In 2013 the Butterfly Wings team are going to share many numeracy ideas for the early years,

including our first rhyme of the month for January.

Why Focus on Mathematics and Numeracy?


Researchers are in the beginning stages of learning how infants and toddlers build the skills they will one day use for mathematics.  We know that infants and toddlers begin to notice relationships as they start to classify, seriate (put objects in order based on number and size) compare and order objects. (Geist 2003)


K.H Seo (2003) states that early childhood educators are now well aware of the value of play for children’s mathematics learning.  Play offers young children opportunities to develop informal mathematical understanding as they manipulate objects, interact with their peers and explore the world around them.  Children’s informal understanding provides a foundation on which formal mathematics can be built.  Many educators advocate using play as a tool to teach young children mathematics. (Bredekamp & Copple 1997)

The trend has been growing to engage younger children with challenging maths concepts.  Clements (2001) cites three reasons for greater exposure to mathematical concepts in the early years:


January is also a special month because we celebrate Australia Day on 26th January every year.  The numeracy rhyme of the month relates to an Aussie Animal icon – the wombat!! A cute, lumbering marsupial which tends to wobble from side to side when it walks.  



One wobbly wombat wondering what to do

Along came another one

And that made two

Wombats, wombats, wobble and play

Wombat, wombats, wobble every day

Two wobbly wombats sleeping by a tree

Along came another one

And that made three

Wombats, wombats, wobble and play

Wombat, wombats, wobble every day


Three wobbly wombats scratching in some straw

Along came another one

And that made four

Wombats, wombats, wobble and play

Wombat, wombats, wobble every day


Four wobbly wombats very much alive

Along came another one

And that made five

Wombats, wombats, wobble and play

Wombat, wombats, wobble every day

Traditional - adapted


Birth to six months: Chant the rhyme with your child lying on your lap or on a rug on the floor while looking into your child’s eyes.  Use your fingers (or baby's fingers) to represent the wombats and have your fingers dance around and play.  Your baby will be entertained watching your fingers and listening to your voice chanting the rhyme.


Six months to 5+ years: Continue to share this simple chant with your infant, toddler and young child.  Encourage your child to join in with the chant using their fingers for fine motor practice, to increase their language and vocabulary, and eventually your child will be able to perform it independently – this can take months.  If you have five toys (wombats would be fantastic but not essential) use the toys to represent the wombats and have the child add another “wombat friend” for each verse.      


Early Numeracy

Chanting a simple number rhyme helps the child to learn some early mathematical counting language although understanding the concept of numbers and counting does not develop for many years. Young children learn about their world through exploration, play and hands on experiences with objects, and by manipulating some “toys”. When chanting this rhyme children begin to build visual images of the mathematical idea of number and counting.


Research has shown that even babies love the repetition of counting numbers

and number rhymes.




The Butterfly Wings Team would like to encourage families and early year’s educators to use oral stories and picture books as a starting point to develop mathematical ideas and to play with mathematical concepts.

 We would like to:


One day Wombat feels the rhythm in his toes and he’s off to the dance before he knows! With a whole swagful of colourful Australian animals joining him along the way, Wombat shimmies, slides and jives all the way to the dance! A wonderful, entertaining rhyme which can be sung to the tune of the traditional folk song "Frog Went a Courting".

Children can count all the animals in this fun and interactive book – counting on one as each animal joins the group.  Toys can be used to retell the story helping them to build visual images of the mathematical idea of counting on one.

The website, Wombat Went A' Walking, has some interactive activities related to the book,  purchasing information  and even music to download so you can sing the story!!  

Children and parents can sing along to the tune of the popular song ‘Frog Went A’ Courting’ as they follow wombat and turtle on their way to a dance deep in the Australian bush. Along the way, they make new friends with the magpie, the goanna, the kookaburra, the kangaroo, the crocodile — and soon a band of Aussie animals are dancing the night away.

We hope you enjoy our first rhyme of the month for 2013!