Mouse Count, by Ellen Stoll Walsh

What do snakes eat for dinner? Mice! This simple story is about a snake who is gathering mice for his dinner but will the mice become his supper? Read and count your way through this cute story.


  • 10 simple house shapes numbered 1-10 or 1-5
  • Mouse shape
  • Ahead of time, paint 2 stones (small enough to fit in their hand) per child in a tan type color
  • Bag of pompoms
  • Pictures of mice
  • Rhyming cards
  • Dice
  • Basic shapes cut from a manilla folder (see resources)
  • Snake picture


Before reading the Story

Hold up the cover and ask the children if they know what animals are in the story today? Read the title and have the children count the mice with you. Tell them that today is going to be a number day. Count to 10 and back again holding up the appropriate fingers as you count. Encourage the children to join in.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequence to 10 and beyond.

Reading the Story

On the first page where the mice are careful watching for snakes, ask the children why the mice needed to be careful? Ask them what they think is going to happen in the story, will the mice be eaten? Let’s find out. Continue to read.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

Have the children count along with you. Use the picture of the mouse and tape to the wall or flannel board for the children to help count.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

After Reading the Story

Put your houses labeled 1-10 or 1-5 in order on the floor where the children can see. Have one child close their eyes and put the mouse under one of the houses. The child then opens his eyes and must guess which house the mouse is under using their words. Help them count the houses if they do not know the numbers. Give each child 3 tries. Then the child who hid their eyes is the next person to hide the mouse and another child guesses. Continue until everyone who wants a turn gets one.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.


Print out the pictures of the mice in similar size. Cut off each mouse’s head. Put the bodies in one pile and the heads in another. Challenge the children to match the correct head to it’s body.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; progresses in ability to put together and take shapes apart.

Music and Movement

Have the children take turns showing an exercise (jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, touching toes). Do these to the count of ten.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Ask them to pretend that they are a snake and do the following movements; Can you make your body a curled shape? Can you stretch your body out long? Can you wiggle only your one foot? Can you stretch one part of your body and curl another? Can you twist your body all around? Can you move only your head? Can you slither on the ground like a snake? Can you twist more than one body part?

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands increasingly complex and varied vocabulary. AND Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.

Recite the following poem and have the children act out. I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor.


Cut out 5-10 snakes and add them to the block center. Ask the children if they can measure how long each block or block structure is using the snakes as the measuring device.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows progress ub using standard and non-standard measures for length and area of objects.


Draw the basic mouse shapes onto a manilla folder and cut out. The children can then trace around the shapes and cut them out with scissors and put together to make a mouse.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Library and Writing

Put the animal and their rhyming word cards out for the children to match.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; progresses in recognizing matching sounds and rhymes in familiar words, games, songs, stories, and poems.

Sand and Water

Fill the table with pompoms today. Give the children bowls or cups marked with the colors of the pompoms on the outside. Encourage the children to sort the pom poms into the correct cup using tongs, tweezers, or chopsticks. Which cup has the most, least?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use language to compare numbers of objects with terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, equal to. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills;develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Dramatic Play

If you have a doll house add several little toy mice (found in cat toy department) instead of people today.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; participates in a variety of play activities that becomes more extended and complex.

Cut out mouse ears from construction paper and attach to sentence strips that the children can wear on their heads and pretend to be mice today. Add large boxes if you have them and the children can pretend that they are theri mouse house.

Math and Manipulatives

Use the mouse shape and make 10 in each of several colors. The children take turns rolling the dice and collecting that many mice. After each turn, they count the number of mice in their pile. When all the mice are collected, the child with the most mice wins.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increased abilities to combine, separate, and name “how many” concrete objects.

Outdoor Play

If possible ahead of time take your tan painted rocks and hide-scatter them about the playground. If you cannot do ahead of time, nonchalantly scatter them while the children are busy playing. Gather the children and show them one of the rocks. Tell them that you are pretending that it is a mouse. Explain that you saw many mice on the playground. Let’s pretend to be snakes and look for our supper. Have the children search the playground for tan rocks/mice. They can then bring them to you and count them out loud. (Riley, how many mice did you find? Who found more? Who found the most?).

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use language to compare numbers of objects with terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, equal to. AND Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activities, projects, and experiences.


Play 1,2,3 How Many Do You See? As you go to the next activity. Make two fists with your hands. Knock them together and say, 1-2-3 how many do you see? On the word ‘see’ hold up 0-10 fingers and ask a child to tell you how many there are. Continue until all the children have had a turn.

Mathematics/Number & operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness if numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.


From Jennifer Miller website

Rhyming word cards

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.