Merge Sorting Easter Eggs (Age 6 and 8)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Probability, Impossibility. Book: It’s Probably Penny by Leedy. Leedy is one of our favorite authors. The kids liked this book about what’s possible, probable, impossible and certain.
  2. Topic: Sorting. It’s Easter today, so I filled 102 Easter eggs with numbers ranging from 1 – 1011.  I hid all the eggs outside, and then kids did an egg hunt. Then each kid counted their eggs, then opened them and sorted the numbers inside.  Next I had each kid pick up their sorted numbers so the smallest one was on top. We then used merge sort to sort all the numbers together, on the sidewalk.


How did it go?

We had two younger kids this week, and 5 older kids, so decided to have a fun, combined circle and do an egg hunt since it is Easter today.

The kids loved the egg hunt, racing around at top speed. They especially liked trying to find the 3 golden eggs, which were so well-hidden they required clues. We gave the two younger kids a 30 second head start. In the end, the kids collected between 12 and 17 eggs. My daughter was proud to get the most (though she didn’t find any golden ones).

Next the kids opened the eggs and sorted their numbers. The big kids had no trouble at all. One of the younger kids needed some help recognizing numbers above 100. She seemed to know that 263 was bigger than 207, if I said it out loud, but I’m not totally sure.

Then I showed the kids how to carefully pick up their numbers so the biggest number was on the bottom of their pile and the smallest was on top. We then started sorting all the numbers together. We found 1, 2, 3, and 4 immediately (on top of various kids’ stacks). Then we tried to find 5…my son started sorting through his stack. I asked if it was possible that he 5 somewhere in his stack? He didn’t know, and wanted to look.  One of the bigger kids explained that it was not possible because his smallest number was already on top, and it was 12.

After this, the kids seemed to get the idea of the sort, although it took them awhile to figure out which number to put next, because the numbers were not consecutive. Also various kids dropped their whole stack of numbers several times, requiring re-sorting. Finally we go to the really big numbers (that had been inside the golden eggs), and added 1000, 1010, and 1011 to the end of our line.

I wanted to take a picture of the kids with our nicely sorted numbers, but my son scattered the numbers before I could gather everyone.

After circle today we had a picnic with the other families, which was really fun. At the picnic my daughter organized yet another egg hunt with eggs containing stickers and small treasures from her room.  All the kids played together really well.  At the end of the night the parents took turns playing tag with the kids.  There was sprinting, taunting, crashing and fun 🙂


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