Welcome to the Early Math Games Series where I’ll be sharing easy and fun math games to develop and support early numeracy skills.

Last week, I shared a (very cute and yummy) math game, tiny teddies, which focuses on counting and developing a one-to-one correspondence.  Children learn best when presented with a variety of games that reinforce the same mathematical concept. Today we will continue with another math game that focuses on counting.


This math game, egg carton is very similar to counting boxes. This is great for very young children who are beginning to show an interest in counting. Our current toddler in residence Mr E adores this game.


Math Game: {Counting} Egg Carton

Focus: Math Number, Counting

Desired Results: Match a number word to one, and only one object when counting; (one-to-one correspondence).

Pre-Test: Show the child five counters and ask them, “How many counters do we have here?” As the child counts the counters, do they say the number word in the correct sequence from one to five and do they have a one word, one counter match?

Evidence of Learning: Present the child with five counters and ask them, “How many counters do we have here?” The child should know and name the correct forward number word sequence and have a one word, one counter match.

When working with young children, remember to:

  • Show them how to do the task before expecting them to complete the task independently.
  • Limit the range of numbers being presented when introducing a new mathematical idea.
  • Provide children with a variety of math games, which repeat the same mathematical understanding (e.g. countingnumeral identificationsubitising, etc). To support this, I will be sharing a variety of counting games, numeral identification games, subitising games, etc. as part of this Math Games series.

Teaching & Learning Experiences:

You will need an empty egg carton and some counters. Cut the egg carton into parts, one part with three cups, the other four, the last five.


Begin with the carton of three cups and three counters before increasing to four then five.

  • Model the activity. Focusing only on establishing a one-to-one correspondence, drop a counter one at a time into the carton containing three  cups.
  • Let the child have a turn dropping a counter one at a time into each cup.
  • {Formative assessment}: Can the child drop one counter and only one counter into each box?
  • Further develop the child’s counting skills by counting the counters as they are dropped into the box.
  • {Formative assessment}: Can the child say the number word in the correct sequence having a one word, one counter match?

Math Games Counting Egg Cartons LessonsLearntJournal 03

Extension Activities:

  • Extension activity one: After the child has counted the correct number of counters, show him/her the corresponding numeral on a number card or number line. The early introduction of the number line establishes a good framework for understanding number in all its’ various forms; (natural numbers, integers, rational numbers, real numbers).


Don’t miss our next Early Math Game: Numeral Identification and Counting with Dinosaurs, or browse through our many math games.


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N&M: 4 years, 8 months
February 2013


Lessons Learnt Journal

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is a Christian, Wife, Mother of 4, Primary School Teacher. She is a play-based learning advocate; believes in encouraging children to be independent and autonomous learners; and values an attitude of care and attention, curiosity and wonder. On Lessons Learnt Journal you'll find activities for children: play, maths games, writing, reading as well as parenting confessions. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed. Most days you'll find her chasing her kids and that much needed nap.

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