10 Little Rubber Ducks

I was so happy when I found out that Kohls was releasing more of Eric Carle’s picture books in their Kohls Cares for Kids program.  These are such wonderful hardcover picture books for the bargain price of $5!  If you don’t live near a Kohls you can find them online!

I already owned a copy of this book, but it was one of those that I had not taken time to develop lessons and use.  When I reread it I was so excited about all the possibilities!

1.  I loved the whole idea of talking about HOW AN AUTHOR GETS AN IDEA.  Eric Carle shares a news article that inspired this book on the inside cover.  He read about a cargo ship containing toys that dumped into the ocean, and decided he just had to make it into a picture book.  It would be really fun to look for simple news stories that the children might adapt – or to create a story as a class based on something in the news!

2.  This book is wonderful for RETELLING and acting out.  I found some clipart pictures that you might be able to use, either staple pictures on headbands, or punch holes to wear as a necklace – or even glue them onto construction paper for the children to hold.

Here is a link to full sized pictures:

Necklace clipart pdf

3.  Along with retelling – this book makes great use of DIRECTIONAL TERMS!  You could choose one child to be a duck – or 10, and have them go in the specified directions.  This would be a great time to label North, South, East, West in your classroom – if you can figure it out!  I am a bit directionally challenged myself!  I do have a good concept of left and right though!


4.  This book would be a good tool if you have children still working on basic NUMERAL RECOGNITION.  I am sharing some pictures of numbered ducks, but it would be even more fun to get small plastic ducks (they come 2 in a pack) from a dollar store or somewhere, and put numbers on them!

Number ducks

5.  COUNTING BACKWARD!  You could also use these pictures or the plastic ducks to practice counting backward from 10 – 0.

6.  When you first read this book it is obviously a great way to introduce or reinforce ORDINAL NUMBERS!  Here are the same ducks labeled with ordinal numbers.

Ducks ordinal

Then I had an idea – you could run off copies of a box for each child and cut a vertical slit in it. Each child will cut out these strips, overlap them and glue them together.  Then they could cut out the numbered ducks and put duck 1 in the box under the word 1st, etc.

This is kind of large – you might just want to use it to demonstrate or play with as a group – you could probably reduce all the pages on the copy machine to make a smaller project for each child!

out of box

7.  In the story they packed 10 ducks in each box.  This would lead right into practice COUNTING BY 10’s!

I had a couple of ideas to use with this story.  You could give each child a copy of the cargo ship and just let him/her glue on 5 boxes labeled 10, 20, etc.

Or you could give them pictures of 5 boxes full of 10 ducks each.  After cutting out the boxes they could glue on the numbers counting to 50 by 10’s on the back, and then glue them onto the boat.  That would give them a more concrete idea of what it means to count by 10’s.

Count by 10s

8.  Of course this book would tie in to an OCEAN UNIT very well because the ducks fall into the sea and met a variety of ocean animals.

9.  There is some great VOCABULARY too!  I loved the  “Chuckedy-chuckedy-chuck” sound of the rubber duck machine.  I would spend a few minutes talking about “bob” and “drift.”  The more I read this book, the more I love it!!

10.  One of my favorite parts of this book is the wonderful STYLE and VOICE!  A technique that Eric Carle uses is to repeat the last few words of some paragraphs, I would tell the children that when I read this book it touches my heart!

He repeats phrases like “whistles across the sea,”  “10 ducks overboard!” and “only water and sky.”  It is a very effective way to include emotion in this story!

If you don’t already own this book I hope you get a chance to pick it up at Kohls!  And I hope you love it as much as I do!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 11:42:40

    I love this book too! I made an Ordinal Numbers activity to go along with “10 Little Rubber Ducks” and it’s posted for free at my blog, I’d love for you to check it out!



  2. Anne Burfitt
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 13:40:57

    Thank you so much for sharing….I’m off to Kohl’s! I read your article about puppets in the class and tried it with my little group. It worked wonders! Each child is so engaged and attention spans grew rapidly. They even ask for “Letter Man” and look forward to seeing him in circle time. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.


  3. teac2649
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 20:58:03

    I use this book every year to work on math skills with my pre-k students. They really love it! Thanks for the great activities and printables. I am doing an Eric Carle week that you might be interested in. Thanks!



  4. Trackback: Activities for Rooster's Off to See the World & 10 Little Rubber Ducks (Eric Carle Week)
  5. nferraro@lakewoodpiners.org
    Jun 18, 2020 @ 22:03:56

    Thank you! Thank you! Wonderful ideas and I appreciate your sharing. Nancy


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