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The One to Ten and Back Again series opens up so many possibilities for number activities in terms of counting by ones, adding on and counting back by ones. For children in the early years (preschool to Year 2), grasping the concept of counting sets up learning for all kinds of mathematical strategies and processes. In this activity, we will be focusing on how the first book in the series, Ten Naughty Numbats, provides scope for understanding basic counting skills through a range of fun, hands-on activities.

*The One to Ten and Back Again series, and Ten Naughty Numbats is written by Grace Nolan, illustrated by Nancy Bevington, published by Big Sky Publishing.


Early Years Learning Framework: Ages 2 – 5

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world –

Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment.

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners –

Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators –

Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts.

Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work.

Key Curriculum Areas: Foundation – Year 1


Responding to literature: Share feelings and thoughts about the events and characters in texts (ACELT1783)

Examining literature: Replicate the rhythms and sound patterns in stories, rhymes, songs and poems from a range of cultures (ACELT1579)

Creating literature: Innovate on familiar texts through play (ACELT1831)

Texts in context: Respond to texts drawn from a range of cultures and experiences (ACELY1655)

Interpreting, analysing, evaluating: Use comprehension strategies to understand and discuss texts listened to, viewed or read independently (ACELY1650)


Number and place value: Establish understanding of the language and processes of counting by naming numbers in sequences, initially to and from 20, moving from  any starting point (ACMNA001)

Connect number names, numerals and quantities, including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond (ACMNA002)

Subitise small collections of objects (ACMNA003)

Compare, order and make correspondences between collections, initially to 20, and explain reasoning (ACMNA289)



Before Reading –

Place up to ten animal toys (Australian, if possible) inside a bag. Ask a child to pick out a handful. Can they count them? Can they name the type of animal?

Look at the cover of ‘Ten Naughty Numbats’. What do you see? What does the title tell you about these animals? Count them together.

What else do you think we might find in this book? Can you name anymore Australian animals?

During Reading –

Count the number of animals as you go through the book.

Point to a number and ask, what number is this? Can you find the matching word number? How many animals on this page? Does your counting match the number on the page?

After Reading –

Complete the fun counting activities at the back of the book.

Do you remember how many sleepy koalas were in the book? How many wobbly wombats? How many naughty numbats?

Do you remember which animal was featured in a group of 4? 7? 9?, etc.



Counting Games

Download the Ten Naughty Numbats_Templates to play the following games. Alternatively, use your own toys and counting objects.


Number Recognition –

Ask the child to read the numerical cards ‘1’ to ’10’ (sheet 1). Read the word numbers ‘one- to ‘ten’ (sheet 2).

One-to-one correspondence –

Use the book, Ten Naughty Numbats, to locate and say aloud the number, word number and pictorial reference (ie. count the animals) for each page.

Using the downloads, ask the child to match the numerical cards (1 – 10) with the word numbers (one – ten). For example, ‘1‘ is paired with ‘one‘, and so on.

Next to the pairing, place the same number of numbats (sheet 4) or your own objects.

Number Sequencing

Mix up the number cards. Ask the child to sequence them in order from 1 to 10, and say the numbers aloud. Practise counting again with using fingers, or the numbat pictures from sheet 4.

Numbat Number Game – 

Cut out all the numbats from sheet 4. Place them and the number cards in two separate piles (the number cards face down). Ask the child to pick up a number card and say it out loud. Then collect the same number of numbats for their own collection. Can they count how many they have? Continue to pick up cards until all the numbats have been collected. Count all ten.

Extension: print and cut out more numbats to count beyond 10.

Hungry / Naughty Numbats Game –

Number of players: 1 – 2 (each player will need their own copy of sheet 3)

Numbats love to eat termites!

Cut out all the termites on sheet 3. Place the number cards in a pile face down. As the child picks a card, they place that particular number of termites on the numbat (pretend to feed it) corresponding to the number on the card. When all the termites have been ‘eaten’, count them and start again!

Extension: Include a couple of smaller numbat cards (from sheet 4) in the pile. If the child picks a numbat card, this numbat is naughty and ‘steals’ the termites away from the big numbat! This is best played with two players. Keep playing until all the termites have been eaten.



For more terrific teaching and learning resources for the One to Ten and Back Again series, please head to Grace Nolan’s website!

Please follow Grace at these links:

www.gracenolanauthor.com | Facebook 

Ten Naughty Numbats is available for purchase at Big Sky Publishing | Booktopia

Counting Ten Aussie Animals for the WIN!

Click here to enter to WIN a copy of the adorable, Ten Naughty Numbats!

Join us on a counting adventure across the blogosphere as we take Grace Nolan and her fun, learning picture book series, One to Ten and Back Again on tour, appearing at the following media sources. 


Organised by Books On Tour PR & Marketing. Email: info.booksontour@gmail.com

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