Plastic Easter Eggs

Don’t panic I’m not talking about getting rid of chocolate! That could never happen in my house. But this year I bought a few packets of plastic eggs and I’ve amazed myself at how much I’ve used them we’ve used them in many different ways.

You can buy these eggs in loads of places, but of course I bought mine from Poundland. I bought a pack of 10 large and a pack of 18 which included smaller ones too. In fact they had an amazing Easter range this year and I’ve lost count of how much I’ve spent. From eggs, bunny crayons, felt egg decorating and cute pom pom bunnies. (I promise they are not paying me to say this!)

You can fall into the trap of only using these eggs for an Easter egg hunt, but there are so many ways you can use them and we’ve loved it here at home and the many toddler groups I run too.

1. Tuff Trays

This one we used butter beans (dried) and mung beans and material for the pond. The eggs were brilliant as the kids loved opening and closing (great for fine motor skills) and also they made great scoops for the mung beans and the chicks. The rabbits and chicks also fit inside so that brought great fun too!

This one was for J. I don’t tend to spend too long on setting out Tuff Trays for him in case he doesn’t touch it. But he liked this one. I added spoons and cups to this one.

One surprise I added to all the trays I made, was felt eggs inside. So when they first opened them out popped an egg.

This is just so you can see the felt eggs. This is great for little fingers too as they try and push them back in!

I didn’t take pics of the tray I did for my under 3’s group. But it was just a tray full of the eggs and rabbits and they all had great fun opening, closing (and trying to open and close) the surprise of a rabbit inside never got tired!!

2. Easter Egg Hunts

I did use them for one Easter egg hunt. We invited some of J’s school friends round for an Easter party and egg hunt. Absolute chaos in my flat but the kids loved it. They ate lots of cake and choc, worked together as a team to find the eggs and then had a disco! Brilliant.

The hunt was for over 4’s so I wanted a bit of a challenge. We drew a giant egg on say yellow paper and then cut it into four pieces. Each piece went in a yellow plastic egg.

The kids were divided into colour teams and they had to find their colour. Once they had all four eggs they had to put together their egg puzzle then they could have another plastic egg which contained 4 mini chocolate eggs. This worked really well as some get really into the finding and some don’t. Which in the past when I’ve just put out chocolate eggs someone finds all the eggs and then leave non for those who aren’t so much into the finding.

3. Snack Time

Again sorry no pics 🤦🏼‍♀️! But on Good Friday we had a long long journey but train to Heathrow airport to meet up with some family who were arriving in the UK. So I wanted to add a bit more joy to snack time.

I used an egg box and in each slot put a plastic egg. I did sneak some chocolate into one of the eggs, but there was popcorn, dried pineapple and raisins.

His face when he asked for a snack and I pulled out an egg box was classic. Also it also made others peoples journey a little more fun because of J’s reaction!

4. Reading and Numbers

Now I bet you didn’t think I’d add that into my list!

Our homework from school was to learn our numbers from 1 – 21. So I wanted to make it a little more enjoyable for him. So in came the plastic eggs.

If you crack open the hinges you can then twist the top and bottom. So on one side I wrote either a 1 or a 2 and then wrote other numbers on the other side.

So at dinner time (our best fun learning time) he could twist the eggs and then he’d have to tell us what number he made.

I also made eggs to help support reading and tricky words.

This was his favourite type – there is a word on the outside of the egg, which we would help him read. Then you open it up to find the letters on bits of paper, which he had to put in the right order. Interesting when the word was ‘Was’ and you can put it back to front and make another word.

Another way we did it was with twisting again…

We’re working on diagraphs so I made an egg for beginning sounds and the different sounds you can make. These are now sitting in a bowl on our table so whenever it takes his fancy he can have a go.

5. Role Play

Eggs for your play kitchen. Make some felt eggs put them in a egg box and there you have some pretend eggs.

I’m sure there are loads more ideas you can use them for, but these are the few we have done over the last few weeks.

I have one Easter Party where they will come out again and then maybe next year I’ll think of more ideas!!

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Book Month – Part 5

My LO has been really poorly this week tonsilitis, ear infection and now on an inhaler poor little thing. So let’s just say we’ve all been a bit exhausted! But amazingly it hasn’t quenched his thirst for exploration. He’s been really interested in flowers so we did book Month a bit differently and read books based around flowers rather than me choosing a book.

We came upon this because my wonderful hubby buys me flowers every week, and one morning I came into the front room to find J intently studying a flower.

He was fascinated! So we looked up online about the different parts of the flower.

So I scoured my book shelf for books about flowers and surprisingly I didn’t have many. Of course we have lots of books that have pictures of flowers but only 2 that specifically mentioned them.

Any suggestions for the future?

What I did come up with was…

It’s not written by Dr Seuss but in the same style. It loosely explains the process of making honey, which definitely involves flowers. You can also watch the Bee movie which is fun and again explains the process, but don’t expect too much science! And of course we had honey on toast.

Our second book was…

There are questions in there about ‘why do flowers smell nice?’ ‘Why do trees loose their leaves’ and ‘do trees breathe?’

We made this little book about the parts of the plant (I’m sorry I can’t remember which site it’s from, but if you google parts of the plant there are loads).

This was one of our activities that were handy when the Calpol had kicked in!

We also tried an experiment of putting flowers in different coloured water to see what would happen.

For some reason it didn’t work. But we had fun anyway!

He now has a bunch of flowers in his room and his minecraft world is currently being littered with red flowers.

Another book which is BRILLIANT is…

There are no words in this book only incredible pictures which spark the imagination and have helped us to write a story about Jelly Fish called the ‘Jelly Fish Backflip’ (don’t ask I still don’t understand!). It’s a beautiful coffee table book.

So we couldn’t do much this week, I would have like to collected some flowers and do some flower pressing and I’d also like to have done some flower dissection, but illness took over.

This is the last post of Book Month. We have loved it, I didn’t make a big thing of it. J probably didn’t know it was happening, but we have loved exploring new books, it seems book Month has been very based on our world from ‘Tidy’ by Emily Gravitt and books about space and flowers. And who can forget Robot Week!

I’m definitely just going to carry on bringing books to life in ways that makes reading more enjoyable, educational and enduring!

Book Month – Part 4

Space week was a little bit like a collapsed star – the first week just disappeared because for some reason we were sooo busy but eventually something happened, but it wasn’t as successful as previous weeks.

It all started with a book from Twinkl (an online store of resources for people working with children). It’s a Twinkl original so you can’t get it anywhere else, so I know this is a bit mean. It’s called ‘Back to Earth with a bump’

It’s a great, because it is Augmented Reality (AR). So on certain pages you put your phone over the pages (you have to download the Twinkl app) and out of the page pops the little boy holding his bear, or the planets moving around the sun. It really got J interested in the Solar system. It was also another way for him to engage with the book.

Other books we read…

We love this series of Ed Hart books with Albie.

We also read a few non fiction books from the library about the solar system, which were fascinating. Although J prefers Mars Rovers!!

So down to the activities…. or should I say activity.

I made a space Tuff Tray, which he didn’t touch 🤦🏼‍♀️. The sandy stuff is quinoa and seeds. Then the foil is just put over some boxes. I printed off some planets too.

I did order a decorate your own solar system but didn’t realise it was coming from China, so we’ll just have to do that another time.

I did have a long list of things I wanted to do…

Decorate the solar system

Make Space Rock Cakes

Make a Rocket

Make moon sand

but he’s also been poorly so everything went awry!

Book Month – Part 3 Robot Week!!

We have loved Robot week. We started with the book ‘Robot Rumpus’ by Sean Taylor.

This is one of J’s favourite books, so much so recently on a car Journey we were both able to tell each other the story without the book! The book is about two parents who leave their child in the care of 7 robots with the line ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ as they close the door!

So our week of Robot activities started…

Firstly we had some friends round and they helped J build a basic robot, then the next day I set out a Robot Factory tuft tray.

There were lots of random bits we put on the tray – circuit boards, light bulbs, wall plugs, screws and strimmer wire (yes I do have lots of random things in my house!) and in the end we were able to make our basic robot have a bit more life!

J then wrote another story about a little boy called Joe Joe (we read Horton Hears a Who – Dr Seuss) who loses his toy robot and then a police robot finds it and brings it back. So we’ve been making this into a comic strip.

One evening I left on the table some robot magnets I made ages ago (hence they are a bit beaten up) and to my amazement he made all the robots without my prompting.

These are really easy to make. I used the robots from this blog and printed them onto Magnet paper.

Then just cut them up and put them on your fridge or baking tray and there are endless combinations of robots unless you have a perfectionist as a child and then there are only the set combinations! I made these for J when he was about 2 and they are still fun!

You may or may not have access to Twinkl (a resource website – I use it mainly for work but there are some great things on there for J). Well we used their robot writing sheets to practice his letters and a grid sheet to design a robot. So I guess if you had the time or inclination you could just design your own.

Other books about Robots we read this week…

So all in all a good robotic week!

We also had World Book day (rescheduled due to the snow!) all my fears were confirmed as he refused to wear the outfit, so I’m glad we didn’t spend any money or time! But also pleased we are still celebrating books in our own way!

Book Month – Part 2

Well after all of my huffing and puffing about World Book Day, it was snowed off anyway. So it was a good job we celebrated it in our own way.

We’ve had a lovely week reading lots and doing fun things to do with our book of the week.

As I said last week our book was ‘Tidy’ by Emily Gravett. Such a lovely book.

Beautiful pictures and a lovely rhymical story and to add to that it includes hoovers and diggers! (This is a good thing if you love them as much as J does.) But there is also a more meaningful undertone to this book about looking after our planet and protecting our woodlands and not cementing over everything to make way for galumphing great tower blocks and houses!

Reading it this week really brought it home to J the impact of what happens to build houses for us.

But we didn’t just read, we had extra fun too…

The world

After our little chat about looking after the world had a look at what our world looked like, we used an atlas but Google Earth is also great fun too.

Then we set about painting the world and I was so impressed by the outcome.

We used paint dabbers – easy and slightly mess free (if you don’t slam them down and then find all the splats on your wall).

The woods

I tried to bring a little of the woods to our front room in the sensory tray. The book talks about autumn coming and the leaves falling, and the diggers come in and dig up all the trees so this is what I tried to recreate.

I used a mixture of quinoa and pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds for the base. Then added in some sticks, acorns and pine cones. There were some diggers and scoops to add to the fun. We left it out for a few days so he kept coming back to it.

Where is my rabbit?

Something that I thought would take the whole month was writing a book, but he got it done in one evening. Can I just add this was his idea.

It’s a lovely book called ‘Where is my rabbit?’ and is very similar to Monkey Puzzle, but I’m sure Julia Donaldson won’t mind! He is 4 after all. But he told me the story whilst I wrote it down and then I typed it into Book Creator, which is a great app. He was then able to add images and draw a lovely rabbit wearing trousers and wearing a hat. Now this is amazing because I have an active bean that doesn’t really like to draw – but give him an iPad and we get masterpieces.

He was also able to add some voice over too. It was such a special time doing this together and it something we will treasure. I must have read it a hundred times already.

Other books with the same theme

We also had a read around with some similarly themed books.

Starting with ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Seuss – brilliant, brilliant book one of our favs.

’10 things I can do to help my world’ by Melanie Walsh. I think the title says it all. But it was a challenge to me too.

‘Christopher’s Bicycle’ by Charlotte Middleton a lovely book about recycling things to make gifts for others.

So all in all a good first week. We might get chance to make a painted forest tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Next week is ‘Robot Rumpus’ by Sean Taylor. This is a fab book and have already read it loads and loads. But we had to have a robot week!

Book month! Part 1

I have spent a lot of time moaning about World Book Day this week. Anyone who knows me has probably started avoiding me because I’ve been on my soapbox all week.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love books. J and I love reading together; it is one of the highlights of our day, snuggling down on the sofa and reading the chosen books for that day. We go to the library and get out 20 books each time and get through them all each week. We’ve even bought J a reading light and now he also reads a book before bed by himself.

But what I’m struggling with is dressing up for ‘World Book Day’ – it seems to be a huge pressure for people. I’m a creative person and still find it massively pressured. Mainly because I could spend hours making an outfit and then J wouldn’t wear it at all! Or go and buy one and again he doesn’t wear it. Not only that my husband is a teacher and so we have two outfits to think of (I’m very aware that most of you have 2 or more to make, so I know that I’m not alone in this!) I know the purpose is to get children engaged in books, but mostly children dress up as characters from films – I checked out a stores website for their world book day outfits and out of 12 outfits only 4 were actual book characters! But enough of my rant because believe me I could go on!

So this morning I decided to stop moaning and be the change I want to see. So in our house we are going to have Book Month. We will choose one book a week (on top of our normal books) read it and choose activities to do from the book, and really try to engage with the books and inspire creativity and hopefully some learning.

Our first book is….

It’s a beautiful book encouraging the reader to look after our world.

Amazingly it also includes two of J’s loves — hoovers and diggers — so it’s a winner. Tonight at bedtime we had such a lovely conversation about protecting animals and replanting trees after they’ve been cut down.

I’m desperate for J to grow up loving books and reading. He already has a thirst for knowledge, so I want to support him in every way I can.

This morning I read an interesting/terrifying report from thebookseller.com

‘New report reveals 58% of parents of 3-4 year-olds struggle to read with their children every day’

I understand that there are a million reasons why this happens. being too busy, not loving reading themselves, lack of confidence with reading and so on. But hopefully our book month will not only inspire J and myself, but others too. So I’ll stop moaning about dressing up and start championing books! I’ll also share all our activities as we go along.

Playing Libraries

I love going to the library, mainly because it means we get a fresh hit of books to read each evening. J enjoys going because he always manages to get the librarian to let him stamp the books at the end of our visit. We also love reading together, and J is also getting into reading, so I’ve been trying to find ways of encouraging more of a love of books.

At our last visit to the library, J asked if we could buy a date stamp and yesterday in Poundland we found these stamps. I know they are not date stamps but they have a similar action and date stamps are not very cheap and it might be a one time game!

So it pushed me into action and I’ve made a whole set of library cards, borrowing record slips and even a scanner (I might need to work on my scanner though!)

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I made the scanner out of a yogurt pot and some card, but you can probably come up with something better.

I’ve since laminated the library cards, hopefully this will make them last a little longer. And yes the QR code works too.

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I will spend time with J sticking the borrowing record cards in our books, so he can choose which ones go in our library. I just used a small bit of glue to stick them in.

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I personally can’t wait to play libraries hopefully he will too!

Let me know if you want copies of the cards and slips.