Picture Books for Math Skills

Children can learn math skills in very natural ways.  Many early math concepts such as counting, patterning, number sense, and even addition and subtraction are naturally observed during play. Parents and teachers can also integrate math into literacy by selecting books with a math focus. A series of picture books for math skills is written by Stuart J. Murphy.
Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom! is a Math Start 1 book. Math Start is a series of books which teaches early math concepts in story format. In this story, Molly learns about patterns while playing with her brother’s cars.

Stuart J. Murphy, math stories, picture books, book activities, ready set read, image
We played with our new knowledge of patterns and sorting this past week. Logan was sick and so we played with mega blocks. That’s about all he felt like doing it. So we did it.  A lot.
Mega blocks can be great for sorting by color or number and for patterning. I found some great ideas for Logan at Teaching Tiny Tots. (Toddler Toys: Mega Bloks are a Great First Building Toy)

Math Skills with Megablocks

First we started with Logan’s Mega blocks train. He worked on figuring out how the pieces go together.
Then we worked on putting all the orange pieces together and all the yellow pieces together.

math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers, image, picture books, book activities, ready set read

Finally, we worked on creating an orange/yellow pattern and continuing the pattern. (He doesn’t really grasp patterning yet but it’s ok. I just model it for him and we talk about it and move on.)

math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers, picture books, ready set read, book activities

Then we moved on to building with the Mega Blocks.
We sorted Mega Blocks by color.
We tried to figure out which Mega Block color would make the tallest tower.
And we just enjoyed building castles, houses, and cages for our toy animals.

math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers,
Tyson (age 5 months) likes to join us when we play.
math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers
I often use the Mega Blocks to work with him as well. All of these concepts are things we worked on with our Parents as Teachers Educator. I just applied the concept to playing with Mega Blocks. This is kind of the order that we did the activities in. Each baby varies in developmental stages so this is not an order of teaching skills.
Mega Block Play: Ages 0-6 months
  1. Move the block from side to side in front of the baby in order for the baby to track the object with his eyes. As baby gets older, move the block in a circular motion. (Sensory development)
  2. Bang two blocks together on one side of your baby’s head. See if your baby turns his head toward the direction of the noise. (Sensory development)
  3. Describe the textures of the blocks: smooth surfaces, bumpy surfaces. Describe the colors of the block and the sizes of the blocks. (Language development)
  4. Put baby on tummy. Stack blocks in interesting patterns for baby to look at during tummy time. (Motor development, sensory development)
  5. Give the baby a block and allow him to pass the block hand to hand. (Motor development)
  6. Put several blocks on high chair.  See if baby “rakes” blocks to pick them up. (Motor development)
  7. Fill a bowl with blocks and see if baby will pick them up. (Cognitive, Motor development)
  8. Show baby how to drop blocks into a bowl and allow baby to try. (Cognitive, Motor development).
  9. Show baby how to bang two blocks together. (Cognitive, Motor development).
  10. Hide a block in a plastic container with a lid. Ask baby, “What’s inside?” Open to show baby the block.  Builds the idea of object permanance. (Cognitive development)
  11. Hide a block under the corner of a blanket. See if baby lifts the blanket to find the block. Also builds object permanance (Cognitive development).
  12. Build blocks and allow baby to pull them apart. (Motor development)


  1. says

    When bratchild was smaller, oh how I loved the megablocks.
    Now that she’s older, I’m the mean mom that makes her do homework pages in the summer. She’s always gotten straight A’s but I know after summers off I always felt like I’d lost a good bit of brain function.

  2. says

    My kids both love Megabloks. I’m going to have a look at your links, maybe we can find some new games. At the momen, building hotels and driving cars around them is the popular activity.

  3. says

    Princess still plays with her small bag of Mega Blocks after 3 years. We are considering upping it to some Lego, but that stuff is expensive!

    They never tire of building though, do they? So, I guess the investment will be worth it …

  4. says

    Luckily my husband kept a lot of his legos from childhood!! Although they’ll probably play with the Mega blocks for a long time!! And i gotta say, I don’t mind the Mega blocks. Some toys get on my nerves but I’ll play Mega blocks for a while!