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Egg-cellent Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities

Egg-cellent Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities

These Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities are a fun way for your kindergarten or preschooler to practice addition, counting, subitising, and making 10. Egg-cellent!



Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities

Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities

These Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities are a fun and engaging  way for kids to learn and practice early years addition skills. This everyday item makes  math rotations cheap, fun and hands-on for Preschool, Kindergarten & Foundation Years kids.

Make these egg carton ten frames in a matter of minutes using everyday objects including, egg cartons, dice, counters and pompoms. Our egg carton maths activities are an engaging way to review, practice and consolidate so many early math concepts. Try them today or one of our other great math ideas or teacher resources!



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Egg Carton Ten Frame Instructions


Ten Frame Egg Carton Equipment


  • Egg Cartons
  • Tongs
  • Dice or playing cards
  • Permanent Markers
  • Double sided counters Pom Poms, Gems, Dried Beans or similar objects

Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities


There are two ways you can make a homemade ten frame manipulative for these egg carton ten frame activities. Both need a one dozen sized egg box. One way is to use the egg compartment section, the other is by using the egg carton lid. I usually make both versions but I initially only use the egg compartment ten frame version with my students. They find it easier to make a connection with this version than when I use the lid version. I move onto the other version when my students are feeling comfortable about using the ten frame as a tool.


  1. Start by removing the lid from the egg carton. Next cut down the egg compartment so there are 10 compartments instead of 12. Don’t throw away the extra compartments!

Making Egg Carton Ten frames



2. Next trim the extra egg compartments that you cut, and use them as reinforcement for the end compartments.  Secure them using double sided tape. That’s it, Done!

You can paint and decorate your new ten frames if you wish. Painting or adding decoration is a neat way to stop your new ten frames from accidentally being thrown away!

ten frame egg cartons


3. Next you can also make the lid into a ten frame using Washi tape. Just use the tape to mark out an outer frame, then section that off so there’s 10 spaces. SIMPLE!

Washi Tape Egg Carton ten frame


Easy Egg Carton Math games


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Egg Carton Ten Frame Activities

Subitising, Addition, Making 10

In this activity the student develops their ability to subitise (subitize) small collections. Students start developing this early math skill using dice, but this activity extends them to start building the understanding that numbers in our number system are made up of tens and ones (place value).

Using the egg carton like a ten frame helps kids subitise, or see how many (without counting) for the numbers 5-10 in a ‘making 10’ context.  Encourage math talks around how you can work out how many there are without counting. We also discussed how many are missing and how you could work that out. e.g. if there are 5 counters there must be 5 spaces without counters.

More or Less

The egg carton tens frames can also be used to compare quantities. This type of activity helps students to discuss and explain what happens to a quantity when we add 1 more, or when we take 1 away – one less. Children get to build the numbers themselves by adding ‘counters’ to the frame. They can compare two tens frames or a tens frame and a digit to  explain which is more or less. This is a great pre-curser activity to play before moving into addition and subtraction.

Egg Carton ten frames pompoms


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When the students are ready you can start writing the matching number sentences  to introduce basic addition facts. A nice game to play is you write an addition number sentence and the students uses the counters and the ten frame to ‘act out’ the addition process. And vice versa.

Egg Carton Tens Frame Activities


Thinking about numbers using frames of 10 can be a helpful way to learn basic number facts. Using a ten frame helps students to build automatic recall of basic addition facts to 10, 20 , 30. Using this math manipulative is also a great way to scaffold the introduction of early algebra.

We used a pack of cards to help generate the two numbers to be added together. The students turned over a four and added four red counters to the ten frame, next a 2 was turned over and they added two more counters. We then modelled the mathematical process of addition by creating a word version of the math problem using the “think aloud” strategy.

“I had 4 red counters and then I got 2 yellow counters. There are 6 counters altogether. So 4 and 2 more makes 6.”

We then used magnetic numbers to create the number sentence and moved into writing the number sentences independently.


Egg Carton Tens Frame addition

We also talked about what happens if we used the same coloured counters or put the counters in different spaces in the ten frame. By moving one of the counters onto the top row we talked about how much easier it is to count.. “5 and 1 more, makes 6”

How Many More to  make 10?

Next we extended the activity and discussion to ask, “If I have 1  yellow counter how many more red counters do I need to make 10?”  whilst writing the following number sentence 1 + _ = 10. The child used the counters to find that they needed 9 more red counters to make 10.


Egg Carton number facts


We continued  until we had got through all the tens facts. We finished by flipping the boxes around to demonstrate the commutative property of addition. Remember to use your teacher judgement about which activities you do and when with your students.

Once students are proficient with the tens frame, they may be ready to move onto using a 100’s chart.



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Now it’s over to you! Let us know how you use egg cartons in your classroom!

By A+ Team

The A Plus Teacher has been a Primary School Numeracy Curriculum Leader and Coach for 16 years and now advisors A Plus Teaching Resources about Teaching Numeracy The A+ Team is Passionate About helping educators to save time so that they can concentrate on the most important job in the world... Teaching! The Team Creates Time Saving, Tried & Tested, Hands-on, Teaching Resources, Ideas, Organisers, Checklists, Printables, Posters, & Games! Visit the Website for Some FREE Teacher Worksheets & ideas! & Join our FACEBOOK Community

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