We want our kids to be curious, engaged, happy and entertained. Sometimes, amidst all the toys and play equipment we end up getting the kiddos for this purpose, it’s a challenge to keep our houses decluttered.
The good news is having fun and encouraging children’s’ creativity doesn’t require going out and buying new — which is a revelation for your closets and your pocketbook. There are plenty of ways to use things you already have at home to inspire an afternoon of play. Another perk is that using what you already have on hand cuts down on waste, too.
Egg cartons are a perfect example of a common household item that can be reused for multiple purposes. It’s a win-win: You’ll get to enjoy those delicious eggs and your little ones will get to let their imaginations fly as they use the cartons to craft.
Here are just three creative things kids can do with an egg carton.
Create a Treasure Box
Raise your hand if your little one has ever come back into the house clutching something from the outdoors — like pebbles, pinecones, sticks or anything else they can get their hands on. Kids can get very excited by their ability to collect objects and move them from one place to another.
You can support this brain- and muscle-building activity by helping them turn an ordinary egg carton into a magical treasure box, then encouraging them to fill it with certain things.
Here are a few ideas for making the most of this kids’ treasure box, from Tinkergarten:
- Ages 2+: Ask kids to fill their treasure boxes with items they like/items that look neat to them.
- Ages 2+: Encourage children to seek out objects that fall into a particular category, like a similar color or shape.
- Ages 2–4: Encourage kids to fill their treasure boxes with items that are the right size to fit inside the cups.
- Ages 3+: Ask kids to fill their cartons up with things that fit a certain sensory descriptor (soft, rough, smooth, etc.)
- Ages 3+: Add some fine motor skills practice by having kids use tweezers to collect objects.
- Ages 4+: Ask kids to collect objects based on more complex categories, like parts of a plant or things animals eat.
- Ages 4+: Ask children to find six objects that differ in a certain way, like colors or textures.
- Age 5+: Let kids come up with their own category, then bring back the full treasure box so you can try to guess their thinking.
Make an Egg Carton Bouquet
Fresh flowers are beautiful but buying them constantly can become expensive — and they eventually wilt. The beauty of this craft is that you add a pop of color to your décor while allowing your kids to channel their inner artists.
To make a bouquet from egg cups, use just the bottom half of the carton. Cut apart the individual egg cups and trim the edges, creating different-shaped flowers as you wish. Then it’s time to pain the cups and insert a green pipe cleaner for the stem. Help the little ones secure a pom-pom to the inside of the flower for some extra flare.
These flowers go great in a vase or as a bouquet.
Turn Egg Cups into Animals
It turns out egg cups make a great basis for crafting some adorable animals — from turkeys around the holidays to spiders before Halloween and turtles, well, anytime. With a few other craft materials — like paint, construction paper, googly eyes, pom poms and pipe cleaners — the kiddos will be able to create the creatures of their choosing.
Up-cycle an egg carton into a wonderful conduit for creativity using these ideas.