Literacy Activities & Articles

Numbered Egg Carton

Counting with pom poms and egg cartons—what a fun way to learn!

Let’s Go!

What you need:


  • a clean, empty egg carton
  • pom poms or cotton balls
  • a crayon or marker
  • tongs (optional)

What to do:




  1. You or your child (if they can) use the crayon or marker to print numbers inside the egg carton. You may want to use lower numbers to start
  2. Put the pom poms or cotton balls in a pile or bowl
  3. Have your child pick up a pom pom or cotton ball with their fingers or the tongs, and move it to one of the egg carton cups
  4. Say the number in that cup. Add more pom poms or cotton balls, counting out loud, until you reach that number
  5. Try again until each cup in your egg carton has the right number in it!

Do It Together!

Together, you and your child can pick the numbers and write them in the egg carton cups. Follow your child’s lead by letting them choose a pom pom or cotton ball and put it in whichever cup they want. If they are using the tongs, help them get started by putting your hand over theirs until they learn how the tongs work.

When they choose the cup, say the number. Keep counting out loud as they add pom poms or cotton balls, until that number matches the number inside the cup. If your child understands what’s happening, you can challenge them by asking questions like “how many more do you think we need to add to reach the number?” and then test their guess.


This activity helps your child start to understand that numbers represent a specific value. For example, the number “1” represents one item (one-to-one correspondence). The number “2” can be used to show two objects, and so on. As your child does this activity, they will become more familiar with numbers and the counting sequence. It also introduces the idea of addition. Using the tongs adds an extra challenge—it is a great fine motor activity.

To get over 125 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

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