Posts tagged #fun

What To Do with Leftover Easter Eggs

What to Do with Leftover Easter Eggs

I have a huge bag of plastic Easter eggs waiting to head to the attic. It seems silly to me that I am storing an item that is so rarely used. As I was filling Easter baskets, I was brainstorming some ways we could stretch their usefulness in my home. 

Here’s what I came up with (I’m sure Pinterest is OVERFLOWING with more activities, and I’m sure my kids will give me some plans of their own. This is just a very basic start.):

1. Matching Sight words

Sight words can be challenging to learn! Being able to pick a word out of a pile requires some great thinking skills! Begin with the eggs that detach. If you need to, cut the connector tab.  I recommend using the same color eggs, so you know your child is reading, not color-matching. Using a Sharpie (does that word make anyone else happy?), write the same sight word on the top and the bottom. Repeat this for 9-14 words. Put the egg halves in a pile, and have your child match them. If it seems too simple, add in a timer! The faster a child can recognize their sight words, the better! Play for a few days until they memorize those words. Then you can begin with a new group of words.

2. Fill and Weigh

Go for a search around your home for items that could fit in the eggs. Fill at least 10 eggs. Guess which item will be heaviest. Then weigh the filled eggs on a balance. Talk about lightest and heaviest. Experiment with egg combinations to balance the weights.

3. Color Sort

I know this idea is quite simple, but it’s great for toddlers. Pick one egg up and announce the color, “Blue”. Ask, “Can you find me another blue egg?” Continue until all of the blue eggs are in a pile. Then try another color. You could also set out colored pieces of construction paper, and have your child set the correct color eggs on the paper. 

4. Secret object

Hide an object in the egg. Give clues until your child can guess what the object is. If it gets too tricky, open the egg for the reveal, and then let them try. Take turns until you run out of tiny objects. You may want to start with a container of small items such as a rubber band, uncooked pasta, a few tiny toys, etc… That way your child has a starting point from which to guess.

5. Patterns

Pick out eggs and place them in a repeating pattern in a line. Start simply. See if your child can discover the pattern, and then let them create one. Take turns, and get more challenging to keep it exciting.

6. Addition and Subtraction

Easter Egg Alphabet Games
Easter Egg Math Games

This will take a few moments of prep work. Using a Sharpie and the disconnected egg halves (I recommend using all the same color eggs for this one again), write a number and a plus sign (or minus sign) on the top section, and an addend on the bottom section. Place the correct sum of Cheerios, raisins, or another snack inside. For example, “9 + “ goes on the top, “7” goes on the bottom, and 16 Cheerios go inside. Have your child solve the fact, open the egg, and count the Cheerios to see if they were correct. If they were, let them eat the snack. 

You could also skip the snack, and place the addends on the top half (“9 + 7”), and the sum on the bottom half (“16”). Disconnect the eggs, and have your child connect the eggs until all of the eggs are complete.

7. Uppercase to Lowercase

Easter Egg Addition Games

Again using the same-colored detachable egg halves, write an uppercase letter on the top section and a lowercase letter on the bottom. Have your child rummage through the pile to connect them. 

8. Counting

Simply count the eggs! This requires no prep and you can do it over and over. Group the eggs by color if you wish, then count each group, and then add the groups. That way you are working on addition too.

9. Guessing Capacity

Using the tiny objects you found for the “Secret Object” or “Fill and Weigh” activities, ask your child how many of that item will fit inside an egg. For example, “How many paper clips will fit inside this egg?” Keep filling up the egg until you reach your answer. Try this with several items until you see your child’s estimation skills become precise.

10. Let them be the creators!

Let your child play with the eggs in water, sand, or play dough. Just let them fill, spill, and explore! Or, with some supervision, let your child use stickers, glue, googly eyes, and markers to design their own eggs. This may not be the most educational idea, but it is cheap and fun!


Posted on April 8, 2015 and filed under Building Your Home.

Make a School Box Using Treasure Box Toys

use toys to teach math

Several years ago I went to a home school conference and a vendor was selling something called “School in a Box.” It was a tiny plastic box filled with trinkets- you know, the kind your kids collect from school parties and the dentist’s treasure box- and came with a pamphlet outlining all the ways you could use the trinkets to teach math.

I bought it on site and it’s been a great thing to pull out when worksheets and books are feeling tedious. I also realized it could easily be made by parents who have a collection of those little choking hazards built up around the house.

Making one of these boxes and containing those little toys not only reduces clutter around your house and playroom, but it makes them more exciting because you pull them out only periodically. All you need are a few trinkets and a compartmented box with a lid. You can find the box at craft or even hardware stores. I bought mine from the dollar section at Target.

If you don’t already have these little toys laying around, make a trip to the party store. They have mini party-favor toys in bins for about 10-25 cents each. You can also use coins, buttons, erasers, dominos, dice, bouncy balls, bobby pins, or a myriad of other tiny items found around the house. Clean out the junk drawer in your kitchen!

make a school box

Once you have your box assembled, here are some ideas for how to use it:

1.    Free play. If your child hasn’t seen these toys in a while, she may be excited just to go through the box and play with them. Let imagination take over. 

2.    Create patterns.

3.    Sort. See how many different ways you child can think of to sort the toys.

4.    Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. A great way to show your child the math facts he’s been practicing in a tangible way.

5.    Number stories. “Seven animals were having a tea party in the jungle. Two animals decided to go swimming. How many are still at the tea party?” You and your child can take turns making up the story and giving answers.

6.    Creative writing. Use the items in the box to prompt creative storytelling. I recently did this with my 6-year-old daughter. She told me the story, and I wrote it down for her. Then she read it to me. You can have your child do more or less with the reading and writing depending on her age.

7.    For toddlers (who are old enough not to choke on the pieces), simply have them count toys. 

8.    Toddlers can also work on identifying shapes and colors and building vocabulary by describing the toys to you. “Orange horse. Purple ball. Blue dog.” “This is a square. This is a circle.” “Mouse. Dinosaur. Airplane.” Or you can prompt them with specific questions such as “What color is the horse?”

9.    Skip counting. Lay toys in a line and have your child count 2-4-6-8, skipping the odd numbers, or 5-10-15-20 while touching every 5th toy.

10.    Ordinal numbers. Have your child point to the second, third or 10th toy, etc. 

11.    Spelling. “How do you spell dog?” “How do you spell dolphin?” They can say or even write the answer.

12.    Phonics. What letter do you hear at the beginning of “ball?” What letter do you hear at the end of “button?”

13.    Color & number sight words. Write “blue, green, red, etc.” on a piece of paper and have a child correctly match an item from the box to the word. You can also write “one, two, five, etc.” on a paper and have your child put the correct number of toys on each word.

14.    Ascending and descending order. Have your child arrange the items by size from smallest to biggest and biggest to smallest. 

15.    3-D shapes. Use the box to teach the words sphere, cube, pyramid, box, and cone.

16.    Position words. Lay the toys in various positions on a table. “Is the dog above the button or below the button?” You can teach above, under, left, right, beside, below, on top of, next to, etc.

17.    More or less. “How many more buttons are in my pile than yours?” “How many fewer toys are blue than green?” (or for younger children, “are there more blue toys or more green toys?”)

These are just a handful of ways you can use a box like this. What else can you think of? 

teach patterns with small toys
fun ways to teach homeschool math
Posted on January 14, 2015 and filed under Building Your Home.