Following Montessori principles, we did not introduce numbers, shapes, colors, and the alphabet when our son was an infant. He is 2.5 years old as we speak and has no idea about letters yet.

He has already been introduced shapes and colors, though, upon following his interest. I will probably write about them in another post.

Honestly, I was trying to delay numbers. But one time, he just started counting from one to nine, straight. Rote memorization, for sure. So I started to wonder how he knew the numbers, and the order! I remember my husband telling his family specifically not to introduce the alphabet and numbers. I did the same to my family and friends. So, it was a puzzle for awhile, but since he knew it, I would just listen and let him.

And then one day, I caught myself counting his vehicle toys as we were packing away, and it hit me – my gosh! He learned it from us, his parents! Whenever we pack away his miniatures, we would count it to make sure they were complete! LOL. It made me realize how absorbent children’s minds really are.

Still, I waited. I waited for that moment that he was pretending to count everything – in the right order, or mixed. And then one day, he brought me two similar items (forgot what they were) and said: “Mama, I have two ____ (insert name of items here)”. I took it as a sign to introduce counting as a concept.

First, I brought out a set of lemons (toys) we have here and put them all in a basket. I introduced the idea of taking them out of the basket and counting them one by one. Well, it kinda worked, but after a while, he just started throwing the lemons.

By following his lead, I found out that he really likes counting in books! It all started when I bought a PHP 15 book on a surplus store and read it to him, and we counted the eggs in the book, and he hasn’t stopped counting from books since.

Today, I am sharing with you our list. You don’t need the exact titles and would encourage you to look at your local libraries and bookstores, and maybe you’ll find even better titles. But these are what we have and what’s been helpful to us.

I’ll be sharing my affiliate links from Amazon and Book Depository (free shipping around the world!) where applicable – would appreciate if you can use the link if you’ll buy from them, anyway. No extra cost and it might earn me a few credits so I can use to buy items from them. 🙂

Here we go.


We started with this book. The beginning of the story says: Handa put seven delicious fruits in a basket for her friend, Akeyo. And beside it is the illustration of the fruits. So I would count them one by one. Ideally, in Montessori, you count the same, exact things (all lemons, or all pineapples, for example), to isolate the concept – which is counting in this case (child will not be confused whether you’re name the fruit, or counting how many they are). But since our son is already very familiar with fruits as a category, and this is one of his favorite books, I didn’t mind counting with this as a tool. I love how this book indirectly prepares the child for the concept of subtraction, too!

NOTE: You can chance upon this from our secondhand bookstores like Booksale. You can also get this from Amazon.You may also buy this from Book Depository, or (free shipping to the Philippines)!


I found this from a surplus shop in a province, and since my son was counting sometimes in order, or sometimes randomly, I got it in case he’d be interested. And he loved it from the start. It’s a very short book about two geese in springtime – first, they made their nest, then the eggs were laid, and then they hatched and became chicks. Very simple, and honestly, illustration wise – not the best for me, but my son loves counting with this book, and the things counted are the same (eggs, or chicks) so the concept is isolated, so we read this everyday. This book also talks about the concept of addition.

NOTE: We chanced upon this from a surplus shop, but you can get this from Amazon or Book Depository (free shipping to the Philippines)!


One of our faves. To be honest, at first, I wasn’t sure I should read this – because the story isn’t very realistic in some ways. A catterpillar eating ice cream, cheese, lollipop, etc? But I figured, the lesson of the story matters more to me. Eat a lot and you get a stomachache. Eat the right food for you, and you will feel better. So this one stays. Plus, my toddler loves counting the pages on fruits. It’s heaven to be pretend-eating his most favorite fruits on the side, too!

NOTE: This is definitely available in our local bookstores and even secondhand stores, but if you’re not from here or want to shop online, you can get this from Amazon or Book Depository (free shipping to the Philippines)!


This isn’t always read, but I still display it in our shelf. This is about rubber ducks who were packed in a box and loaded into a cargo ship on the way to faraway countries. Suddenly, there was a storm and one of the boxes fell in the water, opened accidentally, and ten rubber ducks came out. Concepts like how toys are made or how they get to our stores can be talked about from this book, but for now, we are simply counting with this.

NOTE: This is definitely available in our local bookstores and even secondhand stores, but if you’re not from here or want to shop online, you can get this from Amazon or Book Depository (free shipping to the Philippines)!


This is another one our son absolutely loves. Each page gives a glimpse of what you can see, do, or watch in San Francisco. Each number focuses on one concept, too – like in the page of this photo, 9 baseball players instead of 9 people playing different sports – but they’re not always identical when it comes to the illustration – like there’s page on houses, all houses, but different colors and styles.

NOTE: I think is available in our local bookstores, but if you can’t find it, you can get this from Amazon or Book Depository (free shipping to the Philippines)!


This is a simple story about Filipino culture, and how, even if we have different backgrounds and cultures, a game can bring us all together. I love how it ended with the game tumbang preso, one of my favorite games when I was a child. Sadly, this is no longer a common sight – so this book is a great jumpoff point to introduce local games. From a counting perspective, it’s fun counting slippers! You can also use this to talk about pairs – how many pieces of slippers, or how many pairs do you see?

I don’t have an affiliate account for this, but you can get this from THIS WEBSITE, or HERE. You can also buy this from our local bookstores.


This is a very simple, straightforward book with great illustrations.

It’s just a collection of collective nouns (which is really helpful and amazing), but we use it for counting, too! We love this book a lot!

NOTE: I haven’t seen this in our local bookstores. You can get this from Amazon or Book Depository (free shipping to the Philippines)!

That’s all we read for now, but I will introduce this later on:

This is the Montessori Number Work book. True to Montessori principles, it focuses on identical images per number. First, it will let you count the images. Then when you flip, it will tell you the number and how it looks. The number is tactile work, too – so you can trace it (see the arrow in number 2 in the photo? It tells you which way to go). The reason I’m not introducing this book yet is because the number symbols are too big that my son would really notice those and ask me what they are for sure. I want to focus on the actual counting first before we move on to the symbols. Maybe in a few months time. This also available in Book Depository (free shipping to the Philippines)!

That’s it for what the books we use that focus on counting, but just as a tip – we don’t end with these books. We count whenever possible with other books – whatever we are reading!

This book, for example. It’s not meant to be a counting book. But we sometimes look at it and I say things like, “Oh! eggs! How many eggs are in the fridge? Let’s see.”

Just try to work with images that are identical or similar to avoid confusion from the child (Is my parent talking about how many or what they are?). And of course, this activity can go beyond books as long as your child is interested – counting can be done everywhere – food, toys, leaves, flowers, etc! When your child is in a sensitive period for this, trust me when I say you will not miss it!

So if s/he isn’t there yet, just wait. And if now’s the time, have fun!:)

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  1. Always love your book reviews Paula! My son likes Eric Carle books, what a delight to see this Duckies book and might just get it. So happy that Filipino books like Pitong Tsinelas are now available for international shipping, hopefully next time it will have a bigger reach by offering free worldwide shipping.

    1. Thank you for dropping by and taking time to message here, Kath! Appreciate it. Hopefully, you can have someone buy it for you from here. 🙂 I’m sure international shipping can be quite costly. 🙁

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