I love using our reading time as a starting point for learning. Books teach so much just by reading them and discussing them, not to mention the closeness you share with your little ones while reading to them, which nurtures their hearts and spirits. But I also love acting the stories out to help the boys really grasp various concepts. This is especially useful with little Damian. Right now he is loving the book Ten in a Den (partially because we sang the Ten in a Bed song during our last Music Together session, and partially because he loves any book that you can sing the words for, he has a real soft spot for music).
The first few times we just sang through the book and looked at the pictures together. Then we counted 10 stuffed animals, lined them up and sang through the song again, this time acting it out (and changing the words a little to “ten in the bed” and the name of each stuffed animal).
Damian would make them roll over and one fall off the bed while we sang the words together. Acting it out and seeing the numbers/counting in action really helped to clarify the concept in his mind, I think. There are so many books you can do this sort of thing with, a little lesson in the day, without anyone knowing it was one! ;)