This is a fun activity to do in conjunction with Easter to focus on math learning. One skill teachers look for when screening for kindergarten is the ability to touch and count objects, and this activity helps teach that.
You can do this anywhere from two and up. Some children sometime between 18 months and up could do this. You could also do a variation of this with children younger than 18 months to expose the child to counting.
- Egg carton
- Plastic Eggs* Note: You can do this activity without eggs if you want to
- Items to fill eggs
- Write a number on each egg. The photo above shows a pound sign (#) before the number. That isn't necessary, and I think just the number would be best. Write the numbers 1 through 12. *If you are doing this activity without the eggs, just write a number in each egg spot directly on the carton.
- Fill the eggs with something. You can use snacks such as raisins, candy, or small toys if you have some that will fit 12 in one egg. Put as many items in each egg as the number on the egg. So if you were doing raisins, you would put one raisin in egg one, seven in egg 7, etc.
Have your preschooler identify what number is on the outside of the egg. Have your preschooler open each egg and count the items inside. Have him take each item out as he counts it so he will get practice touching and counting items. Many preschoolers can count from 1-12, so it might be more of a challenge to do the numbers out of order.
Work in number order 1-12. Before you open the egg, have your toddler identify the number on the egg. Most won't know; tell you child what the number is if she doesn't know. Then open the egg. The next step will range based on toddler's ability. Younger toddlers will most likly need you to pull the item, count it, and hand it to her. The benefit of this is she will hear counting, feel the counting, see the counting, and if it is a treat/snack, taste the counting :). The older toddler might be able to pull the items out herself and count, and some might pull out, but need some help counting. Complete the activity at your toddler's ability level with offering some challenge to help her grow.
As soon as baby is old enough to eat finger foods, you can put your favorite finger food in the eggs. Work in number order 1-12. Show baby the egg. Point to the number and say what it is. Then open the egg. Count each item as you take it out. Give it to baby as you count and let her eat it. You aren't going to have your baby start counting one day as a baby, but this will expose her to counting. Don't underestimate the power of simple exposure. Children are eager to learn and learn from all they experience.
If you are eager to do something with a baby who is unable to eat finger foods yet, you can still do something. You can put items in the eggs, pull them out, and count them. Keep these items out of reach of baby because they will be too small to be safe for her.