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April 9, 2012

Upcycled Egg Carton Games

One of the most inspiring bloggers I follow, Rachelle of Tinkerlab, is hosting a creative challenge using upcycled egg cartons.  Perfect timing after all the egg dyeing and projects we did over the past few weeks.  I had many ideas, but I managed to narrow it down to two.  I wanted to put my time and energy towards projects the boys would get excited about, and these surpassed my expectations.

Using one egg carton (18 count) I cut up pieces differing in size.  I made a row of five, a row of four, a row of three, a row of two and one single egg holder.  There was a row of three leftover that I discarded.  Inspired by one of JM's favorite books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle, I painted the body of each row green and the head red.  After the paint dried I covered each caterpillar with a layer of Mod Podge to make the cartons a little sturdier.  I stuck pipe cleaners in the red section for antennae.  JM chose the shimmery gold ones.

Once the caterpillars were finished I put them in front of JM in a random order.

I asked him to find the longest caterpillar.

One by one the boys stacked the caterpillars like blocks from largest on the bottom to smallest on top.  (JZ saw me playing with JM and wanted to join in the game.)

After a few sizing and stacking games, the boys got caught up in imaginative play.  They made up stories about their caterpillars, fed them, protected them from predators and made their caterpillars interact.

Before tiring of the caterpillars they made a caterpillar train like one of JM's favorite rides at California Adventure.

I have a feeling the caterpillars will be getting a lot of use in the next few weeks.

With the other egg carton I cut up each individual holder.  I painted six red, six blue and six yellow.  Once the paint was dry I punched holes in each piece using an anywhere hole punch, a hammer and a self-healing mat.  The I added a layer of Mod Podge.  The Mod Podge seals the pieces, makes them a bit firmer, and it is more visually appealing, but it is certainly not necessary. 

Once dry JZ did a few activities with the game pieces.  He started with patterning.

Then he laced each piece.

I have many more plans for these upcycled manipulatives, so don't be surprised when you see them pop up again.  I don't have action shots, but later the game pieces became scoops of ice cream for JM.  JZ used them for his Green Men to hide under to keep safe from the robots.  If only we all had the imagination of a child, the possibilities would be endless.

Be sure and check out these amazing blogs who are participating in the creative challenge and discover more ways you can use your egg cartons!

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