Storytime with Karen – 1,2,3 Count With Me

5,4,3,2,1, … Blast off into counting!

1 to 10 and then back again!

Developmentally, children will begin to count with numbers from two to three years of age. The skills children develop as infants, toddlers and preschoolers are cumulative and form the basis for later skill development. From counting fingers and toes to counting sheep or the stars in the night sky, there are many wonderful picture books to introduce children to numbers and counting.

Books to Read

How Many Jelly Beans?

how many jellybeans

Not many picture books explore numbers as large as one million. But this giant picture book is a fun and easy way to introduce children to large numbers. Emma and Aiden have to decide how many jelly beans are enough and how many jelly beans are too many. At first, they don’t think it’s possible to have too many jelly beans. But can you have too many? Starting with ten jelly beans, each page reveals more and more, leading up to a big fold-out surprise – one million jelly beans! That’s right, one million of them! The brightly coloured jelly beans illustrate big numbers in a way that engages children and makes big numbers fun. A winning combination of numbers and candy.

None the Number: a counting adventure

None the number

Lots of picture books explore counting one to ten, but not many tackle the concept of ‘none’. In this counting adventure, the Huey’s love numbers. From one to ten and back again. However, they are faced with a counting conundrum. Is zero or ‘none’ a number? It’s certainly less than one. But does that make it a number? The Huey’s showcase a series of things from one to ten. For example, the number of Kevin’s daily tantrums (four) and the number of seagulls wanting Frank’s chips (nine). And then at the end, when all of these things are gone, you are left with none. A fun counting story by award-winning author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers.

20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

20 big trucks in the middle of the street

An ice-cream truck breaks down and blocks the middle of a street. One by one, trucks of all types and sizes are piling up. From a mail truck to a garbage truck, until twenty trucks are stuck. This offers a great opportunity for counting and the rhyming text is good for reading aloud. The use of numerals in the text encourages number recognition and children will identify with the small boy on his bike watching the traffic jam unfold. How will the traffic jam be cleared and who will come up with the solution? An engaging counting book for any child who likes trucks.

A Counting Rhyme for You

Bubble, Hop and Stop

blowing bubbles

One bubble, 2 bubbles, 3 bubbles, top.
(Fingers count up, tap head once on ‘top’, pop up to standing)
4 bubbles, 5 bubbles, 6 bubbles, hop.
(Fingers count up, then hop)
7 bubbles, 8 bubbles, 9 bubbles, pop!
(Fingers count up, clap hands at ‘pop’)
10 bubbles floating down, time to stop.
(Sit down)


Craft Idea

Make a Counting Hand

Hand craft

This is a very basic craft that can be used with all of our storytime children. The cutting helps develop fine motor skills and the counting element assists with building the association between numbers and amounts (i.e 2 blue dots = number 2)

Ask your child to trace around your hand (a bigger hand works better for this activity). Decorate dots on fingers with scrunched crepe paper or sticker dots. Take care to put the correct number of dots on each finger. Decorate the rest of the hand (maybe draw a face on it). Cut the ‘Counting Hand’out and tape a drinking straw or popstick to the back.

And Remember: Reading for pleasure is the most important indicator of the future success of a child. Happy reading!

PS If you have a favourite counting book or counting rhyme or craft idea, I would love to hear about it.


Author: Karen

I completed my tertiary qualification in Library and Information Studies in 1991 and began my career as a Librarian at the Supreme Court Law Library in 1992. Later that same year, I took a position as a Reference Librarian at the Perth Public Library and have been working in public libraries ever since. I have become very interested in the importance of early literacy and the significant relationship between reading for pleasure and the future success of a child.

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Storytime with Karen – 1,2,3 Count With Me

by Karen time to read: 3 min




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