"Scrambled Egg" Math Activity

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Updated on Oct 16, 2012

If you’re like most parents in today’s environmentally conscious world, you’re always looking for ways to reuse, reduce or recycle containers, boxes, bottles or egg cartons.  Here's yet another use for an egg carton that can provide your first grader with the opportunity to practice the important math skills of number recognition and sequencing in an independent, fun-filled way.

What You Need:

• Plastic egg carton
• Markers
• 2 small plastic chips, lima beans or pennies for game tokens
• Paper
• Pencil

What You Do:

1. Using markers, write a different number from 1 to 9 in each section of the egg carton (three numbers must be written twice.
2. Give your child two game tokens (pennies, plastic chip, or beans). Tell her that together you are going to play a math game to practice your numbers.
3. Have her fold a piece of paper in half vertically to create two columns on the paper. Have her write the numbers 1 to 10 in a vertical column on the left side.
4. To play the game, your child should place two game tokens in the carton, close the lid and shake the carton to scramble those number “eggs”!
5. Next, have you child open the carton to see which sections of the carton the tokens landed in. The two sections will be labeled with two numbers. Using these two numbers she will then create a two digit number. For example, if the tokens land in sections 2 and 5, she can create either 25 or 52, and should write that number on the paper.
6. Play continues until she has created and recorded ten two-digit numbers on the left column of her paper.
7. In the right column, have her list the ten two-digit numbers in the correct numerical sequence.

With practice games like this, kids build their confidence in recognizing numbers that they may consider big and daunting. As your child gains more proficiency, you can also try adding three tokens to practice sequencing from 100 to 999. No need to rush, though—“reinforcement” is the name, and aim, of the game!

Victoria Hoffman, M.A., is an elementary school teacher, writer and mother from Leonardtown, Maryland. She has taught grades K-5 in both regular and special education classrooms.