Buy a bag of plastic eggs, save an egg carton, and BAM, you have fun, hands-on activities for your kids from age one to mid-elementary school!
Note: To make these activities Montessori-friendly, be sure to only provide exactly the right amount of eggs (i.e. 12 eggs for a dozen carton).
For the youngest set, simply putting eggs into the carton is enough! If you're playing with the child rather than letting them work alone, this is also a great time to name each color as they place them into the carton. This activity naturally works on 1:1 correspondence, though your child will likely have no idea they're learning early math concepts!
Depending on your child's counting interest and ability, have them count each egg as they place them, either using a dozen or 18 count egg carton. You could certainly also cut a carton in half or thirds for just beginning to count. Another variation is to have them name each color as they place the eggs.
For color identification, have your child place all of just one color you've named into the carton.
As shown in the picture above of a similar activity, paint or use markers to color each individual cup and have your child match the eggs to the colors.
Paint color patterns into the cups for your child to recognize and place in order, saying the colors/pattern out loud. Use simple patterns for the younger child (i.e. blue, yellow, blue yellow), more complex patterns for those who are ready (i.e green, pink, blue, green, pink, blue) or even more complex for the child who needs more challenge (i.e. blue, yellow, yellow, green, blue, yellow, yellow, green).
Give your child a pile of 12 opened eggs and let them match the tops and bottom to the same color. This works on matching as well as motor skills; getting those eggs together can be tricky (though maybe that's just my own fine motor deficit showing)!
Fill a carton of eggs with various colors and ask your child to tell you, for example, how many green eggs there are, how many blue eggs, etc.
In the photo above, Tyler is working on fractions. He has had a good understanding of these first and knows about numerators and denominators. I would ask him how many of a specific color there were and he would give me the answer in fraction form (3/12ths of the eggs are blue). For a beginner you could start with the top row full of one color and the bottom row filled with another to show about halves.
Ty has recently learned to count change, so to make it even more fun (not that the ability in itself isn't thrilling to a child), I put several coins in each eggs and let him count how much was in each. For a beginner you could put one penny or other coin they're familiar with skip counting by in each egg and have them count the total. For those who are more advanced, counting the total amount of change in the carton (each egg having several coins) is fun, either by hand or for those learning to use a calculator as well as decimal points.
Linking-up with mountains of great ideas at Living Montessori Now