Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday made: Reusing egg trays

Hello hello!  The weather has been really hot over here, and Junior J has been helping me to water the plants everyday.  Recently, we decided that we would grow some green beans so that he could care for his very own plants.  So I gave him a pot of soil, and a plastic egg tray, and guided him to scoop soil into each compartment, and let him carefully place a few green beans into each section (he got really excited and tipped too many, but I just had to take away some!).

So its been a week since he's planted them, and the beans have already germinated and have started growing (though they are pretty scraggly since they are in the shade, I've gotta find a sunnier spot for them I guess!):

Then the boy has been starting to pick up verbs like "pour" and "hang" so I thought I'd make a little sign for his mini-garden, using corrugated cardboard, and wrapped in plastic cut from a clear-holder to protect it from over-enthusiastic watering from little hands:

Supplies used: Corrugated cardboard (Daiso)
Construction paper and ice-cream stick (Popular)
Lettering (AC Remarks)
So here it is, our very own beany garden!

What I liked about this activity was that it helps Junior J to learn how to be responsible for caring for living things, in this case, plants, while also fine-tuning fine motor skills like scooping, pouring and picking up small objects (beans).

Some tips:
1. Use only the plastic trays, as the cardboard version will get soggy with watering.  Added advantages of using these plastic ones are that as the beans grow bigger, you'll be able to see the roots growing since the plastic is clear!

2. Use a toothpick and poke holes into the base of each compartment, which will allow water to drain.  Kids get really excited and tend to drown the beans in water, and you don't want waterlogged soil!   Cut the cover of the tray, and reuse it by placing it beneath the tray to catch the excess water, and periodically clear this to prevent your garden from breeding mosquitoes.

3.  Plant only about 3 seeds/beans per compartment to prevent overcrowding.

4. You can get your kids to plant one compartment a day, so that you can see the seedlings all at various stages of growth, all at one glance!  Alternatively, plant different seeds in different compartments and make labels for the compartments so that you know which is which.

5. Other uses for plastic egg trays include reusing them as paint palettes, or as a tool for sorting activities. The cardboard version can be used for craftwork to make animals like caterpillars!

How do you reuse your egg trays?


  1. can create some fun counting games, adding and subtract using beans too! or separate red and green beans, hahaha!
    mostly my son use for painting purposes too!
    thanks for your suggestion on chinese songs etc... yah, sean loves to sing chinese songs (by memorising) but still not able to speak in sentence.
    you have a good weekend!!

  2. Oh! Our beans didn't germinate, unlike our rocket, spinach and bok choy! We used cardboard to plant ours in as they can simply be transplanted into the garden and the cardboard will disintegrate into the soil (further composting!). We have now bought seedlings, but it would have been nice to have the purple beans as well as the yellow ones :(

    We have been using our egg cartons for lots of sorting and painting activities :) We use so many eggs and have so many cartons that we had to find something to do with them :)

  3. what a beautiful idea... what fun way to teach the little one...:)

    have a blessed Sunday!!


  4. Pooi: Ohh... counting games. Thanks... will file that for use in the future...

    Amanda: Wow, you grow spinach and bok choy... amazing! Its great that you have a garden to grow stuff, we stay in a flat, so there's no space for that...

    Ruth: Thanks! Hope you had a blessed weekend too...

  5. I love your brightly coloured sign, they just have to grow now :)

  6. Christie: Thanks... yup... they're growing! :)

  7. Hallo, I really love this idea. Wonder if I can introduce it to my one-year old niece? Is that too young? What kind of beans did you use?

  8. Thesavvymummy: Hello, thanks for dropping by! I think it may be a little tough to introduce at one year of age, perhaps a few months later?

    I used green beans, but any beans will do, you could try red beans/black beans too!



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