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colorful wood eggs

April 5, 2013

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my obsession with well-made wooden toys before.  Something about the beauty and simplicity of these toys really makes me happy.  I’ve been reading some about Montessori theory, and I remember reading the suggestion that children should be surrounded by beauty — for me, I think this means to give Lilly toys and objects that are good-looking, real, well-made, and durable.

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The biggest problem that I’ve run into is that these toys are also very often expensive.

(The lock toy in the background of the above photo is amazing, well-made, simple and every kid who ever comes over is captivated by it.  Price tag? Something like $90 last time I checked.  I was lucky enough to randomly stumble on it at a rummage sale for $2.)

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I’ve seen wooden eggs & egg cups on pinterest and Montessori blogs and have been meaning to pick some up for almost a year now.  Stacking the eggs in the cup is really good for fine motor control for the littles, and should involve a decent degree of concentration.

Now that Lil is a little older, I thought she might enjoy a set of eggs & egg cups in varying colors so that she can practice naming colors & color matching.  She’s been really into pointing out and naming colors lately, so I thought this might give her some practice.

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As you can see, we’re still working on the color matching. 🙂  She’s getting better!

These were pretty easy & relatively inexpensive to make.  You’ll need:

  • wooden eggs & egg cups (mine were from craftparts.com)
  • liquid watercolors (mine were Sargent Art brand from amazon – I got a $10 mix color set but I’m not seeing it on Amazon now)
  • plastic baggies
  • beeswax (I had on hand from making tree blocks)
  • olive oil

Steps are simple:

  • put the egg & egg cup into a plastic bag and drip a few drops of liquid watercolor into the bag — you don’t need much! 
  • squish the bag until the wood is covered and let dry
  • mix a 1:4 beeswax:olive oil mixture.  I used a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup to measure out 1 cup of olive oil, then added grated beeswax until the measurement read 1 1/4 cups.  Then I used a double boiler to melt the mixture (you can use a microwave, but we don’t have one).  Once the beeswax has melted, let the mixture cool and solidify, making sure to stir occasionally so the beeswax and olive oil will stay mixed
  • coat your painted wood pieces with the beeswax polish, then remove excess beeswax with a towel

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This project was so quick & easy, and I’ve got a few other ideas up my sleeve: wood coins for more color matching & for counting, wooden peg dolls, tiny apples and acorns for counting and imaginative play.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2013 2:43 pm

    Those eggs are so pretty, I’d almost like to make some for myself. Lucky Lilly! Does the beeswax/oil mixture ever get tacky after you have applied it to the wood pieces?

    • April 8, 2013 9:17 pm

      Thanks! I am kind of obsessed with them… The finish with the beeswax/olive oil is really nice — not tacky or sticky at all. I was kind of surprised, actually, since I thought it may leave a residue on our hands after playing, but it’s all soaked into the wood really nicely.

  2. April 15, 2013 12:44 pm

    So pretty!

    I have a stupid question about the wooden toys because I love them, too. Does Lilly love them, too? I find that Henry is already drawn to the light-up, plastic crap that grandparents got him. I’m wondering how you combat this?

    • April 15, 2013 3:27 pm

      She does love the light up/noisy stuff, too, I think… she gets to play with that type of thing at daycare or playdates at friends houses and we have a few noisy/light up things in the car for long car rides.

      Other than that, anything that has required batteries usually finds its way down to the basement to stay hidden for eternity. 🙂 Or it gets the batteries removed. There are actually only two of such toys in the basement and she’s outgrown both. We’ve been pretty up front about our toy preferences and family has been nice enough to comply with our requests.

      I do wonder sometimes if it’s fair to her to discourage toys that she obviously likes… but the added noise sort of drives me insane. It would be one thing if the toys only made a noise when she interacted with them, but many of the noisy toys we have played with or received continue playing music and lighting up to get her attention when she’s wandered off or is paying attention to something else. This, for me, is a big problem. I want her to be able to concentrate on whatever she’s doing (concentration/attention is a hugely important skill, I think!), and if there is constantly something vying for her attention, it’s difficult. In this, too, I find that I have to be mindful myself to not interrupt her concentration!

      I hope that’s helpful. 🙂

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