Egg carton math: Give each child an egg carton or a plastic container with some type of little objects. These could be pennies, beads, buttons, paper clips, raw macaroni, mini-pompoms, etc. When you say and write a problem, such as 3 x 4, the children need to display this problem using different sections of the egg carton/plastic container to hold each group.
Tip: l always told my students to think of the X in a multiplication problem as “groups of.” So 3 x 4 is “3 groups of 4.”
Using the egg carton, then, they would only use 3 compartments, and they would put 4 items in each of those 3 compartments, counting as they go. And also after the problem is set up, they can count by those 4’s: 4, 8, 12.
Then you could say, “4 x 3.” Now they need 4 groups of 3, so they’ll use 4 compartments and put 3 items in each, but they will still have 12. Count by those 3’s: 3, 6, 9, 12.