Written by Guest Contributor Erin Littles Love Learning

There are 5 simple egg carton crafts for toddlers and preschoolers that you need to try.

One of the best parts of teaching preschoolers is that you don’t need a fancy curriculum or expensive materials to help develop their skills…you can turn basically ANYTHING into a learning activity (like these fun paper towel roll activities!)

In my experience as a preschool teacher and mom of two, one of the easiest (and most fun!) materials to turn into a learning activity is…

AN EGG CARTON!

Yep, an egg carton. 

The next time you have an empty egg carton, don’t recycle it right away! Instead, you should save it, clean it out, and try one of these easy-to-set-up egg carton crafts with your preschooler. 

These activities are simple and don’t require many supplies, but they’re effective in building your preschoolers’ foundational math & literacy skills in a fun, play-based way (which is the best way for our kids to learn).

 

5 Egg Carton Activities for Preschoolers

egg carton with popsicle sticks in the bottom sorted by color text reads egg carton activity color matching

Color Matching Egg Carton Craft for Toddlers

Why is it important for our preschoolers to know their colors anyway? Because this milestone is a link between what our little ones see (visual clues) and what they say (words). Learning colors is also a cognitive process that shows our little ones are developing visual discrimination & sorting skills.

The first egg carton craft for toddlers works on both color matching and fine motor skills. Win win! It’s perfect for preschoolers too.

SUPPLIES:

  • Egg carton
  • Paint or markers
  • Colored craft sticks

DIRECTIONS:

  • Use the paint or markers to color the bottom of the egg carton. (We used dot markers.) Each section should be a different color.
  • Give your little one colored craft sticks.
  • Have them poke the matching craft stick through the bottom of the egg carton.
egg carton and dice with pom poms in the egg carton to match the number on the die text reads egg carton activity roll and count

Roll & Count Egg Carton Craft for Toddlers

One-to-one correspondence is being able to say one number as you count one object. I’m sure we’ve all seen a preschooler touch three objects while counting “1-2-3-4-5.” That preschooler hasn’t quite grasped the concept yet.

One-to-one correspondence is an important foundational math skill for our preschoolers to work on now so they’re prepared for more advanced math concepts in the future. 

SUPPLIES:

  • Egg carton
  • Dice
  • Small objects (such as beans, Legos, pom poms, etc.)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Have your little one roll the die and name the number.
  • Then have them count out that many objects in the egg carton (they will put one object in each section of the egg carton).
  • If you’re ready to work on addition, you can have your little one roll the die and add that many of one color object to the egg carton (such as green pom poms.)
  • Then have them roll the die again and add that many of a different color object to the egg carton (such as purple pom poms). Then have them add up the total.
  • You can show them on a separate piece of paper how to turn that into a math problem by explaining part + part = whole (green pom poms + purple pom poms = total pom poms).
egg carton with number 7 and seven pom moms in the egg carton text reads egg carton activity: subtilizing

Subitizing Activity for Preschoolers Using an Egg Carton

You may not be familiar with the word “subitizing,” but I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept. Subitizing is being able to look at a group of objects and know how many there are without counting each one.

The most common example of this is dice. Most of us can roll a die and say the number we see without counting each dot on the die. That’s exactly what we want our preschoolers to be able to do. 

Another important example of subitizing is with a ten frame. A ten frame is a frame that has 5 spots on top and 5 spots on the bottom. This frame helps kids organize their mathematical thinking and “see” the number of objects without having to count each one.

Subitizing is a foundational math skill we want our kids to master because it builds their number sense & leads to a deeper understanding of more advanced math concepts later on. A simple egg carton craft for toddlers and preschoolers is perfect for practicing this skill.

SUPPLIES:

  • Egg carton 
  • Numbers (you can use number manipulatives or write numbers on post-it notes)
  • Small objects (such as beans, Legos, pom poms, etc.)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • First, cut off the last two spots on the egg carton so you have a ten frame (5 spots on top and 5 spots on the bottom)
  • Then have your little one close their eyes while you place some pom poms onto the ten frame.
  • Have them open their eyes and say the number of pom poms they see as fast as they can (without counting each one if possible).
  • Then have them find the matching number and place it above.
  • Switch roles and you close your eyes while your little one places the pom poms into the egg carton. They’ll love being the “teacher” for this part! 
egg carton with pouch lids in a patterns in the egg carton text reads egg carton activity: patterns

Patterns Egg Carton Activity for Toddlers

Patterning is another visual discrimination activity that helps build mathematical & logical thinking. It allows preschoolers to think ahead & predict what’s coming, use logic to determine the next object in the pattern, and use basic reasoning skills.

In preschool, we want to start out with simple patterns, such as AB patterns. (In an AB pattern, you’ll have 2 different objects and alternate them, such as “star” “heart” “star” “heart”). Then we can get more advanced with patterns such as ABB, AAB, or ABC.

This egg carton craft for preschoolers gives them the chance to create, duplicate, extend, and fill in missing spaces in patterns.

SUPPLIES:

  • Egg carton
  • Small objects (such as beans, Legos, pom poms, etc.)
    • We used old pouch lids.

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Start a pattern for your little one by placing the objects in the egg carton, such as “red” “blue” “red” “blue.” Then have them continue the pattern.
  • You can also create a pattern in the egg carton but leave a few spaces blank. Have your little one add in the missing pieces to complete the pattern.
  • For an extra challenge, call out a type of pattern, such as AAB, and have your little one create that pattern in the egg carton.
egg carton activity for kindergartners cvc word in egg cartons with one letter per space

Egg Carton Activity For Kindergartners CVC Words

CVC words are consonant-vowel-consonant words. These are some of the first words our little ones will sound out and read on their own because they are phonetically regular. These include words such as cat, dog, hen, & win. 

Before our preschoolers can read these words on their own, they need a solid foundation in the relationship between letters and sounds. These skills can be taught in hands-on, play-based ways that don’t involve worksheets or drills (and you can find lots of examples here at Sandbox Academy).

Once they’re ready to sound out CVC words on their own, try this activity!

SUPPLIES:

  • Egg carton
  • Letters

DIRECTIONS:

  • Cut your egg carton into groups of 3.
  • Call out the sounds in a CVC word, such as /w/ /i/ /n/ (just the sounds, not the letter names).
  • Have your little one place the correct letters in each section to create the word. Then have them read the word by running their finger underneath the letters as they blend the sounds together.

 

 

I hope these activities have inspired you to save your empty egg cartons and turn them into learning activities for your preschoolers! These are just a few ideas, but I’m sure you can come up with even MORE creative ways to teach your little one through play! Head to my blog or find me on Instagram to share what you came up with!

 

 

I hope these activities have inspired you to save your empty egg cartons and turn them into learning activities for your preschoolers! These are just a few ideas, but I’m sure you can come up with even MORE creative ways to teach your little one through play! Head to my blog or find me on Instagram to share what you came up with!

 

Thank you so much, Emily, for the chance to share these ideas with your amazing community! 

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preschoolers playing with paper towel roll activity text reads use paper towel tolls for learning 4 simple ways
Erin

Erin

Guest Contributor

Erin is a wife, mom, and preschool teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education & an endorsement in Reading. She is the founder of Littles Love Learning, where she shares hands-on learning activities that are based on early learning standards and rooted in PLAY! Her passion is equipping preschool parents & teachers with the tools to teach foundational skills so their little ones have success in kindergarten and beyond. Connect with Erin on social media:

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