Coming Soon: Egg Carton Creative Challenge

If you’re not already stockpiling your egg cartons for rainy day upcycling, start saving those cartons for the next creative challenge. 

A little background

Every two months I host a Creative Challenge, with the introduction of a readily available material and the invitation for children to create something from it.

The objective of these challenges is to help children learn to trust their own ideas, build creative confidence, and envision new purposes for common objects.

To join, document your maker journey with one of more photo, and then come back on April 9 to share what you did. If you have a blog, set your post to go live on April 9. Otherwise, you can add images of your work to a comment on my blog on April 9. Either way, it’s fun to share and be inspired.

So far, the following kid-friendly bloggers let me know that they’re in excited to share their contributions.

Will you join us too?


To read more about the challenges, click here.



Art Project: Overhead Projector

overhead projector art project

My husband works at a university and the collector in me was overjoyed to discover that there’s a little-known department on campus that sells surplus property from departments that no longer need old projectors, desks, and reams of paper.

I wandered into the dusty space about a year ago and walked out with something everyone needs: an overhead projector for just $5. Right, you have one, don’t you? And then it moved to my garage where it continued to collect dust for another year.

Well, I finally pulled it out and it turned out to be a perfect rainy day art project.

overhead projector object discussion

My daughter had never seen one of these before, so we started off with an open-ended game in object-based looking that I learned in graduate school. The idea behind the game is to unpack the qualities of a mysterious object based solely on what you can see. No other information is shared, and the process of discovery can build a great deal of enthusiasm around an experience.

I didn’t tell N what we were looking at. Rather, I put the projector in a place where she could easily see it from multiple points of view and then our conversation sounded something like this:

“What do you see?”

A box with a long, tall pole and a plug. It’s dusty. You missed a spot.

“Got it. Okay, how do you suppose it might work?”

I don’t know. Maybe you plug it in. And I see these knobs, so they probably turn. If I turn this one, this piece moves up the pole. There are some buttons, so you can turn it on and off.

“If we plug it in, what do you think it might do?”

I think it makes noise. A loud noise, like a blender. Brrrrrrrrr.

“Hmmm. Maybe it does make a noise. We’ll find out in a moment. If you open this flap, what do you see?”

A light. Let’s plug it in!

playing with the overhead projectorI plugged it in, flipped open the light, and spread out a collection of tangram pieces to play with. N had fun adjusting the height of the light and then made various arrangements of shapes, both abstract and realistic.

tessellation tilesI have a huge collection of transparent tangram tiles that I picked up at Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT), but if you click on this link it’ll take you to Amazon where you can order these shipped straight to your home.

overhead projector with kidsI pulled the curtains in the room shut, and the overhead projector’s bulb did a great job illuminating the wall. The walls in this room are painted dark grey, so I taped two sheets of 18″ x 24″ paper from Discount School Supply to the wall, and it made for a perfect screen.

We talked about how the projector reverses images, so you won’t see a mirror image of what exists on the glass plate.

This art project was wonderful in so many ways. The dim lights in the room were calming and helped focus my child’s big afternoon energy like a cup of tea can focus mine. It was fun to play with something new, and we both enjoyed exploring the mechanics of this archaic tool from Stanford’s past. As an artform, working with the tangram shapes was like painting with light and color, while making compositional choices. 

In case you’re interested in finding your own overhead projector, I did a quick Craigslist search and see them posted in the $25-$80 price range, but I bet a little searching could find you something for less money. And if you happen to be in my real-life friend circle, you’re more than welcome to borrow mine for a while, which is better than having it collect dust in my garage.

I’m thinking our next overhead projector project might be making our own transparencies. Any other ideas?

Do you have an overhead projector, light table, or some other type of projector (either of your own or at your disposal)? What could you try this with?

Eggs Dyed with Vegetables

I thought I’d wrap Egg Week up with a favorite egg project from last year: Decorating Eggs with Natural Dyes.

In case you’re just popping in, my friend Melissa over at The Chocolate Muffin Tree and I are posting unique egg-related activities or experiments each day this week, and here’s what we’ve covered so far:

There are so many fun commercial egg-dying products to choose from, and I love a box that promises technicolor tie-dye with coated glitter. My 3-year-old and I just tore through one of these and she had a great time with it. And did I mention that we’ve been eating eggs with all our meals this week? Small price to pay for some Egg Week fun.

If you have a little bit of time and an interest in introducing the magic of natural dyes to your child, this project is well worth your effort.

Click over here to find out what vegetable gave us this brilliant blue color!

naturally decorated eggs the chocolate muffin tree

And then check out The Chocolate Muffin Tree to see how she and her daughter made naturally dyed marbled eggs. They’re  beautiful, and the process will become one of your favorites, I’m sure.

egg week

So, although this marks the end of a very fun week of all-things-eggs, it’s not quite over yet…

I asked my creative and playful blog friends to share their own egg-related ideas and projects with me, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the response. I was planning to share them with you today, but there are so many ideas that I need a little time to pull it all together.

So, be sure to check back next week for one more day of eggs.

Until then, Happy Spring!

Egg Geodes Experiment

Today we’re experimenting with egg geodes. This experiment is set up to engage children in the steps of the scientific method, which could easily make this a fun and successful science fair project. Not only is the process of making these beautiful geodes engaging for kids, but the end-result has a huge wow-factor. Give yourself at least two-three days to achieve the greatest results.

Egg Geodes Inspiration

I was inspired by these egg geodes that I spotted on Martha Stewart and then followed this recipe by Melissa Howard who blogs at Those Northern Skies. If you enjoy this post, do click over and see what these two sites have to offer. The pictures alone are worth looking at.

egg geodes

Set up the Egg Geodes Experiment


  • Eggs
  • Rock Salt
  • Sea Salt
  • Borax*
  • Other substance that could be tested for crystallization such as sugar, epsom salts, cream of tartar, baking soda, or alum*
  • Mini-muffin pan
  • Food Coloring
* Borax and alum are not food products, and using these ingredients with small children should be closely monitored, as ingestion can be fatal. Please use common sense and close supervision with such substances. My children were watched at all times and did not come in direct contact with borax in the process of this experiment.

clean membranes from eggsI tapped a knife around the top of the eggs to remove a bit of shell, and then emptied the eggs and cleaned them with water. Using a finger, it’s important to gently rub around the inside of the egg to remove the membrane because the membrane can discolor crystals as the form.

If you happen to have a mini-cupcake pan, it’s like they were made for this job.

add salt to water for geodesWe heated a pot of water (not quite boiling) and then poured 1/2 cup into a mug. We added 1/4 cup of kosher salt into the first mug and mixed it until it dissolved.

The kosher salt was stubborn and wouldn’t dissolve, so Nutmeg handed the mug to me for some rigorous mixing. Sill no luck.

We moved on to the next mug: 1/2 cup hot water + 1/4 cup sea salt. The sea salt dissolved quickly and then we added a bit more. The idea is to saturate the solution without putting in too much of the dry ingredient.

And then the final mug: 1/2 cup hot water + 1/4 cup borax. Dissolved.

geode chartWe added a coup;le drops of food coloring to each mug and then made a chart so we wouldn’t lose track.

Then we poured the liquid into our eggs. Each solution made just enough to pour into two eggs. Perfect!

And then you wait. 5  days for the liquid to mostly evaporate.

We couldn’t that long, but after 1 day salt crystals evaporated through the egg shell, and after 2 days our eggs looked like this…

egg geodes

egg geodes

Kosher Salt 

Through the process of diffusion, the salt actually passed through the permeable shell. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

egg geodes

Sea Salt

egg geodes borax


With opposite results of the salt-solutions, borax created the most sparkly, crystal-looking egg with crystals inside the egg and nothing on the outside.

And of course, things like this are irresistible to little hands. My toddler wanted to pick all the crystals off the shells, and I had to pull them away because not only will she break them into a gazillion pieces, but substances like borax are safe for looking, not for touching.

So, if this strikes your fancy, have fun testing some of the different soluble solids mentioned in the list above.

egg week

This is Day #4 of Egg Week, which I’m co-hosting with my talented arts education friend Melissa who runs the popular children’s art blog, The Chocolate Muffin Tree. Take a minute to hop over to The Chocolate Muffin Tree and see the egg surprise she has in store for us today.

And if you’re just catching up with us, here’s a look at what we’ve covered this week so far:


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Make Your Own Egg Tempera Paint

Today I’m sharing how to make homemade tempera paint. This paint is beyond simple, made from eggs and food coloring, and it will last indefinitely once dry.

How to make homemade tempera paint with just eggs and food coloring.

I’ve been interested in whipping up a batch of homemade egg tempera paint for a while, and was eager to try this with my kids.

History of Egg Tempera Paint

Do you know the history of egg tempera paint? It’s quite interesting, actually.

Egg tempera was wildly popular amongst Early Renaissance artists (Botticelli, Giotto, Fra Angelico) and then fell out of use with the Late Renaissance artists (Leonard da Vinci, Michelangelo) when oil paint was introduced. To make egg tempera paint, powdered pigments culled from things such as stones, sticks, bones, and the earth were mixed with water and then tempered with a binding agent such as an egg. And when they were tempered with eggs, they were called egg tempered paints and eventually earned the nickname Egg Tempera.

Interesting, right? So this is where those big, bright bottles of kid-friendly tempera paint get their name from.

I borrowed this recipe from Kid’n’Kaboodle, and if you click over there you’ll find an enormous list of recipes that will keep your little artists busy for a long time.

This project doesn’t take very long to set up, kids will enjoy making their own paint from eggs (unless they’re allergic or hate eggs, of course), and once the paint dries it has a gorgeous, shimmery patina that makes it painting-worthy.

make egg tempera paint with kids

Ingredients: Tempera Paint

This post includes affiliate links

  • Eggs
  • Small bowls
  • Paint Brushes
  • Liquid Watercolors or Food Coloring
  • Card stock or other heavy-weight paper
  • Sharpie Pens – this set is a GREAT deal, by the way

How to Make Tempera Paint

make egg tempera paint with kids

Separate the yolks from the whites, and drop one yolk into each of your bowls.

make egg tempera paint with kids

My 3.5 year old chose three colors to add: Purple, Sparkly Red, and Sparkly Blue. We like the Sax Liquid Watercolors. The bottles are inexpensive, last forever, and come in a huge range of colors.

As soon as my one year old began mixing the purple into the egg yolk, my older daughter commented on how purple and orange mix together to make brown. Not her desire, exactly, but she didn’t seem to mind and it was a great little unintended lesson in color mixing.

kids paint with homemade egg tempera paint

Make Some Paintings

With our homemade tempera paint ready, we got busy painting. Quite a lot of painting, actually. For this step, I used paper from a big ream of white card stock purchased from the office supply store.

drawing with sharpie

I joined in too and it occurred to me that this transparent paint would make a beautiful luminous sheen over some bold Sharpie marks. I offered my kids Sharpies, and they thought it was a great idea too.

Do your kids love Sharpies as much as mine do? My kids go bananas over Sharpies and I sometimes wonder if it’s because they really are all that wonderful or if it’s because I keep them on a super-high shelf, buried behind old taxes and holiday Silverware.

child paints with homemade egg tempera paint

This was a great move, and the effect was as pretty as I had imagined.

toddler paints with homemade egg tempera paint

My toddler isn’t so deft with the Sharpie and I had to keep a sharp eye on her. She also insisted on the famous paint-draw technique, which kept me busy. How I even snapped this photo I’m not sure.

kids paint with homemade egg tempera paint

Before we wrapped it up, they wanted to collaborate with my on my drawing. Rainbow asked me to draw her a sheep, and then the two of them went to town painting in and around the scene.

More Homemade Paints

We have this awesome collection of homemade paint recipes that includes:

  • Puffy Sparkle Paint
  • Finger Paint
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk Paint
  • Invisible Ink
  • and more!