Bring Math to Life With Picture Books

One of my very favorite ways to explore a new math concept and get kids excited to ask questions, dig deeper and explore math is by reading picture books. Learn why this can be such a powerful resource and find FREE extension activities and games to use with your favorite children’s literature.

Why Teach Math with Picture Books?

Don’t you just love a good story? Something that is so engaging you can’t stop reading? A story that makes you feel connected to the characters and excited to see how it turns out for them in the end?

As humans, we love stories. We are drawn to them and resonate with them and love to feel all the feels.

Our students are no different. They LOVE to listen to a new story, on the edge of their seat, just waiting to see what happens next.

And so when kids are reluctant to talk math, hear math or see math, they likely won’t turn down a good story.

This is why I love introducing math concepts through picture books. It is a non-threatening way to see math in someone else’s life and story, without having to feel anxious about dealing with the math myself.

Reading a picture book is something that every single student, regardless of ability level, can enjoy. And while they may not catch or understand all the math in the story, they will at least see it in action, hear appropriate math vocabulary and begin to make connections between what they already know and what they heard in the book.

Besides being an easy way to draw in reluctant or math anxious learners, teaching math with picture books allows you to:

  • Explore a new strategy for a particular math operation
  • See real life examples of math
  • Make connections between various math topics or between math and the world
  • Learn new math vocabulary
  • Visualize math concepts as you see it play out in the story and illustrations

The BEST Books to Explore Math Concepts:

I love gathering up my favorite resources and sharing them with YOU! On each of these pages you will find my favorite picture books you can use to teach, explore or review various math skills.

You can also grab printable book lists in each of these articles to take with you to the library (or search Amazon) as you build up your picture book collection.

Fun & FREE Extension Lessons for Your Favorite Picture Books:

I also love creating extension lessons or simple printable games that you can use along with reading engaging stories.

Below you will find an ever growing list of literature based math activities that are completely FREE to use. Simply click the graphics below to learn more about the book and activity. There you will be able to find the printable products in my shop.


1, 2, 3, Animals! A First Counting Book for Toddlers

“2×2=BOO!” Hands-On Multiplication Fun!

5 Simple Ways to Teach with Math Story Books

Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal {A Review}
Help introduce or reinforce multiplication and division with children's literature. This list includes all the best books to teach multiplication and division, and help them learn the tricky facts!
The Best Books to Teach Multiplication and Division

The Best Books to Teach Fractions

The Best Books to Teach Addition and Subtraction

The BEST Books to Teach Money Math

The Best Books to Teach Time Concepts

The BEST Counting Books for Kids
This is such a helpful list of books that can be used to teach place value and explore large numbers with kids! There are so many great ideas, as well as free resources
The Best Books to Teach Place Value and Large Numbers

Grow a Christmas Tree Farm! {FREE Math Game}

Exploring Math and Science in Your Own Backyard

Exploring Triangles with “The Greedy Triangle!”

Fairy Tale STEM: Literature Based Math and Engineering

Low Prep Fraction Coloring Pages with Twinderella {FREE}

FREE Pigs Will Be Pigs Money Lessons!

FREE “Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens” Activities!

{FREE} Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins Board Game!

From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Our Plans for the Week {And FREE Math Worksheets!}

Engaging Summer Math: Easy, Hands On & FUN Ideas

Let’s Get Cooking! {Math Fun in the Kitchen}

Math Curse Extension Activities! {FREE!}

{FREE} Creative Math Writing Prompt: The Day the __ Quit!

Measuring Dinosaurs: Engaging Measuring Activity for Kids!

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? Fall Estimation Fun!

“Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland” {FREE Printable Pack!}

Sir Cumference Lesson! {Euler’s Law}

Teach Kids to Be Curious Like Einstein

Tips for Teaching Math with Sir Cumference

Telling Time Early Math Reader {FREE Printable}

Telling Time with The Grouchy Ladybug! {FREE!}

Ten Apples Up On Top Math Game {FREE}

{FREE} Problem Solving Challenges based on “The Grapes of Math”

The King’s Chessboard Problem {Free Printables!}

The Lion’s Share: Lessons and Printables!
These fun and low prep learning activities are a great way to extend the learning with the book, "The Warlord's Beads." Teach kids about place value and large numbers and ancient China with this cute math storybook.
The Warlord’s Beads Extension Lessons {FREE Printable}

Top Math Resources of 2015!

Want a Unique Tangram Game to Challenge Your Kids?

Using Literacy Strategies to Teach Math

“We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt!” Fall Exploration Activity

Never Run Out of Fun Math Ideas

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