Counting Activity with 10 Little Rubber Ducks

Creating hands-on learning for my children has become more fun with adding water play to the activity. We read multiple counting books related to the ocean, so we decided after reading 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle that this was the day to create our own ocean water play to practice counting.

BOOK DESCRIPTION for 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle

Skills: Numerical values 1-10, directionality, counting 1-10

Ages: Baby- 5yrs 

The inside cover shows how Eric Carle wrote this story from a real-life story of a cargo ship dropping toys, including rubber ducks, in the ocean by accident. This book leads its self well to math skill practice during and after reading the book. 

10 Little Rubber Ducks allows your child to explore counting while looking at illustrations. The book uses directionality on most of the pages. The words used include; up/down, left/right, north/south, east/west, and water/sky. The book had descriptive verbs that would be fun for your child to act out from the book; we tried acting out the words drift, float, bobbing, blinks, screeches, glides, and chatters. 

Water Activity After Reading 10 Little Rubber Ducks 

This water activity was so much fun to create, play, and clean up with my kids. We made this sensory water/beach container to demonstrate the ducks washing up onshore. 

I gathered all the materials and then let my children build the ocean scene from the book 10 Little Rubber Ducks together.

My daughter’s favorite part of the activity was to blow bubbles using a straw into the water to represent waves crashing on the shore. My son’s favorite part was pushing the bin side to side to make giant waves. I loved when we added a few drops of foam paint into the bin and watched the water change colors. It looked like the ocean after we did that.

Materials for the Rubber Duck Water Play Activity: 

  • Container with deep sides to hold water
  • Water & water pitcher kids can pour
  • Various sized rocks and crystals 
  • Sand 
  • Blue foam paint or blue food coloring
  • Mini rubber ducks (Michael’s had a pack of 6, so we bought 2 sets)
  • Tool bin- straws, scoops, cups, eye droppers, sifters (optional)
  • Sequins (optional)
  • Ocean animal figurines or mini erasers (optional) 
Set-up for water play for 10 Rubber Ducks activity.

Process & Play Ideas for 10 Rubber Ducks Water Play

My children were able to help with each of the below steps. It was fun seeing them in charge of this creation. 

  1. Gather materials.
  2. Make a thin layer of sand on the bottom of the container.
  3. Add rocks and pebbles around the sand.
  4. Add crystals or gems (we also added sequins at this time).
  5. Then pour water in slowly.

At this point in the process, I let the children push the bin back and forth to create waves and see bubbles start to form. We looked back through the book and then added the rubber ducks and blue foam paint. 

Kids used straws to make waves on the water to make the rubber ducks move. The kids kept adding and taking ducks away, which was perfect for subtracting and adding practice. We also continued rocking the bin to watch the ducks float around and talk about directions the ducks were moving. My kids requested to play this for days after we first played it. 

For more Eric Carle’s book ideas, please visit my post, Eric Carle Book Activities. We love Eric Carle and his books! Each book is a treasure in our home. 

My post Ocean-Themed Activities that includes additional sea related play ideas for young learners. 

Thank you so much for visiting Live Learn Literacy. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have other books you would like educational activities to connect to, please contact me at or on Instagram @LiveLearnLiteracy. 

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