Toddler Programs Chapter

By Miranda Bauer and WyLaina Hildreth

Texas 1-2-3 Step

Books to Share

Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra.

Twenty is Too Many by Kate Duke.

1-2-3: A Child’s First Counting Book by Alison Jay.

The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta.

One, Two, Three! by Sandra Boynton.


Cut out the numbers 1 though 9. These can also be used for games later on in the program.


Recite “Learning to Count” on Page 112 of Finger Frolics by Marilyn Brock.


Sing “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”

Rhymes and Poetry

This Old Man

This old man, he played one. (hold up one finger)
He played knick-knack on his thumb. (tap thumbs together)
With a knick-knack, paddy whack, give the dog a bone. (tap knees, clap hands, extend one hand)
This old man came rolling home. (roll hands)
This old man, he played two, (hold up two fingers)
He played knick-knack on his shoe. (tap shoe)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man, he played three. (hold up three fingers)
He played knick-knack on his knee. (tap knee)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man he played four. (hold up four fingers)
He played knick-knack on the floor. (tap the floor)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man, he played five. (hold up five fingers)
He played knick-knack on his drive. (tap floor)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man, he played six. (hold up six fingers)
He played knick-knack on his sticks. (tap pointer fingers)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man, he played seven. (hold up seven fingers)
He played knick-knack along to Devon. (alternative: up to heaven and pointing outwards or upwards)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man, he played eight. (hold up eight fingers)
He played knick-knack on the gate. (tap hand)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man he played nine. (hold up nine fingers)
He played knick-knack on his spine. (tap back)
Repeat Refrain  
This old man, he played ten. (hold up ten fingers)
He played knick-knack now and then. (clap hands)
Repeat Refrain  

Bulletin Board

Create a picnic scene. Cover the board in green paper for grass. Place a tablecloth in the middle of the board and cover it with pictures of plates of food, and a picnic basket. Surround the tablecloth with ants, using the patterns from the 2004 Texas Reading Club manual at

. Write a number on each ant, beginning with the number one.


Create a display of objects and numbers. Place a large number “1” next to a single book. Place the number “2” next two balls. Complete the display with five different objects.


Counting Caterpillars

  • Construction paper in various colors
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Crayons

Cut circles from different colors of construction paper. Let the children glue the circles on a sheet of construction paper to make a caterpillar. They can then draw faces and feet on the caterpillar and number each circle or segment of the caterpillar’s body.

Games and Activities

Number Roundup

Using their nametags as a guide, let the kids line up in numerical order, or find friends with matching numbers.

Fish Tank

Copy the fish bowl at Preschool Coloring at Give each child a paper cup of goldfish crackers. Let the children glue down some goldfish onto the fish bowl. Ask them to count the fish in their bowl and write the number of fish on their sheet. The children may also want to decorate their bowls with crayons. Allow them to snack on the goldfish remaining in their cups.

Books to Display or Booktalk

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert.

How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen.

600 Black Spots: A Pop-up Book for Children of All Ages by David A. Carter.

Counting with Wayne Thiebaud by Susan Goldman Rubin.

Audio Recordings

Ants Go Marching by Various Artists.


Chicka Chicka 1-2-3... and More Stories About Counting. (42 minutes)

Web Sites

Preschool Coloring Book: Fish Bowl

This site provides coloring sheets.

Professional Resources

2003 Texas Reading Club Manual Program: I Spy: 1,2,3

There are more resources on counting in the “I Spy: 123” program in the Toddler Chapter of the 2003 Texas Reading Club Manual.

eHow: How to Teach a Toddler Number Recognition

A web site with games and activities for teaching number recognition. Counting Games for Toddlers

This web site has many different counting games toddlers will love.

Raising Kids: 6 of the Best: Counting Rhymes for Toddlers

A web site that has the best counting rhymes for toddlers.

Texas Reading Club 2009 Programming Manual / Libraries: Deep in the Heart of Texas!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011