Counting & Make 10 with Egg Cartons. Playful Maths

Jan 25, 2013

I am absolutely thrilled to be introducing you to a new weekly series called "Playful Maths"

Together with the fabulous Anna, from The Imagination Tree, we will be bringing you a whole host of 
fun, hands-on maths using everyday materials.

Each week you will find a Playful Maths activity on both Learn with Play at home and The Imagination Tree so be sure to keep checking back for all our upcoming fun!

We'll also be pinning them all to our Playful Maths Pinterest Board

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


To kick off our series we are starting with the readily available, egg carton!

Today's activity focuses on "Making 10
(An important skill where children learn about the combinations of numbers that make up the number 10. This is helpful for mental maths & is necessary down the track to aid with addition, subtraction... etc.

This activity includes counting, one-to-one correspondence, addition and fine motor skill practice.

We also used this activity to practice number recognition and number writing
and found it was good for subitizing/subitising as well. 

Ages: 3+
(M has just turned 4. See the bottom for handy tips to Extend or Simplify to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Egg Carton (standard 1 dozen), Pompoms (or counters, buttons, playdough..etc), Scissors. 
Paper and markers (optional)

Directions: Cut off 2 of the egg sections to leave 10 compartments. Provide 10 of each colour pompom.

Start by having your child count the spaces to see how many "eggs" they can fit in.

When she discovered there were 10 spaces I wrote the number 10, a dot representation of it (good for subitising & number combinations) and the word on a piece of paper to help consolidate the connections between the number and symbols.

Let children fill the egg carton with 10 pompoms. 
Encourage them to use as many of each colour as they'd like.

When the carton is full, ask "How many purple pompoms are there?"
"How many yellow pompoms are there?"
How many pompoms all together?

I was going to write the number sentences for her as she made them but she insisted on doing it herself.
I provided a number chart so that she could see the number and attempt to copy it.

Then, repeat. How many different combinations can they find?
Great for fine motor skills too.

Not long after using 6 purple pompoms & 4 yellows to make 10, she ended up doing 4 purple & 6 yellows. This was amazing to her! "4 and 6 make 10 AND 6 and 4 make 10!!" she kept saying. 

She then had to test if the previous combination of 1 purple and 9 yellow would also translate to 9 purple and 1 yellow. It did! She was very pleased about this discovery.
(and you can imagine my delight) :)

We kept going until she'd had enough (which was when we'd made all the combinations you can do with 2 colours). After figuring out that the end result was the same whether it was 6 and 4 or 4 and 6 and testing it again with the 1 and 9, she was convinced that she didn't need to test it out for the other combinations and she "knew" that they made 10 too.

Here she was reading her number sentences. We talked about what the + and = symbols meant as well as their technical name. As she read over her sentences (consolidating the learning), sometimes she would say 6 plus 4 equals 10 and other times, 6 and 4 make 10, or 6 and 4 is 10. I was more than happy with her demonstrating her understanding in this way.

Occasionally she did get confused about the symbols when she tried to use the technical name and would say "equals" when reading a +. Like any language, this is just something she'll get over time from repeat exposure. At this age the understanding of what it means is far more important than the correct terminology but I think there's no harm in letting them know the correct words as well.

Her finished Make 10, number sentences. (she asked me to write a few of the numbers)

This to her is so much more valuable then any number chart I could buy her. 
Why? Because SHE made it. It makes sense to her. 
(she's even realised that by writing her 0 so close to the 1 she is confusing herself when reading it as it looks like a backwards 9 (or a P) haha)

I'm a visual person so couldn't help myself making this little number 10 representation picture.
(and sneakily.. there's 100 there too)

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by providing the carton and manipulatives for kids to play around with and leave out the number writing. You could write the numbers for your child or could even provide number stickers or magnetic numbers for them to find the corresponding number to amount.

- Extend this activity by challenging children to find every combination they can with 2 colours. Have them guess before making. Children can also make their own number 10 representation poster. 
Try adding an extra colour. What combinations can be made then?

- Mix it up by using playdough to mold egg shapes  instead of using pompoms or buttons etc

- To learn new skills and to consolidate their understanding, children need to experience opportunities to practice these skills over and over again. Repeat this activity with different colours, manipulatives etc.

maths for kids, number activity
- You don't have to use pompoms. Whatever you have available, so long as you have at least 10 of each colour, is fine!

- Here is a previous fun maths activity we shared using Egg Cartons. Click the picture to go to the post.

- Don't forget to pop over to The Imagination Tree to see their Egg Carton Maths activity from this week and be sure to stop back next week as together we bring you another 2 fun Playful Maths activities with Egg Cartons.

Happy playing,
Debs :)


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