Counting With Halloween Board Books At Story Time

Halloween decor has been in stores around us since late August. My kiddos are distinctly split on their reactions. #thebigone complains that it’s too early, and Halloween is (still) ages away. #thelittleone begs to be taken to ‘see Halloween’ in any store we visit. He announces every time he sees a pumpkin, and declares all the ghost decorations ‘very spooky!’ To engage him in learning surrounding this interest, #thelittleone and I have been counting Halloween items in stores. I also picked up some fun Halloween board books for him to read. Today I’m sharing how we use those books for counting fun at home. (Plus, stick around to the end of the post where I’m sharing a link to lots of Halloween ideas for kids!)

Help your kiddos feel spooky AND smart with these Halloween board books that inspire math skills! Plus, grab a free printable to create your own DIY magnetic play sets! #earlylearning #halloween #halloweenbooks #boardbooks #beyondthebook #magnets
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Five Little Pumpkins

Natalie Marshall’s sweet little board book is described as ‘a finger & toes nursery rhyme book’. The classic Five Little Pumpkins singsong rhyme is presented with adorable, lively illustrations. The faces on all the characters are so quirky and fun! I particularly love this version because it includes instructions for using sign language with the book. Double the learning options is always good! The tabbed pages make it easy for small hands to turn on their own.

Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Little Pumpkins Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Little Pumpkins Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Little Pumpkins

Five Spooky Ghosts

Salina Yoon’s Five Spooky Ghosts also includes chunky tabbed pages for young fingers. The shiny holographic ghosts add a fun sensory experience to reading it. This book counts down from 5, giving an opportunity to introduce another basic math skill. Although the word ‘spooky’ is in the title, it’s too cute of a book to scary anyone!

Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Spooky Ghosts Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Spooky Ghosts

Five Black Cats

Five Black Cats from Julia Woolf has quickly become #thelittleone’s FAVORITE book. (As I write this, I’m waiting for him to fall asleep so I can take some pictures of it. He refuses to part with it while he’s awake). Five Black Cats tells the tale of some black kitties out on a Halloween adventure. It does not count up to 5 or down to 5 specifically, but we practice counting the black cats on each page. We also count other objects through out the book while we read, like bats or mice, so it’s a perfect Halloween board book for very early math.

Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Black Cats Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Black Cats


I created a simple and fun magnet play opportunity that accompanies these Halloween board books well. The activity is very flexible. It can be easily adapted to any Halloween books. Using it to bring holiday finger plays, rhymes, or songs you may already know is also a great idea. Additionally, your child may enjoy engaging in imaginative Halloween play without the stories at all. That’s always a fun option.

Halloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIYHalloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIY

Halloween Magnet Play Supplies

  • Stickers to match your Halloween board books.
    • Don’t go too small- you want little hands to be able to grab them.
    • Good alternatives to plain stickers are felt, wood, or foam craft shapes.
  • Magnetic sheets.
  • Double stick tape or glue, if your shapes do not have adhesive on them already.
  • Scissors.
  • Halloween magnet play printable. (Scroll to the end of the post to get yours).

How To Create Halloween Magnet Play

Halloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIY Halloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIY Halloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIY Halloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIY

  • Attach Halloween shapes to magnetic sheets.
  • Cut magnetic sheets down to size of shapes using scissors.
  • Hang the Halloween magnet play printable on a magnetic surface like a refrigerator or door.
    • Cookie sheets are a great option for kids to hold on their lap. They’re also perfect for low-mess, portable play time.
  • Add the shape magnets to the play printable.
    • For some books, you may start with all your shapes on the printable, and remove them one by one.
    • Others, you may add shapes one at a time as you count up.

Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Little Pumpkins- Magnetic Play Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Spooky Ghosts- Magnetic Play Halloween Counting Board Books- Five Black Cats- Magnetic Play Halloween Counting Board Books- Magnetic Play DIY

Alternatives to Magnet Play

If you’re feeling adventurous and open to some sensory play, the printable can also be used as a play dough mat. I advise making it more sturdy (and reusable) by laminating it first. Sandwiching the mat between contact paper, or sliding it into a plastic page protector sheet are alternatives to laminating that work well. Your child can sculpt the Halloween shapes from play dough and add them to the mat as you read and count.

Another great alternative with laminated pages is drawing with dry erase on top of them. You may need to stick with a black dry erase marker for this particular mat, as the colors are deep. Drawing pumpkins, ghosts, cats, etc, allows children to work on fine motor and math skills while being creative.


Help your kiddos feel spooky AND smart with these Halloween board books that inspire math skills! Plus, grab a free printable to create your own DIY magnetic play sets! #earlylearning #halloween #halloweenbooks #boardbooks #beyondthebook #magnets

Does your family have any favorite Halloween board books? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Some essentials you may need…

Halloween Blog Hop 2017

Monster Brownies / The Moments At Home
Haunted House Printable / Mama Smiles
Neon Splatter Paint Banner / Projects With Kids
Sponge Print Ghosts / Preschool Toolkit
Jack-O-Lantern Maze & Coloring / Mosswood Connections
Tea Cake Spiders / The Gingerbread House
X-Ray Exercises / Growing Play
Frightfully Fun Photo Shoot & Sensory Play / Swami Mommi
Cardboard Tube Monsters / The Joy of Sharing


  • Priyadarshini Rajendran

    Lovely idea. I need to share this with one of my mommy friends too.

    • Kate

      Thanks so much for checking it out!

  • Nina La Fornara

    This is so cute! I’ve only recently heard of counting books (I don’t have kids). I love that you’re making it fun to learn with the cutout pumpkins and ghosts!

    • Kate

      Thanks very much Nina!

  • beyoubestrong24

    Very cute and creative idea! I always forgot about getting magnets. We have used candy corns for counting too Halloween projects are so fun!

    • Kate

      Candy corn sounds like a fun option- and a tasty treat as well!

  • Chei Pangan

    This books are so cute! My sisters will love this for sure. They really love halloween. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kate

      Hope they have fun with them, Chei! Thanks!

    • Kate

      Thanks so much Krissy!

  • Tayler DiGiacomo

    These are all such fun learning activities!! I LOVE that they are Halloween themed! Such great ideas!

    • Kate

      Thanks so much Tayler!

  • Vivienne Singer

    A lovely collection! I have to say, I’m amazed your older child finds it too early to get excited about Halloween. I love a holiday as much as the next person, but just can’t get into the spirit until a week or two before. Wonder if he feels the same about Christmas?!

    • Kate

      Oh my gosh, he’s actually starting a countdown to New Year’s, completely skipping over any build up to Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. He just can’t wait for an opportunity to stay up until midnight, so as of right now, New Year’s is the only holiday he really cares about. He’s a crazy kiddo!

  • thebusyboymama

    Oh I love this! We’re always looking for new fun ways to count with the kids.

    • Kate

      It’s such an important, foundation skill- practicing counting in all sorts of ways is so beneficial in the long term! Thanks for checking it out.

  • Jessica

    I am a total sucker when it comes to holiday themed books for my kids, so I love this idea! Is genius how you integrated the counting in with these books!

    • Kate

      We have SO many holiday and seasonal books… I totally relate!

  • Sarah Fleming

    We will be buying 5 Black Cats! That is such a cute looking book.

    • Kate

      That’s my two year old’s absolute favorite right now! You won’t be disappointed!

  • lifeofaministermom

    I think the little pumpkins are my favorite! What a great idea!!

    • Kate

      Thanks so much! My toddler is particularly obsessed with the cats right now.

  • Eryka

    Izzy would love this activity, I’ll try it out

    • Kate

      Hope you guys have fun!

  • Angela Milnes

    Oh wow, This is really cute and perfect to my daughter. I haven’t heard about this counting books and so great

    • Kate

      Thanks very much Angela!

  • We're the Joneses

    Oh that 5 little pumpkins book is too too cute! I know my 3 kiddos would just love it!

    • Kate

      It’s seriously adorable!

  • Sally from Little Hiccups

    Love that DIY magnet play idea! So fun.
    My kids have a 13 Days of Halloween book that they love to read all year round. It’s a spooky take on the 12 Days of Christmas.

    • Kate

      We actually have a few versions of that one… My kids love the repetition in them, especially my toddler because it lets him ‘read along’ too!

  • Ashley Solberg

    This is pure genius! Love that they get to be interactive with the story and really work on those motor and counting skills!

    • Kate

      Thank you so much Ashley!

  • Leah

    Wow! These look awesome! ThAnks for sharing with us mama

    • Kate

      Thanks for checking it out, Leah!

    • Kate

      They’re some of our favorites right now!

  • The Happy Mum SA

    This is so cute <3 Will give it a try with my little ones

    • Kate

      Thank you! I hope you all enjoy it!

  • tickledscarlett

    How cute are these books and activities! My little one is in love with anything cats, so I may have to take a look at that one 🙂

    • Kate

      My two year old is totally obsessed with black cats right now! The book is definitely perfect for your little cat fan!

  • Bridget Halvorson

    This is so cute! I’m hoping to homeschool my daughter and I need a ton of ideas like this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kate

      Good luck with homeschooling Bridget! Be sure to check back, I share similar resources and ideas frequently!

  • Emily @ The Southern Belle Blogs

    <3! My little one won't be born until December but it has been hard not picking up Halloween books now (as Halloween is my favorite holiday)!

    • Kate

      Don’t resist! Pick up at least a few favorites for your little one now! 🙂

  • Dana

    What a really cute and fun idea! My son would love it!

    • Kate

      I hope your kiddo enjoys it, Dana!

  • Taylor411

    The magnetic board is a great idea! My kiddos would love this. I’m definitely going to try it out.

    • Kate

      I think your boys would have a lot of fun with it!

  • magen

    We love board books. We recently started making our own ones with cardboard.

    • Kate

      What a fun idea! I’d love to hear about how you put them together!

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