One of the best ways to introduce math to your child is with the help of these fun Books for Early Math Skills. Your kids are sure to love these!
When your little one is a baby or a toddler, you think of all the ways you can encourage him or her to learn. You get books about ABCs, sing nursery rhymes and play peek-a-boo. The last thing on your mind is teaching your baby math!
However, mathematics is everywhere, and whether you realize it or not, babies and toddlers are learning math as they play. Everyday interactions and play teach them elementary concepts about mathematics. If you’d like to give this learning a boost from an early age, you can start with books.
In fact, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute considers books to be a great way to bring a subject like Math to life. Math is all around us, and to a young child, it can bring a sense of wonder and curiosity. You can encourage these through books written by experts that are specially targeted at young children. Books for young kids should be engaging, colorful and fun – that’s the only way to build a love for mathematics at the start.
Today we’ve got a list of 20 children’s books for early math skills, teaching concepts like numbers, shapes, measurement and patterns. There are books from different cultures, featuring birds, animals and even monsters!
20 Children’s Books for Early Math Skills
1. Baby Goes to Market (1 Year+)
This lovely book won the Mathical prize in 2018 and is based on a Nigerian mother and baby. As Mama shops in a market, the cute baby gets little gifts from the shopkeepers. By the end of the shopping trip, she has collected quite a stash! This is an adorable book for babies and toddlers, and the concept of counting and how adding increases the quantity is brought out very cleverly.
2. Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On (2 Years+)
This book by Lois Ehlert is one that grows with your child. Initially, your baby may be attracted to the bright simple pictures, but she’ll soon move to identifying numbers, counting and also learning about colors and shapes. The text is simple and has a rhythm that long kids will love.
3. Mouse Count (2 Years+)
Your toddler will enjoy this book as it features a bunch of tricksters who will remind the kids of themselves! Although the title mentions mice, it is actually the snake who’s doing the counting! The book does end with the snake eating up all the mice he counted, so if this might affect your child, you may want to keep this book when he’s a little older.
4. Hippos Go Berserk! (2 Years+)
What happens when a bunch of hippos get together? Well, they go bersek! This hilarious story is typical Sandra Boynton and if your child loves her other stories, she’ll love this book too. Counting hippos is just one half of the fun, seeing what happens later is the other half!
5. Eric Carle’s 123 (3 Years+)
This is the perfect book to introduce your toddler to numbers. After all, there is no one like Eric Carle to hold a child’s attention! The book features an array of animals, a new one being added on each page as the numbers increase. It only features numbers from 1 to 10, keeping it from getting overwhelmed for early learners.
6. Quack and Count (3 Years+)
The most popular duckling story we’ve heard is the one with the ugly duckling. However Keith Baker introduces us to a family of ducklings who are ready for a big event – their first flight! The seven ducklings get sorted into groups of different numbers, showing kids how different numbers can add up to get the same result.
7. Ten Black Dots (3 Years+)
After Freight Train, Donald Crews does his magic once again in this book about numbers. The book asks an important question – What can you do with ten black dots? Turns out, a lot! From the eyes of a fox to a snowman’s face all the way to the mighty sun, this counting book brings out the presence of math in our daily life.
8. The Shape of Things (3 Years+)
If you look around you, you’ll see that everything is made of shapes. This book reflects this concept in a creative way, showing how a shape isn’t just a shape – it can become anything you want. The book encourages children to find shapes in things around them, and they’ll have fun digging out shape details in the colorful illustrations.
9. Inch by Inch (3 Years+)
This book is by Caldecott Honor winner Leo Lionni, published way back in 1960 and still popular today! The artwork in this book is beautiful, in the form of a collage of things found in nature. The story is about a little inchworm who has the ability to measure everything he sees – until he meets someone who challenges his measuring skills!
10. Sheep Won’t Sleep: Counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s (4 Years+)
This book is also a Mathical prize winner and takes on the next level of counting. Once kids are familiar with basic counting, they can progress to counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s. The book makes this seemingly complex task simple, with a fun story about a girl who has trouble sleeping – and when counting sheep doesn’t seem to work!
11. Absolutely One Thing (4 Years+)
Charlie and Lola are a popular pair, and there are many books featuring them and their various adventures. This book shows Charlie helping Lola with numbers as they set out toy shopping. Children will enjoy seeing how numbers relate to things they deal with in their daily lives, like stickers, shoes and pets. The pictures add to the humor of the story, and are sure to keep little ones hooked.
12. Feast for 10 (4 Years+)
We love this little heart warming book that perfectly shows the importance of math in everyday life, while also focusing on the value of family. The book features an African-American family getting ready to host guests, following them as they shop groceries, prepare dinner and sit down to eat. Along with Math, it also gets kids more involved in the process of prepping for a meal.
13. The Right Number of Elephants (4 Years+)
You’ve heard of jokes that start with ‘how many men does it take to change a bulb’. Well, in this book, a little girl has a different question – how many elephants does it take to paint the ceiling? That should indicate how much fun this book is, and kids will enjoy the girl’s quirky questions while also learning about less, more and counting in reverse.
14. Have You Seen My Monster? (4 Years+)
It’s easy to get lost at the fair, and in this book, a girl has lost her friend – who happens to be a monster! This interactive book encourages kids to search for clues in the illustrations. The book goes beyond basic shapes like circles and squares and takes it to others like ellipses and polygons. This is a book that should keep kids busy for a while!
15. 12 Ways to Get to 11 (4 Years+)
16. Rooster’s Off to See the World (4 Years+)
The title of this book is intriguing – a rooster sets off to see the world, wonder what happens next? Well, it’s an Eric Carle book, so it’s obvious that he’s going to be joined by some animal friends on the way! His group expands as he sets out and gradually dwindles as he returns home. As always, the images are gorgeous, and helps kids understand how addition and subtraction work.
17. Mice on Ice (4 Years+)
The title should give you an indication that this book is going to be great for a read-aloud session! As the name suggests, there are some mice skating on ice, and the blades of their skates create magic on the ice. It’s fun to go through this quirky story and kids will have no idea about what to expect next!
18. Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale (5 Years+)
What if you had a magic pot that doubled everything you put into it? That would be amazing, wouldn’t it? Well, this pot does exist in this Chinese folktale about an old couple who have a fun time with the magical pot! The book features some truly stunning artwork, and kids will enjoy looking at the details in the pictures. They’ll also learn that sometimes a boon can turn into a bane in a short time!
19. Elevator Magic (6 Years+)
This book will be loved by kids who have experienced using an elevator to go up and down. Ben travels on an elevator and the ride turns out to be a crazy one as he sees all kinds of things on each floor! Kids will enjoy the humor in the book while also learning about subtraction along the way.
20. Each Orange Had 8 Slices: A Counting Book (6 Years+)
Along with reading these books, you can also try out some simple math activities that’ll make sure kids get a more practical idea of basic mathematical concepts. The best of all learning is done as they go about their days, so involve them in activities like shopping, cooking, measuring or climbing stairs, so you can turn every activity into a learning opportunity!