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Nature Study–OR–How to Keep Kids Entertained While You’re Busy

Yesterday I had a mini baking marathon.  I had been meaning for a while to make some banana pancakes and whole wheat waffles for the freezer to have on those mornings when my usual fare of oatmeal or a couple of eggs and the girls’ favorites of cereal, applesauce, or yogurt just won’t do.  I am easily distracted and extremely absent-minded (if you’re a mom and you’re not, PLEASE tell me your secret!), so I like to try to occupy my girls while I do tasks that require thought.  After reading our morning devotion over breakfast, the girls were inspired to draw and cut out houses (the devotion discussed that no matter the size of our natural family, we are a part of God’s family).  Next, I pulled out the big guns–Play-Doh.  That lasted them for almost an hour.  By this time, they had eaten two freshly-cooked pancakes each, so after they washed their sticky hands, I knew that the Play-Doh had almost reached its keeping-two-little-girls-out-of-trouble limit.

Unfortunately, I did not plan for this mini baking marathon when I picked up a few things at the grocery store Monday night, so I had to be satisfied with one batch of pancakes and one batch of waffles.  However, this was actually rather serendipitous because when I saw the newly-emptied egg carton, I was struck with inspiration.

I sent the girls out into our enclosed backyard to find twelve different things to put into the egg wells (is that what those individual compartments are called?).   I suggested that they might pick a piece of clover, a blade of grass, a yellow flower, a ladybug (“But what if we can’t find a ladybug?” queried Louise), etc.  Of course, they came back in fairly quickly, and they had duplicate items in some of the compartments, but I thought it was a great nature activity and a good way to think about how things are different and alike.  Here’s what they came up with:

egg-carton-largerIt was an extremely blustery day, so some of their specimens had already escaped their compartments.  🙂

I know that the lowly egg carton has been used for a variety of activities and craft projects, but I was quite pleased with my own stroke of genius.  🙂  Believe me, it doesn’t happen very often.

When I asked Lulu about having two pieces of “wheat” (her words, not mine–I don’t know what that wheat-like grass in our yard really is) next to each other when she was instructed to find different things, she told me they were friends and needed to be together.  🙂  (I now realize that “different” is a difficult concept for a four and three year old.)  Anyway, it was fun.

On a completely unrelated note, I am always pleasantly surprised (remember–I have a short memory) when I open my egg cartons and see this Bible verse:

egg-carton-closeup-largerIsn’t that a great way to start the day?

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2 Responses

  1. Neat! Egg cartons usually get snatched and used for various inventions around here before I get a chance to. But maybe I’ll be more aggressive and try this activity.

    There seems to be an infatuation with rocks and pebbles in the air in my home. Maybe we’ll collect stones…

  2. Great thought! I’ll have to try this one the next time I have two egg cartons to hand out.

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