How Many Eggs Are in the Nests?


  • To use manipulatives to show quantities of 1, 2, and 3
  • To count to 3; to see, touch, and say quantities to 3


Three paper circle bird nests and six paper eggs for each child; Over in the Meadow


how many     1
2 3
count birds

Literature Suggestion
Read or sing Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats. As you read, help children count the number of babies with each animal mother.

Help children recall some of the baby animals that were in the rhyme. Tell children that they are going to pretend to be baby birds. Call for 1 baby bird and invite a child to "fly" to a nest (choose a spot in the room). Call for 2 baby birds and invite 2 children to "fly" to a nest. Call for 3 children to "fly" to a nest. Help the group count the birds in the nests. Call for 3, then 2, then 1 bird to fly back.


  • Tell children that they are going to play "Eggs in the Nests." Display 3 paper circle birds' nests and 6 paper eggs. Model a see, touch, and say approach to understanding quantity. Take 1 egg in your hand, put it in the first nest, and count 1. Remove the egg and invite a child to select 1 egg, place it in the nest, and count 1. Ask another child to select 2 eggs, place them in the next nest and count 1, 2. Ask a third child to select 3 eggs and place them in the remaining nest and count 1, 2, 3.
  • At tables, help children fill empty bird nests with 1, 2, and 3 eggs, empty the nests, and then refill them. Encourage children to count the eggs aloud as they place them in the nests.


At a math center, display 3 bird nests labeled 1, 2, and 3, with 1, 2, and 3 eggs in them; 3 empty nests labeled 1, 2, and 3; and a variety of eggs. Model placing 1 egg in the nest labeled 1, 2 eggs in the nest labeled 2, and 3 eggs in the nest labeled 3. Have children use the filled nests as models and put the appropriate number of eggs in the empty nests as they count the eggs aloud. Keep this center available for several weeks so children can internalize these number concepts.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can easily select and put 1, 2, or 3 eggs in the nests as requested.
  • In Process - Child can sometimes put the right number of eggs in nests, but is not consistently correct.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet understand quantities of 1, 2, and 3, and does not put 1, 2, or 3 eggs in nests.

Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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