Counting ten red apples for preschool math

Sometimes, coming up with a math component in your preschool lesson plans can seem rather daunting but there are many tools you can use for helping design fun and inviting mathematical activities.  One simple way to get the ideas flowing is to look for children’s books that promote counting and other mathematical concepts.

“Ten Red Apples” by Pat Hutchins is a book that I really love to use for counting forwards and backwards from the number ten!  On each page of the book is an opportunity to reinforce counting as well as number recognition.

I like to combine the book with other tools for counting such as flannel board apples or apple stick puppets. As I read the book, the children pick an apple from the flannel board tree or I invite the children to hold the stick puppets up high and as we count down, they put their apples on the floor in the center of the circle.

As with any book, I want to give the children time to explore the concepts on their own later. I will usually give the felt pieces or the stick puppets (along with the book) to the children to play with and invite them to do a little counting on their own.

I also like to throw in a finger play that promotes some counting as well…

Way up high in the apple tree

Five red apples smiled at me.

I shook that tree as hard as I could,

Down came an apple

Mmmm, it was good!

Way up high in the apple tree

Four red apples smiled at me.

I shook that tree as hard as I could,

Down came an apple

Mmmm, it was good!

Repeat with three…

Then Two…

Then One…

When I have a smaller group, I like to set the apples on the flannel board with a felt tree. When I have a large group, I set the felt pieces on trays. It doesn’t really matter but I find that by giving the children their own tray of felt pieces, they spend more time sitting, talking, counting, and sharing with each other.

By |2010-10-10T20:00:23+00:00October 10th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. shar October 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    There are some authors that are just so switched on when it comes to creating quality (educational) books that children love. I love Pat Hutchinson and these are great ideas 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart October 12, 2010 at 12:57 am - Reply

      I love Pat Hutchinson too!!

  2. V.Kerr October 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    We are also going to read that book this week! I like the little song you made up to go with it!

    • Deborah J. Stewart October 12, 2010 at 12:57 am - Reply

      HI Vanessa – actually, I have to tell you that I didn’t make up Five Little Apples – it is a very old favorite!!

  3. Tami October 12, 2010 at 1:34 am - Reply

    I like how you brought the math book into the theme. We as educators real need to do this more. Thanks for sharing. I will be digging out all my math books.

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