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Counting and literacy activity with Pete the Cat

Pete the CatThe “Pete the Cat” series of books are loved by children, teachers and parents! (We are pretty big FANS ourselves!)

While doing a recent “Book & Boogie” activity with the story “Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons” at our local library, I wanted to have something for the children to take home with them so they could retell the story. The activity below provides a hands-on counting component to the story while you read it – but can also be used to retell the story afterwards.


Beforehand, print out shirt clipart (or do a freehand drawing) onto some yellow cardstock or construction paper to look similar to Pete’s shirt in the story and then cut it out.  Provide one to each child.

Pete the Cat

Before you read, have children put 4 circle/dot stickers on their OWN shirt (you can put 4 dots on each circle with a marker to make it look more like a button, if you wish). I also put 4 sticker buttons on my shirt as well. As you read the story and Pete looses a button, have the children take one of their sticker buttons off their shirt and put it onto their yellow paper shirt. Have them count how many buttons they have left on their own shirt – to go along with how many buttons Pete has left on his shirt.

Continue until all the buttons are off their shirts and onto their paper shirt.  They can then bring their paper shirt home to be able to re-tell the story.  Or they can use their paper shirt in the art center, draw a picture of Pete and glue the coat on.

You can laminate some yellow paper shirt and put them in the reading center along with the book and stickers.  Children can put 4 buttons on the shirt, and as they look at the book, they can remove a button from the shirt just like in the story.  Laminating the cardstock shirt with clear contact paper or a laminating machine will help with durability, and for ease of the stickers to be peeled off and on.

Pete the Cat

Don’t forget that there are FREE song downloads available for each “Pete the Cat” story – and after you listen and read, you’ll definitely be walking around and singing “My buttons … my buttons! My four groovy buttons“!


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