Monday, March 18, 2013

12 Activities Using Plastic Easter Eggs and Egg Cartons

Buy a bag of plastic eggs, save an egg carton, and BAM, you have fun, hands-on activities for your kids from age one to mid-elementary school!
Note: To make these activities Montessori-friendly, be sure to only provide exactly the right amount of eggs (i.e. 12 eggs for a dozen carton).
For the youngest set, simply putting eggs into the carton is enough! If you're playing with the child rather than letting them work alone, this is also a great time to name each color as they place them into the carton. This activity naturally works on 1:1 correspondence, though your child will likely have no idea they're learning early math concepts!
Depending on your child's counting interest and ability, have them count each egg as they place them, either using a dozen or 18 count egg carton. You could certainly also cut a carton in half  or thirds for just beginning to count. Another variation is to have them name each color as they place the eggs.
For color identification, have your child place all of just one color you've named into the carton.
As shown in the picture above of a similar activity, paint or use markers to color each individual cup and have your child match the eggs to the colors.
Paint color patterns into the cups for your child to recognize and place in order, saying the colors/pattern out loud. Use simple patterns for the younger child (i.e. blue, yellow, blue yellow), more complex patterns for those who are ready (i.e green, pink, blue, green, pink, blue) or even more complex for the child who needs more challenge (i.e. blue, yellow, yellow, green, blue, yellow, yellow, green). 
Give your child a pile of 12 opened eggs and let them match the tops and bottom to the same color. This works on matching as well as motor skills; getting those eggs together can be tricky (though maybe that's just my own fine motor deficit showing)!
For the blog. Fractions with eggs and a carton. I.e. how many of the eggs are yellow...four twelfths. Poor babe was sick here two weeks ago but still wanted to learn.
Fill a carton of eggs with various colors and ask your child to tell you, for example, how many green eggs there are, how many blue eggs, etc.
In the photo above, Tyler is working on fractions. He has had a good understanding of these first and knows about numerators and denominators. I would ask him how many of a specific color there were and he would give me the answer in fraction form (3/12ths of the eggs are blue). For a beginner you could start with the top row full of one color and the bottom row filled with another to show about halves.
Ty has recently learned to count change, so to make it even more fun (not that the ability in itself isn't thrilling to a child), I put several coins in each eggs and let him count how much was in each. For a beginner you could put one penny or other coin they're familiar with skip counting by in each egg and have them count the total. For those who are more advanced, counting the total amount of change in the carton (each egg having several coins) is fun, either by hand or for those learning to use a calculator as well as decimal points.
Linking-up with mountains of great ideas at Living Montessori Now

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easter-inspired Math Meals!

Like many young children, Ty can be a pretty picky eater. Add to this some serious texture issues related to sensory quirks and you've got some major challenges. I'm often looking for ways to make eating more fun. While browsing the seasonal section of our local grocery store, I came upon these classic deviled egg trays...and had an a-ha moment!

Though it's been a while, some of you may remember that Tyler enjoys math. A lot. A lot, lot. The very idea of updating the huge amount of math we've covered truly makes my head spin. So, anyhow, using a Sharpie, I turned the tray into a clock! Tyler was instantly intrigued. He enjoys saying "I ate all of 1:00!" and enjoys eating his way around the clock, getting a good variety of foods as he goes. We've been doing this for a couple weeks now and it still works to make meals more fun for him!

For children not interested in or ready for the concept of clocks, you can simply use it for number recognition: "What food is in six?" or "What number are your beans in?". Of course the kiddos can help fill their tray as well: "Where do you think we could put your carrots? Two or three?" and then the child's task is to find that number and fill it. You could teach even and odd numbers to a child who's ready by, for example, placing fruit items in the even spots and vegetables in the odd. Or look at halves by making one half of the clock veggies and the other fruit. Hands-on math fun!


I should note that in order to fill the whole clock I often have to put the same food in two spots, but children who eat a wide variety of food (this is not Ty) could have little nibbles of everything. Kids love choices!

What do you do to make meal-time more fun and interesting? Please feel free to share in the comments!