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Summer Books and Activities for Kids

Numbers and Measuring

Numbers and Measuring

How to explore this theme:

  1. Choose books and book-related activities
  2. Explore more hands-on activities
  3. Try some summer writing
  4. Dig deeper with these websites
  5. Play and learn with interactive mobile apps

#1: Choose kids' books and book-related activities Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Bedtime Math

Bedtime Math

By: Laura Overdeck | Illustrated by: Jim Paillot

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Math is not only all around but everyday goings-on make thinking mathematically fun. Activities of varying difficulty (wee ones, little kids, big kids) use the familiar — from dogs to ketchup — to present intriguing math questions to solve, all humorously illustrated. Answers are discreetly placed on each page with additional information for adults at the end.

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Cook-A-Doodle-Do!

Cook-A-Doodle-Do!

By: Janet Stevens | Illustrated by: Susan Stevens Crummel

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A charming picture book about a hen who decides to make a strawberry shortcake with her friends...none of whom know anything about cooking. Iguana tries to measure the flour with a ruler! Hen teaches about measuring properly with the right tools and the author includes side notes about dry versus liquid measuring, as well as equivalents such as 1 stick butter = 1 cup = 8 tablespoons.

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Inch by Inch

Inch by Inch

By: Leo Lionni | Illustrated by: Leo Lionni

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A small inch worm "green as an emerald" avoids being eating by a hungry robin using his wit — and his ability to measure things. He measures other birds as well — until he escapes them all by measuring a nightingale's song. Textured collage illustrations complement the straightforward text in this modern classic.

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Millions, Billions and Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers

Millions, Billions and Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers

By: David Adler | Illustrated by: Edward Miller

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A billion is a big number, bigger than a million. "It's written like this: 1,000,000,000 — one followed by nine zeroes." There aren't even that many hairs on your head! Colorful illustrations and child-friendly comparisons bring these huge numbers into clearer focus in both words and numerals enhanced by bright, cheery illustrations.

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Musk Ox Counts

Musk Ox Counts

By: Erin Cabatingan | Illustrated by: Matthew Myers

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Zebra wants to create a traditional counting book but his buddy, Musk Ox, is not cooperating at all! Instead, Musk Ox adds and subtracts animals, much to Zebra's chagrin but sure to delight readers while challenging their counting and visual acuity! This is a worthy and equally funny companion to A is for Musk Ox.

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One Gorilla: A Counting Book

One Gorilla: A Counting Book

By: Anthony Browne

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Whether or not the primates introduced from 1 to 10 are familiar, readers are sure to appreciate meeting them in arresting portraits. A self-portrait of the illustrator and other humans are accompanied by concluding text: "All primates. All one family. All my family … and yours!"

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Perimeter, Area and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions

Perimeter, Area and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions

By: David Adler | Illustrated by: Edward Miller

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A group of movie-making monsters introduce the concepts needed to make a 3-dimensional film: width, height, depth. Related ideas and vocabulary follow (e.g., circumference, area, etc.) also presented with the same light touch. Flat, silly-but-colorful monsters lead the exploration to its conclusion.

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Teddy Bear Patterns

Teddy Bear Patterns

By: Barbara McGrath | Illustrated by: Tim Nihoff

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Colorful toy teddy bears appear on open pages with an engaging, rhyming narrative. Children will be able to see the patterns and learn to "skip count" (e.g., counting by 2s) while being introduced to basic arithmetic (addition and its relationship to multiplication). One of a series of basic math books.

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

Actual Size

Actual Size

By: Steve Jenkins

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The real and truly amazing size of animals from the sea and land are shown in a way that children can understand and appreciate. Textured collage illustrations are used to show the actual size of a gorilla's hand, a giant squid's eye and much more. Additional information on each animal is included in an afterword.

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Betcha! Estimating

Betcha! Estimating

By: Stuart Murphy | Illustrated by: S.D. Schindler

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Two friends practice their estimating skills on their way to a store that's having a contest to figure out how many jellybeans are in the jar.

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How Big Is a Foot?

How Big Is a Foot?

By: Rolf Myller

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

The Queen's apprentice needs to build a new bed for the Queen. But how big is a bed when beds have not been invented yet? The amusing story is a fun introduction to the concept of standard measurement.

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How Much is a Million?

How Much is a Million?

By: David Schwartz | Illustrated by: Steven Kellogg

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

There are millions of people living in the United States, but the numbers are much too large to really understand, aren't they? With the help of a mathematical magician, understandable comparisons, and animated, humorous, and engaging illustrations, huge numbers become more child-friendly and downright understandable.

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How Tall, How Short, How Far Away?

How Tall, How Short, How Far Away?

By: David Adler | Illustrated by: Nancy Tobin

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Learn the units of measure (including the metric system) by comparing the lengths to fingers, arms, feet, and other body parts. You'll find lots of examples of how we use measurement in everyday activities as well as hands-on activities, such as asking the reader to see how tall you are using units of measure from ancient Egypt. (Ages 6-9)

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Lemonade for Sale

Lemonade for Sale

By: Stuart Murphy | Illustrated by: Tricia Tusa

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Four best friends start a lemonade business and make a bar graph to chart their growing sales. After three days the friends notice that their sales suddenly drop and investigate to find out why. After discovering that the competition is a new kid with a great juggling act just down the street, they ask him to perform beside the lemonade stand and then watch sales increase "over the top." (Age level: 4-8)

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Mathemagic! Number Tricks

Mathemagic! Number Tricks

By: Lynda Cogan | Illustrated by: Jane Kurisu

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Magic tricks and math come together, sure to engage sophisticated children. Clear explanations present how to perform the trick and explain why they work.

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Me and the Measure of Things

Me and the Measure of Things

By: Joan Sweeney | Illustrated by: Annette Cable

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

What’s the difference between a cup and an ounce? What gets measured in bushels and when do you use a scale? Easy-to-understand text and playful corresponding illustrations teach children the differences between wet and dry measurements, weight, size, and length. And all information is conveyed in a unique kid’s-eye perspective, using everyday objects and situations. [Amazon review]

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Measuring Penny

Measuring Penny

By: Loreen Leedy | Illustrated by: Loreen Leedy

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

A young girl named Lisa has a homework assignment to measure something in as many ways as she can. "Use your imagination!" says the teacher. Lisa chooses her dog Penny and discovers, among other things, that Penny's tail is one biscuit long. This engaging book teaches the difference between standard and non-standard measurement.

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Millions to Measure

Millions to Measure

By: David M. Schwartz

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

An entertaining look at linear, weight, and volume measurements, with Marvelossimo the Mathematical Magician as your guide. The book clearly explains the metric system and why it's used around the world. (Ages 4-8)

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Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra

By: David Adler | Illustrated by: Edward Miller

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Mysterious, humorously spooky illustrations and easy, engaging text demystifies the mystery of basic algebra, further clarified by a suggested activity.

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One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab:  A Counting by Feet Book

One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab: A Counting by Feet Book

By: April Sayre, Jeff Sayre | Illustrated by: Randy Cecil

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

While you're on the beach, you can count from 1 to 10 by feet — combining numbers of feet and then multiplying them all the way to 100, which is ten crabs... or 100 snails if you really count slowly! Colorful, bug-eyed, cartoon-like critters further enliven this jaunty approach to numbers.

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Stars

Stars

By: Seymour Simon

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Do aliens come from the stars? What is that twinkling out there? How long does it take for a star's light to reach Earth? Stunning photographs, computer-generated, and clear text present basic information about stars, sure to pique curiosity.

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Tally O'Malley

Tally O'Malley

By: Stuart Murphy | Illustrated by: Cynthia Jabar

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

The O'Malley family is off to the beach, but it's a long, hot, boring drive. What can Eric, Bridget, and Nell do to keep busy? Play tally games, of course &mdash counting up all the gray cars or green t-shirts they see. Whoever has the most marks at the end wins the game. This is a great picture book for teaching data collection and tallying. It also gives kids a head start in counting by fives and is a good basis for charts and graphs.

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The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

By: Deborah Heiligman | Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Paul Erdos grew up in Hungary and was always an unusual child. He enjoyed numbers, was inept at everyday activities (like tying his shoes), and hated rules but grew up to be a famous mathematician. Witty illustrations and a fluid narrative (which imbeds mathematical language), and fascinating author and illustrator notes introduce this mathematically gifted man.

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The Great Graph Contest

The Great Graph Contest

By: Loreen Leedy | Illustrated by: Loreen Leedy

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Chester the snail sets up a contest between his friends Gonk the toad and Beezy the lizard to see who can make the best graph. Points will be given for correct math, creativity, and neatness. Beezy and Gonk explore information collection (tallies and surveys) and the use of graphic organizers (Venn diagrams, quantity graphs, circle graphs, picture graphs, and bar graphs). In the end, kids can look at Chester's graphically designed score sheet and see that the result is a tie.

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The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting

The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting

By: Mark Breen, Kathleen Friestad | Illustrated by: Michael Kline

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this hands-on science book, kids learn how o make a barometer, record their observations in a Weather Log, use graphs and charts, read the cloud and wind direction, and look to the sunset glow to make more accurate predictions.

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The Wing Wing Brothers: Carnival de Math

The Wing Wing Brothers: Carnival de Math

By: Ethan Long

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Math is all around when the Bird brothers, Woody, Willy, Wilmer, Wendell and Walter compete at games, eat hot dogs and ride the Ferris wheel at a carnival. Comic illustrations combine with words and numerals to highlight the brothers' alliterative tale while illuminating basic math concepts.

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Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger

Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger

By: Ann Whitehead Nagda | Illustrated by: Cindy Bickel

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

A Siberian tiger cub born at the Denver Zoo is orphaned when he is just a few weeks old. Through photographs, narrative, and graphs, young readers follow the cub, named T.J., as he grows from a tiny newborn into a five-hundred-pound adult. This story about one tiger’s fight for survival that also introduces basic math skills.

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You Can, Toucan, Math: Word Problem-Solving Fun

You Can, Toucan, Math: Word Problem-Solving Fun

By: David Adler | Illustrated by: Edward Miller

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Various birds appear with riddles asking readers to use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to find the solutions. Rhymes engage readers while introducing word problems and are extended by the colorful illustrations.

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More great summer resources for parents from Reading Rockets

Read Aloud Tips

Read Aloud Tips

Read aloud every day with your child and talk about what you're reading. These two simple activities help build your child's vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Get tips (In English and 10 other languages) >

Downloadables

Downloadables

Download these colorful ready-to-print lunch box notes, play date cards, and door hangers for the kids in your life.

Download and print >