Using Picture Books to Teach Children about Large Numbers

5 Best Picture Books To Teach Children About Large Numbers | Future Education Magazine


Imagine a world of colorful pages and captivating tales, where picture books are more than just stories. They are the gateways to young minds, taking children on thrilling adventures, imparting valuable life lessons, and revealing the mysteries of our fascinating world. Beyond their vivid illustrations and imaginative narratives, picture books hold a hidden power: they are remarkable tools for unraveling intricate ideas, like the vast realm of large numbers, to kids in a way that’s not just informative but incredibly fun.

In this article, we’re about to embark on a journey into the enchanting realm of picture books. They are not just tales but magical keys to unlocking the mysteries of numbers so big they might just blow your mind! Get ready to discover how these picture books play a crucial role in helping children understand the intriguing world of large numbers and numerical wizardry.

Using picture books to teach children about large numbers:

1. The Power of Visual Learning

5 Best Picture Books To Teach Children About Large Numbers | Future Education Magazine

Children are inherently visual learners; picture books tap into this natural inclination. The combination of vibrant illustrations and carefully chosen text makes books a perfect medium for introducing abstract concepts like large numbers. Visual aids provide a concrete representation of these numbers, making them more accessible and less intimidating for young minds.

2. Engagement through Storytelling

Storytelling has always been a captivating way to convey information. Picture books often weave large numbers into engaging narratives, providing context and meaning. For instance, a story about a character who collects a thousand seashells during a summer vacation is relatable and helps children visualize the concept of one thousand.

3. Fostering Curiosity

Picture books about large numbers can pique a child’s curiosity and encourage them to explore further. As children encounter numbers beyond their everyday experiences, they may begin asking questions and seeking additional information. This curiosity can be a driving force for further learning.

4. Developing Numerical Literacy

Numerical literacy is a crucial skill for children to develop, and picture books can play a significant role in this process. By introducing large numbers, children not only become comfortable with the concepts but also start to understand how they relate to their everyday lives. Numerical literacy is a foundation for various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, making these books invaluable for early education.

Related: 30 Of The Best Books To Teach Children Empathy

Here are 5 picture books that effectively teach children about large numbers:

Selecting the appropriate books for teaching large numbers is crucial. These books should strike a balance between being informative and entertaining, ensuring that children remain engaged while learning.

5 Best Picture Books To Teach Children About Large Numbers | Future Education Magazine

1. “How Much Is a Million?” by David M. Schwartz

This classic picture book uses imaginative scenarios to help children comprehend the enormity of numbers like a million.

2. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

While not explicitly about large numbers, this beloved book introduces counting and days of the week, setting the stage for more complex numerical concepts.

3. “A Million Dots” by Andrew Clements

Through vibrant illustrations, this book allows children to visualize what a million looks like by following a character as they collect dots.

4. “The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins

This book introduces division and the concept of sharing, helping children understand the distribution of quantities.

5. “The Number Devil” by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

This book combines storytelling with mathematical concepts, making it suitable for older children who are ready for more complex numerical challenges.

Activities to Reinforce Learning

5 Best Picture Books To Teach Children About Large Numbers | Future Education Magazine

Picture books can be enhanced with hands-on activities that reinforce the lessons about large numbers. Here are some creative activities to engage children in the learning process:

1. Counting Collections

Encourage children to gather collections of everyday items like buttons, pennies, or pebbles. They can then count and group these items into sets of hundreds or thousands, providing a tangible experience with large numbers.

2. Create a Number Wall

Designate a wall or poster board to showcase numbers and their visual representations. As children encounter large numbers in picture books, they can add them to the wall, helping them create a visual library of numbers.

3. Storytelling with Numbers

After reading a picture book, ask children to come up with their stories involving large numbers. This encourages them to apply what they’ve learned and fosters creativity.

4. Estimation Games

Play estimation games where children guess the number of objects in a container or the length of a line. This promotes critical thinking and approximation skills.

Incorporating Large Numbers into Everyday Life

While picture books play a vital role in introducing children to large numbers, connecting these abstract concepts to their daily lives is equally important. Parents and educators can:

  • Point Out Large Numbers: During everyday activities, like shopping or reading the news, adults can draw children’s attention to large numbers, explaining their significance and relevance.
  • Math Challenges: Pose mathematical challenges involving large numbers, such as estimating the number of leaves on a tree or the grains of sand on a beach.
  • Real-World Applications: Discuss real-world applications of large numbers, such as populations, distances, and time, to help children grasp the practical importance of these concepts.


Picture books are not only a source of entertainment but also a valuable educational tool, especially when it comes to introducing children to the world of large numbers. Through engaging storytelling, vibrant illustrations, and thoughtful activities, children can develop numerical literacy and overcome the challenges of comprehending abstract numerical concepts. With the right selection of picture books and guidance from educators and parents, children can embark on a journey to explore the fascinating world of large numbers and their relevance to everyday life.

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