Good books for a 2 1/2 year old who loves numbers?
January 15, 2017 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Our son is absolutely nuts about numbers (and letters, and other sequences or lists of things). His favorite books are all the kind where the first page has an 1, the second page has a 2, etc. But he needs more than just 10 things to count. Any recommendations?

The problem is, basically, his numeracy far outstrips his other capacities (or interests). He's not ready for bigger kids' books, but he's sort of bored with the ones otherwise geared for him.

His favorite book right now is 1-2-3 Peas but he doesn't even read it, he just turns right to the end where it shows numbers 1 to 100 all on one page, and he counts them in various ways, until I just hand him the book (he won't let me shut it) and start reading the next one.

His previous favorite was 1,000 Things That Go -- which is a (really awesome) book with drawings of 1000 different vehicles. He learned most of them, but he would come close to tantrums at the fact that this (and other books) don't consistently/correctly label things like front loaders, tracked excavators, or flatbed trucks. (This is definitely my kid!)

He does like story books, but those are in a similar vein. Like The Mitten, where the "story" is basically just a list of animals (bonus: arranged from smallest to largest!) But these tend to constitute pretty short lists, and that's the part he really seems to dig.

In short, he seems like the picture of a future bean-plating MeFite, so I figured this would be the place to get recommendations!
posted by bjrubble to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Our toddler likes 123 Count With Me by Georgie Birkett. It's a lift the flap book that goes to 20 and has some arithmetic.
posted by Kriesa at 11:22 AM on January 15, 2017

This book, Countablock, may have some additional features that he will like. I would buy it if I could justify it.
posted by Altomentis at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2017

Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever

Anno's Counting Book. And if he isn't ready yet for Anno's Counting House, it sounds like he will be soon.
posted by Redstart at 11:31 AM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's a series of books from Usborne called 1001 (things) to spot, like this one, or this one, that fascinate my almost three year old. She's definitely more verbal than numbers inclined, but you can count things FOREVER in these books.

I was going to suggest 1-2-3 Peas but I see he's got me there.
posted by lydhre at 11:33 AM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks, I'll check out these suggestions.

One thing I should have mentioned is that he doesn't treat books nicely and his fine motor skills are really not there yet, so anything involving physical interaction is likely to get trashed in short order. We got a couple really nice interactive books (like Tails) which were quickly and tragically mangled.
posted by bjrubble at 11:36 AM on January 15, 2017

Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert; great colors and fantastic illustrations. Also, the M&M counting book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath is excellent.
posted by Fuzzy Lumpkins at 11:39 AM on January 15, 2017

"One Moose, Twenty Mice" by Claire Beaton goes up to twenty. That one was a hit with my kids. The pictures are funny and you have to find a cat on each page.

What about I Spy books? You'll have to find 14 jacks and three stars on each page. I used to do a lot of "I wonder if there are any stars over here by this bear?"
posted by artychoke at 12:02 PM on January 15, 2017

I explained I Spy books wrong in my last comment. Every page has a bunch of stuff to find. Like "Find 10 stars, a box, 2 apples and a fox."
posted by artychoke at 12:12 PM on January 15, 2017

Ready, Set, 100th Day! works through counting to 100 by 5s, 10s, 20s and so on. My daughter picked it out and we read it when she was barely three. I swear she figured out multiplication all on her own afterwards!
posted by kittydelsol at 12:26 PM on January 15, 2017

100 Animals on Parade. Popular library find with us.
posted by neda at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Numbers Colors Shapes (First 100), Priddy Baby, comes in a board book edition. Actually I feel like we had several Priddy Baby board books that were a larger size and great to look through.

Chicka, Chicka 123, switches to counting by 10s at some point, but goes past 10.

One Hungry Monster , Susan O'Keefe, only counts to 10, I had remembered it going to 20 and so I was excited to recommend, but I just had to mention it anyway, such a fun counting book, and also our copy was a board book.

In the same vein as One Hungry Monster, I love the counting that goes on in Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton.
posted by dawg-proud at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2017

My three-year-old is also obsessed with numbers, so I made him a chart with numbers from 0 to 100 (with the number spelled out below each) in different coloured markers. He likes knowing what day it is and what time it is and what day his family and friends' birthdays are on, so I'll tell him those numbers and he'll go point to them on the chart. The chart hangs up in his playroom at his level. He really loves it and we play with it at least a few times a week.
posted by pised at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Here are a couple that would likely be beyond most 2 1/2 year-olds, but perhaps not yours.

100 Snowmen by Jen Arena.
10 times 10 by Hervé Tullet.
posted by ClingClang at 2:34 PM on January 15, 2017

You Can Count on Monsters teaches prime numbers and factoring, mostly visually, and it's very cute. My younger son started looking at it and saying the numbers when he was two; now that he's five he's more interested in the number trees. But it goes up to 100 and it's really interesting.

Same author, Really Big Numbers, starts with 1-10, then 100s, then 1000s, then on to millions and billions and Avogadro's number and a googol and a googolplex and infinity ... my kids LOVE it. Here's a book trailer for it.

Also if you go to a teacher supply store and look at math manipulatives, you can find age-appropriate things he can muck around with. We got circle fraction magnets for the fridge for a couple dollars (2 1/2s, 3 1/3s, 4 1/4s, etc., up to 1/12s) that my kids really like to mix and match and play with, more than they like alphabet letter magnets.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:32 PM on January 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

The Waterhole by Graeme Base is very detailed and you can spend a lot of time finding and counting things.
posted by sulaine at 7:24 PM on January 15, 2017

Came here to suggest Countablock (as, I see, Altomentis did as well).
posted by noneuclidean at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2017

Ten Apples Up On Top!

And definitely +1 to Hippos Go Berserk. "One hippo all alone calls two hippos on the phone / three hippos at the door bring along another four..."

Warning: my kid is nearly ready for high school and I can still recite both of these in full.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:07 PM on January 15, 2017

There are some board books on this list.
posted by oceano at 9:22 PM on January 15, 2017

That sounds like you have a Masayuki Sebe fan all ready to go. We have "Let's count to 100" and "100 hungry monkeys." The plots are light and silly but by god there are at least 100 things on every single page, and subgroups to count too if he's interested. ("How many of the fish have stripes?" and that kind of thing.)

We also have "You can count on monsters." It wasn't a huge hit here (my small math fanatic likes more plot than it provides) but I enjoyed the author's way of thinking about numbers.

I found Math Fables pretty slight but my kid liked it for a long time. It's basically a series of theming couplets about animals that naturally form a series of addition problems.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:25 AM on January 16, 2017

Fifteen Animals.
posted by zizzle at 1:02 PM on January 16, 2017

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