My preschool daughter loves fun math games, so when I came across some ridiculously cute chenille chicks at the craft store, I couldn’t resist buying them. I knew they would be perfect for a chick counting activity using ten frames.

For more ten frame and number fun, check out our Number Formation Pack in our shop!

Ten frames are simple but highly useful tools that allow children to “see” numbers.  They make it easy to picture how the numbers 1-10 relate to one another and help develop a good number sense using 5 and 10 as benchmarks.

Getting Ready

To make my egg carton ten frames, I first gathered a few supplies:

    • 55 counters (beads, jelly beans, chicks, or something that would fit in an egg work well)
    • 10 jumbo Easter eggs
    • A basket to hold the eggs
    • Egg carton
    • Ten frames printable (attached)
    • Dot markers or dot stickers

I first cut the lid off an egg carton.  Then, I cut the carton in half width-wise, overlapping the cups so that I would only have ten instead of the usual 12. I hot glued the two halves together.

(Even though this activity only needs one ten frame, I made a few in anticipation of working on teens and twenties in the future.  If your child isn’t ready to work with numbers over five, you could make a five frame instead.)

Next, I gathered 10 jumbo eggs and filled them with the chick counters.  I placed 1 in the first egg, 2 in the second, and so on until I reached 10.

Finally, I printed 10 ten frames, grabbed a yellow dot stamper and called my 4 year-old over to play.


Egg Carton Ten Frames

There is something about Easter eggs that gets my daughter excited. She couldn’t wait to see what was hiding in our “huge-mongus” eggs.  Before she opened an egg, I handed her the egg carton and had her count the cups.  I explained that this was a ten frame and she could use it to count.  I showed her how to place only one item in each cup and how to fill the frame in a row or in pairs.

Filling the frame in rows (the top ten frame in the picture below) helps children strengthen one-to-one correspondence and visualize the benchmark numbers 5 and 10 and how they relate.

Preschool Math: Egg Carton Ten Frames. Creative way to teach kids about numbers. {Playdough to Plato}

Filling the frame in pairs (the bottom ten frame in the picture above) also helps with one-to-one correspondence but also is useful for visualizing pairs, odd/evens and part/part/whole relationships.

After a quick introduction, I invited A to pick an egg and count what was inside.  She was giddy when she opened the egg and saw the fuzzy cuteness hiding inside.  She carefully placed each little chick in a cup as she counted out loud, “one, two!”


“Great! Now which ten frame shows the number two?” I asked showing her the printable.  I showed her how she could use the dot marker to make one stamp in each square of the ten frame to show she counted two chicks.


The next egg A picked had 3 chicks in it and A immediately placed them in the ten frame then marked them on her paper.  Before she picked her third egg, I stopped her and asked her to look at the frame with two chicks and the frame with three.

“Which number is bigger?” I asked.

“This one,” she said pointing at the one with three dots.

“How do you know?” I questioned.

“It has more,” she replied.

“How much more?” I asked.  When she compared the two frames, it was easy for her to see that three is one more than two.  A continued counting eggs. I periodically stopped her to have her look and compare various numbers.  Using the frames, A was also able to see how the more difficult larger numbers related to each other.  When asked how much more is 10 than 8, she instantly answered “Two!”


A, methodically worked her way through the basket, saving the golden egg for last.  Can you guess what special number was hidden in that egg?  Ten, of course.  Since ten is such an important number I decided to make it stand out with a shiny golden egg and 10 rainbow chicks.


When A was finished counting, comparing and swooning over her little chicks, I quickly added eyes, a beak, and feet to the dots she made on her paper ten frames.  She couldn’t wait to put her chickies up in her room and now she nods off at night staring at her “chick chart.”  Sweet dreams, my little chicky!

Find More

For even more math and ten frame fun, snag our Number Formation Pack in our shop!

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