Toddler Storytime – Counting

Counting (1)

We had a bunch of fun at storytime this week learning about numbers and practicing counting together. You know it’s a good storytime when the fourth session of the week ends, and you just want to do it all over again!

Welcome Song: “We clap and sing hello” (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

We clap and sing hello, 
we clap and sing hello
With our friends at storytime, 
we clap and sing hello!
(We stomp and sing hello…
We wave and sing hello…)

Sign: “Number”

After I introduced the theme, we counted how many fingers we had, how many ears, and how many noses (teehee!).

STEM Activity: Estimation

I started by explaining that “estimate” means that we take our best guess as to how many of something there are. I had three jars filled with different items (pom-poms, clothespins, and bottle caps), and I held up the one with pom-poms and asked if they could help me guess how many were in the jar. Most of the little ones were pretty quiet, but a few ventured an adorable guess of “two” or “three.” Some of the parents chimed in with guesses, or urged the older kids in the room to guess. I opened up the jar and we counted the pom-poms together (there were fourteen).

Then I held up the other two jars and explained that while I’m sure we could do it, we weren’t going to count these ones, since they were pretty big numbers, but I asked them to guess how many, and I had the numbers written on the inside of the lids. A few kids gasped at the big numbers (thirty-five clothespins and forty-eight bottle caps).

I realize that this is a pretty advanced activity for a toddler crowd, but the idea was to introduce them to the concept of estimation and to give their caregivers an idea of the different ways they can encourage math skills in their children, besides just counting. Although the littlest ones may not have quite fully grasped it, I think it was worthwhile and I definitely had their attention throughout the activity.

Song with puppets: “Five Little Ducks”

Five little ducks went out one day
over the hills and far away
Mother Duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
But only four little ducks came back
 
(Four… Three… Two… One… None of her little ducks came back)
 
(Sadly) Poor mother duck went out one day
over the hills and far away
Mother Duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And all five of her little ducks came back!

Counting (4)

We counted the little ducks before the song, but I also asked my storytimers to help me count them again after the song, just to make sure they really did all come back. I mostly did this to calm the fears of a few of the kiddos who seemed a little disturbed by the thought of the missing ducklings!

(Okay, so a couple of the ducklings are actually chicks… Shhh!)

Book 1: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

Song: “Jumping and Counting” – Jim Gill, from the CD Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem

Rhyme: “One, Two Buckle My Shoe”

Before reciting this one, I shared with the parents and caregivers that learning nursery rhymes helps children develop Language and Cognitive skills.

One, Two, Buckle my shoe;
Three, Four, Shut the door;
Five, Six, Pick up sticks;
Seven, Eight, Lay them straight;
Nine, Ten, A big fat hen!

After reciting the rhyme, we “read” the next book together, since it uses the same words (with the addition of a few extra lines at the end).

Book 2: Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

Rhyme: “Hickory Dickory Dock”

Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)
The mouse ran up the clock (bring arms up above head)
The clock struck one (clap once)
The mouse ran down (arms roll back down in front of you)
Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)

Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)
The mouse ran up the clock (bring arms up above head)
The clock struck two (clap twice and count 1, 2)
The mouse he FLEW! (bring arms back down in front of you)
Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)

Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)
The mouse ran up the clock (bring arms up above head)
The clock struck three (clap three times and count 1, 2, 3)
The mouse said “Wheee!” (bring arms back down in front of you)
Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)

Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)
The mouse ran up the clock (bring arms up above head)
The clock struck four (clap four times and count 1, 2, 3, 4)
The mouse said “no more” (shake head)
Hickory Dickory Dock (swing arms back and forth like a pendulum)

Song: “You Have Two Arms” (Tune: You Are My Sunshine)

You have two arms, they are for waving
You have two feet to go stomp stomp
You have two eyes, they are for blinking
And a bottom to sit with a bump

Book 3: Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr.

Closing Song: “Icky Sticky Bubble Gum” – David Landau

Craft: Pete the Cat coloring page and circular stickers for his “four groovy buttons.”

I couldn’t find a great coloring page of Pete, so I drew my own. The “buttons” are just those circular stickers that are used for labeling.

I don’t know if it is a reflection of the success of this particular storytime, or if I’ve just finally earned the trust of the storytime grown-ups, but I am happy to say that I had to make additional copies of my handout this week. Hooray!

A few parents and caregivers approached me after storytime to tell me how much fun this one was. One sweet little “storytime regular” brought her coloring page up to me and asked if I would spray it with water. Good memory from our water-themed storytime craft two weeks ago!

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