Goats + Apples= Sleepy Goats

This rhyme is one of my new favorites!   It is a Kevin McKenzie rhyme which my colleague Lisa shared with me.   It is so fun and promotes many opportunities for numeracy learning.

Numeracy learning includes the early concepts that children learn at home which prepare them for future math learning.  Conversations that include language such as: bigger, smaller, heavier, lighter are all important in developing numeracy thinking.

Here are some numeracy actives you can do at home:

  • Get your child to set the table: each person gets one fork, one plate one glass etc.
  • Sort toys or laundry together while comparing and describing the difference between items.
  • Count everything together: steps, crackers, apples etc. to help children learn to count accurately. Point to objects as you say each number. Help them learn to count their fingers, putting up one finger at a time as you count it. (Fingers are tools you always have with you!)
  • Look for shapes in your home or neighborhood: “Our window is a square, our clock is a circle”
  • Talk about your day: what are you going to do first?  Second? Third?
  • Say a rhyme or sing a song together.

You can find more ideas here:


See this fun rhyme below and let me know what you think!

The Gates all open:

(Begin with arms crossed in front of you)

The gates all open (open arms up)

And the goats run through (say trit trot trit trot while making motions with hands)

They climb the branches of the apple tree (make tree climbing motions)

They fall asleep (pretend to sleep, making the sleeping noise that the animal would make),

From the apples that they ate (munch munch munch)

So we carry them home (pretend to carry the animal home, if it’s a big one carry over shoulder i.e goat, horse, pig, if its small carry in hands i.e. mouse, rabbit, cat).

And shut the gate! (Arms crossed again in front of you)

Add any animals you want.  Here are some suggestions:






Mice-run (tiny steps with fingers)

Enjoy and have fun!

Kevin McKenzie is a Canadian storyteller who shares his fun and creative rhymes and stories all over the world.  His rhymes and finger plays are fun for children and adults and are wonderful for language and numeracy development. 

 His website is: http://www.storiesbykevin.com

What other rhymes or songs can you think of that teach counting or sequencing?

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