Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Egg Hunting Practice: Non-chocolate fillers and games

Easter eggs, plastic eggs, intentional play, egg hunt, toddler fun

Can I just say a two year old with basket in hand and a pair of bunny ears on his head is just about the cutest thing ever. We've been "practicing" hunting for eggs for the last few days and Dear Boy is digging it. As part of our Intentional Play theme for this month, we've been talking Easter, bunnies and bilbies as well as that old chicken and the egg chestnut. So after a week or so of playing with his set of wooden eggs (a matching game with each half of the egg sporting a different animal and Velcro) I pulled out the dozen plastic eggs I'd picked up for $2 in a junk shop. As the rain's set in and it's less fun outside, these have been such a godsend, giving us something fun to do inside that doesn't involve wheels (okay, maybe it involves wheels - read on, McDuff).

I've taken to filling these hollow eggs with little bits and pieces from around the house, and then hiding them in a single room. He gets so excited by the prospect that he actually waits patiently in the kitchen or his bedroom while I hide them -no peeking attempts at all. Patient little bunny that he is. Sometimes he needs clues and sometimes he opens each one as he goes, but he hasn't tired of it yet.

The eggs are a game in and of themselves, with opening and closing them taking a fair bit of concentration and fine-motor skill, but here's my list of stuffers:*

  • pompoms
  • scrunched crepe paper balls from a previous craft project
  • little animals
  • pictures cut from old magazines or junk mail
  • small cars (okay, so there are wheels involved sometimes)
  • small soft toys
  • handkerchiefs or squares of coloured fabric/silks
  • bouncy balls
  • stickers
  • shells
  • non-valuable items from my jewellery box (old bracelets or necklaces)
  • crackers/dried fruit/popcorn (although then you have to wipe them out really well)
  • little fluffy chicks (these are his favourite) 
Getting a bit more complex, I've also stuffed the eggs with components for playing the next game or doing another activity. There are so many options here:*

  • pieces from his Leapfrog matching game (putting the halves in the same coloured eggs)
  • jingle bells
  • big wooden beads (which turns into a threading game)
  • real or cardboard coins (which turns into 'shopkeeper' game)
  • blocks/Duplo
  • letter/number magnets
  • finger puppets
  • playdough
  • crayons (the broken ones) and bunny/chick/bilby themed colouring-in pages (cut to size and folded)
The only thing we specifically purchased were the eggs themselves and the little fluffy chicken (a set of 9 for $2 at the same junkshop). Everything else were just bits and pieces I've scrounged from around the house. I think $4 for several hours of play is a bargain.

What else would you use as a filler? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

*All of these items are small (by necessity given the size of the eggs). Please use your judgement about your child's propensity to swallow small items and choking hazards.

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