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.
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
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
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.
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!