
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