Eggs, Glorious Eggs

eggs glorious eggsSquare eggs with unique, artisanal patterning? A beauty contest? Princess chickens? Yes, there is a book that brings all these elements together!

We read The Most Wonderful Egg in the World, by Helme Heine (Margaret K. McElderry imprint, 1983). In a kingdom, long ago, three hens got in an argument. Which hen was the most beautiful? Could it be Dotty, with her beautiful feathers? Stalky, with her beautiful legs? Or Plumy, with her beautiful crest? They decide to take matters to the king. Being a practical man (“What you can do is more important than what you look like”), he decreed that whoever laid the most wonderful egg would become a princess. Dotty laid the most perfect, shimmering, spotless egg the kingdom had even seen. Stalky laid the biggest egg the kingdom had ever seen. And Plumy…laid a square egg with a different color on each side! Since the king could not decide which egg was the most wonderful, he made all three hens princesses. And they lived happily ever after.

You’ll need:

  • A strip of white poster board (approximately 2.25″ x 22″)
  • A sturdy, 7″ paper plate
  • Nest making materials (brown construction paper, raffia, and paper crinkle)
  • A small box (mine was 4″ x 4″ x 4″)
  • Egg decorating materials (complete list a little later in the post!)
  • A couple of name tag stickers
  • 2 pieces of gold ribbon (approximately 2.25″ each)
  • Stapler, scissors, tape, and glue stick for construction
  • Hot glue

For this project, we made a nest, decorated a “square” egg, and then held an egg-tastic beauty contest in which everyone took home a prize!

egg in nestWe’ll begin with the nest. Circle a strip of white poster board around the outside of a paper plate and staple it securely (you’ll need to remove the circle from around the plate to staple it properly).

nest step 1Slide the paper plate back inside the circle, pushing it all the way to the bottom.

nest step 2Now flip the “nest” over and use tape to reinforce the connection between the plate and the circle. I used at least 4 pieces of tape:

nest step 3I also reinforced the inside connection with a ring of hot glue.

nest step 4Time to decorate! I offered strips of brown construction paper, raffia, and paper crinkle. Kids attached these materials to their nests with tape and/or glue.

finished nestNow for the egg! We used dot stickers, craft ties, ribbon, tissue paper, small feathers, sparkle stems, self-adhesive foam shapes, drinking straws, cotton balls, patterned paper, and colored masking tape to jazz thing up. You can also forgo all these things and simply use markers to fancy your egg up.

eggWhile the kids were decorating their eggs, Miss Joani and I circled around, making note of who was putting the most dot stickers on his/her egg, who was doing lots of stripes, who was going to town with the sparkly materials. Later, we used our notes to award the beauty contest prizes.

In my story time contests, everyone is awarded a prize ribbon, and no 2 categories are the same! Here are some of the “categories” from our egg beauty contest:

  1. Best spots
  2. Best stripes
  3. Most colorful
  4. Best use of red
  5. Best use of blue
  6. Best use of pink
  7. Best use of purple
  8. Best use of sparkle stems
  9. Best pattern
  10. Most original
  11. Fluffiest egg
  12. Most imaginative
  13. Most mysterious
  14. Best nest
  15. Most cheerful
  16. Best feathers
  17. Most shiny

You can make up a few prize categories on the spot, but I’d recommend having some ready-made ones handy. The contest’s “parade” only lasts a few minutes, and I find it difficult to come up with prize categories quickly, especially if you’re awarding ribbons to 22 kids at once!

Making the prize ribbons is super easy. I purchased some gold-bordered name tag stickers from Office Max, and used a gold metallic Sharpie pen to write the category on each sticker. Next, I peeled back the sticker and placed two, 2.25″ pieces of gold ribbon near the bottom. Then I lowered the sticker gently back in place. During the award ceremony, all you have to do is peel and stick the ribbon on the nest!

prize ribbonsWhen it was time for the contest, everyone placed their eggs in their nests and followed “Judge Joani” out to the lobby of the library.

judge joaniOnce in the lobby, the contestants circled, reversed directions twice, and stood in line while the judge examined their eggs. Then everyone sat down while I announced the prizes, to the hearty applause and cheers of the grown-ups!

Totally Egg-Citing

humptyWhy is this egg wearing a climbing harness and birthday hat? Read on for answers!

We read Humpty Dumpty by Daniel Kirk (Scholastic, 2001). Humpty Dumpty, tired of hiding indoors, begs to go to shy Prince Moe’s royal birthday parade. When the crowds get too thick for Humpty Dumpty to see past, he climbs higher and higher and…falls. Right on the royal carriage. Luckily, the puzzle-crazy prince manages to put the broken egg back together again, and they become the best of friends.

You’ll need:

  • 1 oatmeal container
  • White construction paper
  • 1 pair of wiggle eyes
  • Pom-pom for nose
  • A selection of patterned paper (or construction paper)
  • 4 white poster board strips for the arms and legs
  • 2 poster board strips for the egg’s climbing harness
  • 3 jumbo paper clips
  • 3 pipe cleaners
  • 1 super long piece of twine
  • Hot glue
  • Markers for decorating
  • Tape, staples, and hole punch for construction
  • 1 climbing wall (more on this later!)
  • Birthday eraser prizes (optional)

Start with the egg! Wrap an oatmeal container in white construction paper, then wrap an additional piece of patterned paper / construction paper around the bottom to create the egg’s pants. Hot glue the wiggle eyes and pom-pom nose. Draw the mouth with markers.

The birthday party hat is a patterned piece of paper curled into a cone and taped. You can tape a fringed paper tassel to the top if you so desire. Cut the hat to the right size, and then tape to the top of the egg’s head.

To make the harness, wrap one strip of construction paper around the egg’s waist like a belt. Staple. The next strip goes in between the legs like so:

plain harnessNow punch three holes in the harness (right, left, and back).

harness holesSlide the egg into the harness and set aside. Using markers, decorate the arms and legs. Feel free to use scissors to shape the egg’s hands and feet. Keeping the egg in the harness, attach the arms and legs with hot glue.

Now for the climbing wall (drum roll please)…

egg climbing wallTA DA! That’s my student assistant Iara belaying Mr. Dumpty on the wall.

We made the wall out of a large flattened box that was secured to an overhead metal bar with twine. You could also create the wall on a stairwell, ladder, tall box, tree…

The rock “holds” on the wall are crumpled pieces of brown paper. The “bushes” are crumpled pieces of green tissue paper. The “snow” is bunches of polyester stuffing. All of these items were hot glued to the wall before we hung it.

With the egg and the wall finished, all you need is the “climbing rig.” Wrap the ends of 3 pipe cleaners around 3 jumbo paper clips. Now bunch the 3 pipe cleaners together at the top and twist. Knot the super long piece of twine around the twisted pipe cleaner top. It should look like this:

harnessThen slide each paper clip through a hole in the harness (it’s easier to show this step without the egg in the harness).

harness attachedThen we threw the free end of the twine “rope” over the metal bar and dropped it down so kids could grab it and raise and lower their eggs (actually, we had 2 ropes on the wall, since we had 24 kids at story time and wanted to shorten the waiting time).

Ready to climb! Clip the pipe cleaner “rig” to the egg’s harness, and then have the kids pull the rope to make Humpty Dumpty climb the wall! In keeping with the spirit of the book, we created a game in which the birthday hat clad egg climbed to the top of the wall, “touched” a gold star, and dropped back down safely to receive a birthday cake prize (little cake erasers from Target).

cakesPostscript: Originally, this project was created for the book Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again by Dave Horowitz (Puffin, reprint edition 2011). In the story, Humpty Dumpty is an avid rock climber who falls and loses his confidence. He descends into a terrible depression (complete with moping around in his underwear). He revives when he learns that only he can save one of the King’s horses from a dangerous ledge, and ultimately saves the day!

We had prepped the whole project when I discovered that (the day before we were set to go) the book had gone missing! I frantically checked THREE bookstores and none of them had a copy. So I substituted Humpty Dumpty by Daniel Kirk. Mostly, it involved switching an alpine climbing hat for a birthday hat, and awarding a birthday cake prize instead of a gold star sticker prize.

However, if you’re interested in taking the project in this direction, here is an image of the hat. It’s a simple origami hat fold with a fringed construction paper tassel and marker decorations.

alpine hatYodel-lay-he-hoo!