Recycled Egg Carton Counting

Preschooler doing an art project with recycled egg cartons at day care

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to demonstrate an understanding of number names and quantity.

Materials Needed:

  • Egg carton (clean)
  • Straws or Pipe cleaners cut into 10 pieces that are 2 inches in length
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction and requires close supervision.


  1. If the egg carton does not have a hole in the top of each egg section, cut a hole a little smaller than the size of a dime.
  2. With a permanent marker, make a dot on the side of the first egg section. Make two dots on the side of the second egg section and three dots on the side of the third egg section. After the third section, start again with one dot, then two, and then three again.
  3. Count the dots with your child and show them how to place a straw in the hole for each dot they count. The one dot egg section should have one straw. Move on to the two dot and then the three dot with your child. Encourage them to try the next set of three.

Extension: Some toddlers love to fill things and might enjoy putting as many straws as they can fit into the holes. This is great science thinking and fine motor work. If interested, encourage your child to try counting again another day.

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Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
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Preschooler doing an art project with recycled egg cartons at day care