Plastic eggs have so many wonderful uses other than being great for Easter baskets. As a teacher I’ve used them for math and reading games. Now as a mom of a toddler, I have found another use for them. This activity can be adaptive to work on many different skills- language development, sorting, colors, counting, letters, etc.
- 12 plastic eggs of different colors
- Empty egg carton
- Place the plastic eggs inside the empty egg carton.
- Remove from the play area other distractions and offer the closed egg carton to your child.
- Observe to see what they do. Can they open the egg carton themselves? Do they ask for your help to open whether with words, gestures, or sounds/grunts?
- Say "open" as you or your child open the egg carton.
- Let your child explore the eggs. Do they take the eggs out? Do they put them back in? Do they grab one egg at a time or multiple? Do they try to open the eggs up? Do they dump the whole carton over to remove all the eggs at once? This is what Riley does when she plays with the eggs. She immediately dumps all the eggs out and opens all the eggs up.
- Invite your child to put the eggs back into the carton. How do they put the eggs in-upside down, on their side, right side up?
- As your child plays with the eggs in the egg carton, be sure to be using words such as "full", "empty", "in", "out". Count the eggs as they take them out or put them in. Name the colors of the eggs. This is all great for your child’s language development. You can always focus on a single word that you want your child to practice and repeat that word often throughout the interaction.
- Color the bottoms of each egg spot in the empty egg carton with a color that matches one of the plastic eggs. (I used colored Sharpies to do this)
- Place the colored plastic eggs in the correct colored spot in the egg carton.
- Say the names of the colors as your child plays with the eggs in the egg carton and show them how to find the matching color in the egg carton.
- Encourage them to put the eggs back in the carton according to color.
- Number each plastic egg with a number. Depending on what you are working on and the age of your child, you can write the actual number or the number word. You could also write both the number and the number word on the egg.
- Number the bottoms of each egg spot in the empty egg carton with a number.
- Match the number egg with the correct number spot.
- Point out and say the numbers on each egg and in each egg spot.
- Encourage your child to match the number on the eggs with the number on the carton.
- Write a letter on each egg. Depending on what you are working on and the age of your child, you can write an upper case or a lower case letter. You could also write both upper and lower case on the egg.
- Write a matching letter on the bottoms of each egg spot in the empty egg carton. You can match the case of the letter on the egg or you could write the opposite case. For example, if you wrote an upper case letter on the eggs, then you could write lower case letters in the carton.
- Match the letter on the egg with the correct letter spot.
- Point out and say the letters (and letter sounds) on each egg and in each egg spot.
- Encourage your child to match the letter on the eggs with the letters on the carton.
- Language development: You are exposing your child to contextual vocabulary such as full, empty, in, out, etc.
- Spatial understanding: Your child is experimenting with how the eggs fit in the egg carton as they empty and fill the egg carton.
- Early math exploration: Your child is being exposed to concepts such as sorting, shape, attributes such as color, and counting as they play with the egg carton sort.