10 little rubber ducks by Eric Carle

Hmmmm….so this really isn’t an environmental book when you pick it up but it made me think a lot about products that we use regularly that will take years and years to break down, and even then the compounds they were made up of will still exist – changing the soil or water they break down in forever.

10 little rubber ducks is a sweet book as many of Eric Carle’s books are. The pictures are vibrant and the words are easy to listen to telling a joyful story of the journey of 10 rubber ducks on their way from a factory to faraway countries.

Children can learn how to count from 1- 10 but also how to count in ordinal numbers. The story explores different sea creatures and the change from morning to night.

But I think it opens parents and teachers up to the problem – what happens when things fall into the sea that don’t belong there?

So what can you do to ignite care for what we consume?


  • Look at the diet of sea animals – does plastic fall into this?
  • What might happen to each of the rubber ducks?


  • Look for images of animals who have been tangled up or have eaten plastic (also see my book Seagull to link in with this theme.)
  • Read this story about a real life rubber duck catastrophy: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/what-can-28000-rubber-duckies-lost-at-sea-teach-us-about


  • Does plastic breakdown? Try your own experiment by burying food scraps and plastic – see which one breaks down first.



  • Do a household census – what things in your house are made of plastic? Categorize the plastic into single use, long term use, recyclable and waste.



  • Whilst playing in the bath or playing with simple toys, put them in order. Count them from one to ten.
  • Roll items or throw items towards a line to see who can fly the furthest. See you came 1st. 2nd, 3rd etc.


  • Bath time is a great time to sit and play with your child at the end of the day – try to stay off your phone for this time as lots of fun can be had (I know I went through a phase of always reading my phone at this time)
  • Explore some eco friendly bath toy options – there are some great ones out there!  But also look at kitchen utensils and bowls, pots and containers that could be used in the bath. Children are a lot more creative than what we give them credit for!




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