Count a mouse story telling props and game

As we continue our look at the “Mouse” books by Ellen Stoll Walsh, we read the book “Mouse Count” and had fun with a little mouse counting of our own…

“Mouse Count” by Ellen Stoll Walsh is about a snake who gradually, one by one, collects 10 mice in a jar with plans to eat them for dinner…

However, the mice outsmart the snake when they send him off to find what he thinks will be a great big mouse. While the greedy snake wonders off, the mice tip the jar over and all run away…

After reading the story, we used a few props to retell the story again.  We had a sock snake, a set of 12 cotton ball mice (that Mrs. Courtney made), and a clear plastic jar.

The snake was sly and sneaky as he slithered around picking up mice off the floor by their tails and then dropping them in the jar.  But just as the mice did in our book, the mice tricked this snake too and then tipped the jar so they could all get away…

When the jar tipped over, each of the children quickly picked up a mouse and hid it in their laps or hands before the snake came back…

The snake came back and searched each child to see if they had seen his mice, but the children were not about to tell that snake where the mice were…

Once the snake realized that he wasn’t going to be able to find the mice, he slithered off and then I invited each child to put their mouse in a little jar to take home with them…

A few things to mention…

  1. I told the children that the mice were made of cotton balls and would tear very easily so they had to hold them with gentle hands.
  2. The children had to keep their mouse in a jar and in their cubby until it was time to go home so the snake wouldn’t find their mouse throughout the day.
  3. The mouse in the jar is what I call a “Story Token” – it is a way for the children to remember the story after they get home.
  4. When the parents came for pick-up, I let them know about the jar in the children’s bags so the jars would not accidentally get dropped and broken on the way home.
  5. All the children did a great job taking care of their jars and mice and all the mice made it to their new homes safely!

Mouse Count at the table

To extend our book during center time, the children found more sock snake puppets, a pile of pompoms, and plastic jars…

The children used the sock snake puppets to tell their own stories and to pick up the pompoms (mice) to drop in the jars…

Making the mouth of the snake open and close to pick up and drop pompoms was a good workout for those fine motor skills. It was also a good chance for the children to dramatize their own snake and mouse stories.  Oh and it may look calm and quiet at this table but just so you know, this was not a quiet table – there was lots of silly snake action going on at that table throughout the morning!

Available on Amazon

By |2012-12-03T07:00:37+00:00December 3rd, 2012|

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. Kymberli December 3, 2012 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Adorable! I love this idea!

  2. Janet T. December 3, 2012 at 8:29 am - Reply

    I reallly enjoy getting my daily inspiration from you. I’m sure it must be quite a undertaking to keep it going and I thank you. Over time I’ve become curious about the mechanics of your classroom. I wonder, do you have a limit at each of your activities? It looks as though the children freely move among a variety of activities as they do at my school, but my group tends to move in a “herd”. I set a table limit, but I’m up for improvements.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Janet,
      Nope, the children know if there’s an open chair then there is a spot at the table – well, sometimes, we just move an extra chair over. I find that if each table or interest area is equally interesting then the children will spread out but if one table is a big deal then everyone wants to join in. So I accommodate based on the interest for the main part but try to plan so that the children will spread out. The children are used to going off in different directions but there are days when I see them walking around like a little pack. I don’t structure the time in centers – they freely move about and I just adjust things as needed – it keeps me on my toes! Oh – and sometimes if a table sits empty and no one likes whats out – then off it goes and we use the table for something else or leave it free for the children to put things on they want to play with like telephones. We always need space for telephones:)

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

        By the way – I don’t know how many students you have but I do know from my own classes – the smaller the group, the more they prefer to do almost everything together.

  3. cathie j December 3, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I like the extension activity. Will have to try it. Thanks
    Cathie at

    and Etsy fromme4you

  4. jennifer posinski December 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    This is sooo cute!! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Kristi@Creative Connections for Kids December 3, 2012 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    I love Mouse Count! Thanks for all of the wonderful story connections. 🙂

  6. Penny December 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    This is super duper adorable Deb! I wish I’d had a teacher like you! Off to share. I’m certain my readers will LOVE this!

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok