Thursday, January 14, 2010

E Day: Elephants and Eggs

The holidays are over, so it's time to get back on track with our letter days. It was my turn this week to do "E". I decided to do an egg and elephant theme. Scientist really loves to paint, and we haven't gotten it out in awhile, so I picked activities that would allow us to get out the paint. When I was little, my Grandma did this activity with us where you poke a hole in each end of an egg, and then blow out the yolk. You are left with a hollow egg. We used to glue little squares of tissue paper on it and then paint a clear coat over it. I thought tissue papaer might be a little advanced for two year olds, so the plan was to just let them paint their eggs.

The night before Aaron helped me do some prep work. We washed the eggs first and then poked holes in each end and blew out the center of the eggs. FYI, it helps a lot if you stick the pin inside the hole and swish it around to break up the egg yolk.

Then, since these are supposed to be decorative eggs, we made egg stands to put them on out of the egg carton. Then we covered the stands in tin foil so it would look fancy.

I know it's a long long way from Easter, so I modified a little bit and decided that these eggs could be Valentines eggs. Ya, ya, I know, Valentines Day is still a ways off too, but it's the closest holiday we've got. So I found some heart stickers that the kids could stick on their eggs after they were painted, to help spice things up a bit.

That was the egg part. For the elephant part, I got the awesome idea to make a paper sack elephant puppet off of a website a friend shared with me called ABC Stuff. It's an awesome website and has multiple activity ideas for each letter of the alphabet. She had a link on there to a sight that had a pattern to print out to make an elephant puppet. I didn't think cutting would go so well for the kids, so I printed out the patterns on cardstock and cut out the pieces for them and made them each their own little envelope (whatever it takes to stick in another E word right?) with all of their elephant peices in it.

That was all the 'before' work. And I think having it all ready made the day go a lot smoother. When our friends got here, I sat the boys down in special "story chairs" (our banana chairs, I hoped having special chairs would help their attention spans, it only sort of worked) and read them Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Suess. Which just so happens to be about an elephant who tries to hatch an egg. Not only that, but it's got a good moral (patients and hard work pay off in the end) as well. Double winner.

After that we headed to the kitchen to paint! Oh, I should mention, the apples on the table are for "Eating", which starts with "E". Couldn't think of any egg snacks that sounded good, so I got creative. The boys painted the paper sack first. They painted it gray. The only color I got out to begin with, so that at least the body and the face would look elephantish. You'll see what I mean in a minute. When they were done with the sacks we put them aside to dry and got the elephant pieces out of the envelopes. Then I got out more colors so the boys could be as creative and artistic as they wanted to be. :) They didn't let me down either.

Here's Scientist painting his elephant ear a nice mix of red and orange. We haven't used brushes very much with him, but let me tell you it's LOTS less messy than finger painting. And he still loved it. So I think from now on I'll have him use the brush for inside, and save finger painting for outside. It was also a nice addition to have the garbage sacks taped to the table. I usually just spread newspaper, and it's more of a hassel, and paint still always manages to get on the table.

When the boys were done with the elephant parts, we put those aside to dry. I took their painting plates away, and got them different ones with only Valentines Day colors on it. Then gave them their eggs. They seemed to have a little bit more trouble painting the eggs because the eggs kept rolling away from them. But I think they enjoyed that too. Once the eggs were nicely painted, we washed up and let the boys down to play while everything dried.

They had a good time playing together, which they always do. Unfortunately the paint did not dry fast enough, so we had to send everything home with Suzy in pieces to have them put together after nap time. We put ours together after nap time too. Here's how they turned out:

Not quite as professional looking as the elephant puppets the lady on ABC Stuff made, or the eggs I used to make with my grandma, (and actually, the ABC Stuff page did some blown eggs as well, that are really well done), but hey, for two year olds, not too bad. :) And we had fun doing it, which is really all that matters.

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