Mac is really into counting these days. We count the cars as they drive by on the way to preschool. We count how many bites of chicken he has to eat before he can be excused. We count rocks, books, letters, pieces of mail, tiles on the floor, items of clothing, birds in the sky, leaves in the trees, etc. I had no idea there were so many many things to count all day long. I love that he's so into counting (he can count on his own up into the thirties), but I also want to make sure he's able to connect the number in his head to the visual number and the word spelling out the number, so I made this really simple book for him to practice with.
Each page has a number (1 through 10), the word spelling out the number and the corresponding number of hearts on each page. I hole-punched the sides and tied it up with baker's twine to make it into a book. I gave him a box of candy conversation hearts (but you could also use jelly beans, pennies, M&Ms, dried beans, pieces of paper or whatever else you have on-hand). I have him look at the number and tell me what number it is, then look at the word spelling out the number. We identify all the letters and count how many letters there are. Then he counts the hearts and puts a conversation heart on each printed heart as he counts them out. There are so many ways to use this for counting.
If you want to print out your own counting book for your preschooler/toddler, here's the link to the free printable!