Math Stories for 3-5 Year Olds

Give some of these great math reads for your preschooler a go. They add up to fun!
By Michelle Anthony, PhD



Stories that integrate math enhance thinking and learning on so many fronts: they expand children’s problem solving skills, bring math into real-life situations, extend thinking, and expand vocabulary and literacy skills! Books that ask kids to think mathematically or to problem solve in new ways not only reinforce math and literacy skills, but also highlight creative problem solving! Give some of these great math reads a go:

  • 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews: Simple, visual, and mathematical. The perfect first math book for preschoolers. Give your child some stamps or stickers and make your own 10 Black Dots book!
  • The Right Number of Elephants by Jeff Sheppard: Nice book to teach number sense and practice the notion of one more or one less, before, after, and counting backwards.
  • The M&M's Brand Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath: Make learning math fun! This bookended numbers 0-12 and basic shapes. For a fun art/math add-on, have your child sort M&Ms by color. Place each color in its own cup, with water enough to just cover the tops. The water will change to the M&M color—paint away! Don’t forget that you can use M&M’s to make letters, numbers, designs, oh, and eating!
  • How Big Is the Lion by William Accorsi is a first measuring book with an attached ruler to measure the cute folk art creatures pictured. A great learning device, kids have to follow directions, describe differences (bigger, longer, wider) and use their language. Also executive functions. Good logic and good reasoning coming from a little measuring book.
  • Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes (level 3) by Grace Macaroni: compare this story with the other Three Little Pigs stories. How is it the same? Different? Can you make your own “magic shapes” to play with?
Book Selection Tips
Number Sequencing
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Content Area Reading
Early Reading
Early Math