If you grew up in the United States, there’s a good chance that during your childhood you made some version of an egg carton craft: think lady bugs with pom-pom faces and googly eyes. On this page alone, I counted 47 craft projects for preschoolers that begin with egg cartons!
What N and I embarked on is more of a free-painting project, sans pom-poms, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. It takes the open-ended painting experience from the easel to the egg carton, and offers children an opportunity to think creatively and independently. I’m big on using non-art materials for art-making, and this definitely fits the bill. Recycling materials teaches kids that anything can be used for art, and we’re only limited by our own imaginations. In addition to all of this, the textured, bumpy surface of the carton is a new form of tactile exploration that offers new challenges to kids used to painting on 2-D surfaces. And, if you set this up on your kitchen floor, as we did, this is a flexible activity for homes with limited art-making space.
10 minutes for set-up and clean-up. 10 – 45 minutes for the activity. At 2 years old, my daughter spent about 10 minutes on this.
- Cardboard egg carton/s
- Tempera paint (acrylic will work too)
- Fat brushes. We like round, fat brushes like these.
- Palette or paint cups. I like to squeeze paints on a plastic-coated paper plate or plate covered in foil.
- Save your cardboard egg cartons. We eat a lot of eggs around here, so this wasn’t too hard.
- Cover your work surface. I covered a large area of our kitchen floor with a paper grocery bag that I cut open.
- Set up materials. I limited our palette to two colors, which my daughter enjoyed mixing.
- Give your child the egg carton, and see what he or she comes up with.
Egg Carton Extension
I found this very cool idea on Giggleface Studios for making an egg carton nature/object collecting box. While my daughter is probably a bit young to fully enjoy this, I imagine it would be a crowd pleaser for kids over 3. And you can see all of the photos that relate to this project here.