Don’t throw away those plastic eggs just yet….
Easter was just last Sunday which means lots of pretty plastic eggs, before you go throwing all those eggs away, use them for some fun lessons for kids! Out of necessity teachers learn how to recycle. Sometimes one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure. Plastic eggs and egg cartons are going to be your new found treasure! If you don’t have pretty plastic eggs, wait for them to go on clearance. You can stock up when they are cheap, or ask around you might have friends willing to part with them. There are lots of really good ideas on how to use plastic eggs and egg cartons for a variety of subjects. This post will focus on math, but I have just as many for English, History, and Science. Depending on the age of the child you can adjust these ideas to meet your household’s needs.
New Contributor, Jenn a life long learner and educator shares her favorite ways to turn leftover Easter goods into really awesome learning tools!
- Counting- You will need 1 egg carton, 12 plastic eggs, 1 black permanent marker
- Write the numbers 1-12 in black permanent marker (if you are using dark color eggs look for a metallic silver permanent marker). Find small objects that will fit inside the plastic eggs for example dry beans, buttons, small sea shells, dry cereal. Have your child choose an egg and then fill the egg with the number you have written. For example if your child chooses #6, have them count 6 beans and put them in the egg. Once all 12 eggs are full have your child put them back in the container in order.
- Practice counting by 2s, 5s, 10s by writing the appropriate numbers on the eggs and then have your child count by 2s, 5s, or 10s and put the eggs back in order.
- Use just the egg carton and write the numbers 1-12 on the bottom and have your child fill them. #1 might have 1 button, #2 would have 2 buttons, etc.
- Simple math problems- You will need 1 egg carton, 14 plastic eggs, 1 black permanent marker
- Write a math problem on the top half of an egg and write the solution on the bottom of an egg. I would suggest either having plastic eggs all the same color, or breaking the eggs in half and mixing them up so your child cannot just match the color top to the bottom. This is also why I suggest creating 14 problems, because then they have to search a little bit to find 12. Once they match the top with the bottom they fill the carton, once the carton is full they are done.
- Take 6 pieces of paper and write out a math problem on each one. Take 12 more pieces of paper and write out the 6 solutions and then make up 6 more solutions. Hide the solutions in the eggs. Have your child answer the different problems and then hunt for the solutions.
- You can also write the problems out like 3 + 4 and have your child take 3 eggs put them in the egg carton and add 4 more eggs to answer the problem. Using the eggs and carton this way helps children visualize the problem they are trying to solve.
- Fractions- You will need 1 egg carton, yarn or string, 12 plastic eggs
- First you will need to decide which part of fractions you want to tackle. If you want to just tackle the basics then you can show that 3/6 is equal to ½. Some teachers cutting the egg cartons when they are adding and subtracting fractions, if I just want them to practice the basics I use string to help separate the carton. You can also get the different sizes 6 egg, 12 egg, or 18 egg depending on your need. For your visual learners this is a fantastic project because they really can see that you filled 3/6 and you’ve filled ½ of the carton.
- The more you allow children to explore the more they learn. Remember that we learn from our mistakes, no one is 100% perfect. Encourage your child to think out loud and process because you’ll be amazed at the connections they are making from some pretty plastic eggs and a recycled egg carton.
My name is Jenn. I live in a small rural area in Virginia. I live with my fiancée Jenna and our two “children.” We have a rabbit named Otis and a cat named Crème. I am a home-schooled student turned public school educator. I have worked with children ages 2-18. I have already earned two bachelor degrees, and I am currently working on my Master’s of Education in English as a Second Language. My dream job…to be a full time student. I believe that everyone should be a lifelong learner.