Sunday, April 8, 2012

Upcycle Egg Cartons to Building Blocks

How many egg cartons does it take to build a fort? First, stack cartons, then estimate how many were used, read books or play games inside, then knock them down and count them. Our fort was built with 172 egg cartons. We also stacked them in groups of 10 and counted by 10s having a great math visual.

Recycle Upcycle Egg Cartons to Building Blocks or Reading Fort

Blocks are a wonderful source for concrete mathematical learning. Young children will stack and knock down blocks over and over again because of the sensory rewards. The sight of the blocks falling is fun for a young child who is amazed by the effects of gravity. Egg cartons are light so knocking them down is harmless and could release stress. Block play can be rich in parent/child activity and filled with touch, sight, sound, repetition and imagination.

Maria Montessori, a pioneer in early childhood education, emphasized the importance of concrete forms in math education between the ages of three and five. Math manipulatives (objects that can be sorted, patterned, counted) facilitates abstract thought needed later to compute numbers. Montessori recommended that young children constantly move objects, like blocks and beads, and use their senses while learning because it leads to a later desire to write out a mathematical operation. 

If you don’t have wooden blocks, you can make your own blocks with tissue and cereal boxes, cool whip and yogurt containers, oatmeal and coffee canisters, and even egg cartons. For added weight, pack newspaper and seal containers with tape. For interesting sounds, add some dried beans, rice, marbles, or small rocks. For a more permanent fort, tape with masking tape.

Learning with Blocks

  • Pattern: Lay out a pattern with different colored, shaped or sized blocks and ask, “What comes next?” Recognizing and predicting patterns is an important logic and math skill.

  • Imaginative Play: Encourage your child to make something with blocks using their imagination and creativity. You could read a book such as Block City to help them devise a block building plan. Add something else to block play such as a toy car to drive on top of a line of blocks or action figures or dolls for fantasy play.

  • Vocabulary: Name the different block shapes and point out similar shapes around the room. Place a number card beside blocks such as #1 with 1 block, #2 with 2 blocks so that they  grasp the concept of quality with a visual and sound of the number. Teach opposites: big/small, heavy/light, short/tall, up/down, in/out, few/many, under/over.

  • Measurement: To extend mathematical concepts, use a tape measure, ruler or yardstick and note differences in the sizes of the blocks and structures. Your child will want to measure many things around the house or yard including people. Children enjoy having a special measuring place to chart their growth such as a closet.

  • Motor Movement: Use an empty laundry basket or box and toss blocks, counting as you toss. Run around the house looking for objects with a similar shape, size or color. Hide some blocks around the room playing a game of finding them, announcing the shape or color each time one is found. Then count how many.

The possibilities are endless of what can be built with blocks, Legos, Lincoln logs, egg cartons and empty food containers. You don’t need to keep buying more and more toys, but explore all the possibilities of what you already have. 

Why do we have so many egg cartons? People give them to us because we have chickens!
 
 
When Kids Recycle: Animals are Saved
Recycle! Upcycle! Kids Art & Activities on Pinterest  

This post is part of an Egg Carton Challenge hosted by Tinkerlab. Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Moms of Preschoolers - let me help save your sanity, with playful activities including the child development explanations with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo.








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TinkerlabGlittering MuffinsInspiration LaboratoriesKitchen Counter ChroniclesLiving At The Whiteheads ZooMake, Do & FriendMama Mia's heart2heartMessy KidsNurtureStorePlayDrMomRainy Day MumRed Ted ArtSun Hats & Wellie BootsTeach PreschoolThe Chocolate Muffin Tree The Educators' Spin On It The Golden GleamThe Imagination TreeToddler ApprovedReading ConfettiKindergarten & Preschool for Parents & TeachersThe Outlaw Mom BlogHappyLittleMessesRainbowsWithinReachMommy LabsChild Central StationGreen Owl ArtReusecraftsExperimenting-MomDuck Duck OctopusPaintCutPasteTrain Up a ChildGrowing A Jeweled Rose Coffee Cups and CrayonsReady. Set. Read!Scribble Doodle and DrawCarrots Are OrangeJDaniel4's MomQuirky MommaA Mom With A Lesson PlanGood Long RoadTwo2Read



29 comments:

  1. WOW!!! What a fabulous fort!! It's too funny bc I was wondering the whole time how on earth you had so many egg cartons, and glad to hear it's because you have chickens. LOL! =)

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    1. Rebekah - thank you so much for visiting. I'm off to visit your wonderful blog now.

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  2. Perfect way to play! Was also going to say how you managed collect THAT MANY cartons. But the chooks give it away! How lovely that you have some!

    Maggy

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    1. Maggie - I tried to leave you a comment on your great egg carton post - but my computer froze. But thank you so much for visiting. Such a fun linky party.

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  3. What a brilliant thing to do with egg cartons and good for keeping them out of the landfill too.

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    1. Yes, I learned how to rethink what to do with something before tossing it. My parents went through the depression and were big on recycling before it had a word. We thought it was "thrifty" or "cheap." Now we think it was generous to the earth and smart. Thank you so much for visiting!

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  4. Oh my goodness! This is so incredibly cool! I'm in awe of the number of cartons you have saved. What a fun and creative use for them!

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    1. Allison - thank you for visiting. I enjoy your posts as well. Creative ideas!

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  5. I would have loved to sit in that fort and read as a child and you are very very lucky having the chickens (it also explains why so many egg boxes)

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    1. Cerys - Thank you for visiting. The Earth Day blog hop is a great one too.

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  6. The fort is an awesome idea!! I love that you talk about the benefits of block play!

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    1. Trisha - love your blog! Thanks for visiting.

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  7. Super cool! Super, super cool! My kids totally want to make an egg carton fort now too -- if only we had enough cartons! ;)

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    1. That you and looks like you made good use of egg cartons too. Fun linky party. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Holy guacamole! That is a LOT of egg cartons!! How cool is your son's fort :-) Love it!

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    1. Chrissy - I love your blog look. I'm following you. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Very cool. We use to have chickens but never came close to that many egg cartons at once.

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    1. People keep giving us egg cartons even though we tell them we have plenty. But we know other people who have chickens so are able to give some away sometimes. Chickens are fun. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Wonderful math activity. I love how you have included so many learning ideas.

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  11. Jill - Thanks for stopping by. I love your blogs too.

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  12. I have awarded you with the Lovely Blog Award. Hop on over to my blog to check it out!

    Jaya

    http://kinderverse.blogspot.com/

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    1. Jaya - you have a lovely blog indeed. Thank you for visiting. I am honored for your Lovely Blog Award and will try to find 15 blogs to pass it on to. Thanks!

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  13. Wow...all those egg cartons, holy cow!

    Thanks for sharing this on Hey Mom Look What I Did on Adventures In Mommy Land!

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    1. People keep giving us egg cartons even though we have plenty - like a lifetime supply. But we are getting more chickens next month. You have a wonderful blog and beautiful family. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. I am so glad you explained why you have so many egg cartons...I was wondering and the suspense was getting the better of me! I loved reading about Montessori math. There are so many great ideas in this post and I'm sure I'll reference them again soon! Thanks for adding your amazing contribution to the challenge. i think you win for "the most egg cartons used."

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    1. Rachelle - Thank you for hosting the Tinkerlab Creative Challenges. I would never have thought of all those ideas to do with egg cartons. Amazing!

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  15. What a crazy cool idea!! My friend uses her egg cartons to hold her Christmas cookies each year. She fills up each "egg spot" with a different cookie, covers the carton in cellophane with nice ribbon and voila! A very cute, and eco-friendly cookie container!

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  16. A fort!! What a crazy fantastic idea! Thankyou for popping by playingfullearners.co.uk. I have added you as a favourite as Im sure I will find some great ideas on here for childminding.

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  17. The possibilities are endless to Send gifts to Pakistan from UK relations can be built.

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