My mom brain is running through my to do list as I pull my twins along down the sidewalk. My daughter is singing and skipping. My son is taking long strides trying to step over each crack and counting them as he goes. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 he counts as I try to hurry him along.

It would be easy to miss that valuable learning is happening in this moment. As a busy adult, I am often focused on where we need to go and what I need to get done.

When I slow down and take that deep calming breath, I realize that he’s doing what he needs to do. Learning to count is one of the things on his long list of childhood to dos.

Learning number recognition and simple counting skills has long been recognized as an early childhood developmental milestone. There are so many great ways to introduce, practice, and develop number skills. Reading counting books is just one.

These are our favorite 10 counting books.

These counting books explore the concept in a variety of fun ways. Place these books in your reading area, include a few with a counting basket, or create a basket just for books about counting.

10 Great Counting Books for Kids

1. 1, 2, 3 to the zoo: a counting book by Eric Carle

If you kid loves zoo animals, this board book is the perfect counting book for them. Even if they don’t, Eric Carle has a found a creative and whimsical way to bring counting to the youngest audience.
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2. The Noisy Counting Book by Susan Schade and Jon Butler

This silly counting book is one of our absolute favorites. A little boy is trying to fish at a pond until one by one the animals start making noise. Your toddler will love counting and making animal noises along with the book. This is a great one to read aloud to a group.
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3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Eric Carle made the list twice because there are both fantastic and in different ways. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR is a classic for many reasons, but the creative way counting is built into the book is one of them. My son loved this book as a toddler mostly because he could poke his little fingers in the holes that the caterpillar crawled through as he counted. We have the board book and hardcover versions of this one.
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4. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

My kids love any book that you can sing so this was an easy favorite. There are several versions of this song in book form, but this is the best (in my opinion)! I adore Eileen Christelow’s silly little monkeys and the ending is most amusing.
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5. The High Street by Alice Melvin

This is such a cool book. The main character Sally has a list of 10 things she needs to buy and off she goes to the shops on High Street. All kinds of silliness can be found behind the flaps of the intriguing and detailed illustrations. The tiny details that make you peer closer reminds me of Mitsumasa Anno‘s beautiful work and the rhyming playful text makes this a perfect read aloud.
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6. One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root

A duck is stuck in the mud. So begins this charming and thoroughly entertaining romp in the mud. This one my kids loved starting in infancy and still find amusing. Great rhymes, amusing characters, and plenty of counting fun for all. The rhyming words make this another great group read aloud.
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7. One Gorilla by Anthony Browne

If you have a kid who loves primates – this is a winner. Anthony Browne’s startlingly realistic illustrations capture different species of primate from gorillas to gibbons to lemurs in a simple counting book format. The animals pop off the page with bright colors and incredible detail. A rare and stunning counting book.
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8. One Tractor: A Counting Book by Alexandra Siy

This is for every little boy and girl that crawls around on the ground with their trucks and tractors. Full of imagination and playful illustrations, this is an adventure. What starts with one tractor soon involves a band of pirates, ships, planes and more. A counting delight and a fun story of childhood mixed together perfectly.
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9. Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

This book was one of my daughters absolute favorites. She loved the textures on the tiny little ladybugs. She would curl up on my lap and rub her fingers across the ladybugs while we counted together. There are several versions of this book. One with monkeys. Another with stars. This particular one can only be bought used now, but I still have it on the list to remind you that some kids need that sensory element to their books.
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10. Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno

I read this book as a child (so it’s obviously not new) but it is still fabulous. It’s quirky detailed illustrations are timeless. There is a house on one page full of people and the one on the opposite page is empty. One by one the people move to the opposite house. This is a beautiful wordless book that invites you to peer closer and count everything you see.
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Did I miss your favorite? Make sure to let me know in the comments below!