A Delightful Dozen- Egg Carton Math Game (Preschool-Gr.2)

How much is twelve?  What numbers combined together make twelve? What is more than twelve? Less than twelve?

A child has an easier time grasping a new mathematical concept if they have a direct experience with it.  Here are a few games you can play with an empty egg carton to help your school age daycare children learn about the number twelve.


An empty egg carton


Tiny counters (such as beads, marbles, beans)

Introduce the child to the word “dozen”.  Talk about when they might have heard someone use the word dozen in their everyday life. Give examples of things that come in a dozen (eggs, buns, roses, cans of soda, cookies, doughnuts).

Counting to Twelve

Count the spaces in an egg carton to see how many eggs would fit inside.  Use your marker to label each space. Our egg carton needed a little decoration before it was ready for some learning fun!

Comparing ‘Twelve’

Once your child has labelled each space invite them to fill each spot with the corresponding amount of beads.  The space labelled one would get one bead, the space labelled two would get two beads, etc.

 This will give the child a visual representation of what twelve beads looks like in the egg carton cup compared to the cup holding only six beads. You can ask your child what cup has the most beads? The least? What cup has more, cup seven or cup two?

Making ‘Twelve’

Fill cups one to six with one colour of beads.  Fill cups seven to twelve with a different colour.  Invite your child to count how many purple beads there are and how many pink beads are in the egg cups. Show them that six plus six equals twelve.  Use the beads to make up different combinations of numbers to make twelve.


 Counting by Twos

Place a bead in each of the egg cup spaces.  Demonstrate how to count by twos by traveling down the egg carton.  Talk about how each egg cup has a partner sitting beside them in the egg carton bus.  Count by ones to twelve, then count by twos to twelve.  Ask the question, what is a faster way to count, by ones or twos?  Find different ways to count by twos up to twelve instead of moving from the top of the egg carton to the bottom.  Try side to side, bottom to top, diagonally in X patterns? Make sure your child still understands the consistency of twelve.  No matter how you count to twelve there is still only twelve beads in the egg carton.

Greater than/Less than 

Place one bead in any egg cup space and anther bead in a different egg cup space. Close the lid of your egg carton and have the child shake the carton so that the beads jump around inside and settle in a new egg cup space.  Open the carton to see what two spots are holding beads.  For example,  there is a bead in cup number two spot and cup number ten spot.  Ask the child to describe what they see using the terms ‘greater than’ or ‘less than’.  For example, ‘The number ten is greater than the number two.”  Close the lid and shake again.

Addition or Subtraction

Place two beads in any two spaces of the egg carton.  Close the lid and shake the beads up.  Open the lid and write a number sentence using the two numbers that the beads fell into.  For example, the beads were in egg cups numbered five and two.  You could write five plus two or five minus two.  The child could use their collection of beads to count out the addition or subtraction problem.

Ask your daycare child to make up their own game using the egg carton!  This hands on approach to math will help children have a solid memory of what a dozen looks like.   They will have a point of reference for the number twelve after playing these games with you.  So go ahead and serve scrambled eggs for lunch tomorrow so you can make your own egg carton game!