For Kids and Their Grown-ups: Making Math Fun! 

Created by Linda Tripp, collection development librarian

SCLSNJ connects grown-ups with materials to make math learning fun for kids! Sharing stories with young children is important for literacy development, but children’s books offer many rich opportunities to develop math skills, too. As university researchers at the DREME (Development and Research in Early Math Education) network explain it, when math concepts are woven into illustrations and storylines of picture books, children’s mathematical thinking can develop, and “foundational math concepts such as numbers, shapes, patterns, and measurement” can be introduced naturally.

Reading books together is an enjoyable experience, offering a fun and relaxed way for adults to ask questions and guide children’s observations about mathematical concepts. What’s more, a good book can serve as a jumping-off point to explore concepts further when going about everyday activities.  

A playful exploration of sorting and classification can be found in “The Animals Would Not Sleep!” by Sara Levine, when a young boy sorts his stuffed animals at bedtime in different ways, until finally they are ready for bed. After reading this book from the Storytelling Math series, imagine the possibilities for sorting and classifying at home, whether toys, buttons, rocks or other objects found in a nature walk. Young readers will delight in the antics of the adorable chicks introducing essential math concepts in “Arithmechicks Add Up” and “Arithmechicks Take Away” by Ann Marie Stephens and illustrator Jia Liu. “The Penguin Problem” by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson, part of the popular “Peg + Cat” series, serves as an engaging introduction to positional language, such as up, over, under, and in between. 

In addition to numerous mathematics picture books and nonfiction books, SCLSNJ offers access to always available online books to help caretakers encourage math skills in young children. Log into TumbleMath using your SCLSNJ library card, and find a comprehensive collection of math stories in the animated Tumblebook format complete with narration. Want to share books with a child about the measurement of time? Search by author or title, to find books such as “A Second, a Minute, a Week with Days in It” by Brian P. Cleary. Math concepts are also listed at the top of the page, or you can use the quiz portal to find books for specific math curriculum standards.