With yesterday being Easter, many of you will have drug out your plastic Easter eggs (or bought new ones) to have a day of fun filled Easter egg hunting. But when the day is over, those shiny plastic eggs are thrown back into storage (or just thrown out). For the enterprising homeschooler or parent, this isn’t necessary. There are many educational uses for these holiday items. Part one of this series addressed preschool age uses. This article, part two, will address elementary age children and part three will address uses for middle school students.
Special note: any of the activities mentioned in part one of this article may easily be used for early elementary age students or even as review or reinforcement for older children.
- Fill the eggs with words from the appropriate Dolch Site Words list (pre-primer, primer, first grade, second grade, third grade). Have your child select an egg at random and then work on reading the words.
- Mark the eggs with the letter of the alphabet. Make a set of Dolch Site Word flash cards. Have the child select a flash card from the deck, read the word, and then use the eggs to “spell” the word.
Skill: Reading comprehension
- Select three different colors of eggs. Have one color represent questions to ask before reading a book. These questions can be about the title of the book (“Now that you know the title, what do you think this book will be about?” or “Have you ever done anything like this?” so that if the title of the book is “Bobby Goes Fishing” then you are asking the child if they have ever gone fishing) or about the pictures on the cover of the book, or even having them look at the pictures inside the book to predict what will happen. Have the child select one or two eggs from this color before you read the book.
- Pick a second color to represent questions that are asked while the book is being read. Fill this color of egg with questions such as “What is your favorite part of the book so far?” or “What do you think that character is feeling?” or “What do you think will happen next?” Depending on the length and complexity of the book, have the child select one or more eggs during the course of reading the book.
- Your third color of egg will represent questions to be asked after the book is finished. Fill this color egg with questions such as “Did you like the book? Why?” (never allow for a simple yes or no answer; you want the child to engage deep thinking processes in order to have a deep understanding of what he or she is reading) or “What was your favorite part of the book? Why?” or even “What would you have done if you had to make the same decision as the main character?” Have the child select one or more of these eggs once the book is finished.
- Using whatever math concepts the child is currently working on, put a problem on the outside of the egg and the answer inside the egg. For example, if the child is learning addition, have an egg with “1 + 1” written on the outside and “2” on the inside.
Skill: Nature and local botany
- Take your camera and go for walk around your neighborhood. Take close up photographs of various trees, flowers, and weeds (you can use your “macro” setting, which is often labeled with the picture of a flower, in order to get very close to your subject). Print off the pictures in a relatively small size (think 2 x 3 or smaller, even). Write their name on the back of the picture. Stuff the eggs with the pictures. Have your child select eggs and then discuss the color, texture, size, and name of the plant. Later, place the photographs into a notebook or scrapbook and go for a walk with your child to find them in the wild. Take your camera with you and take a picture of the child with the plant. Print them off and place them on the same page as the close-up picture that was taken earlier. Follow up by taking the “botany book” to the Des Moines Botanical Center and comparing and contrasting the local plants with the more exotic plants on display.