Do you remember waaay back when I wrote about making a garbage garden? That was lots of fun, but we had egg cartons left over. What to do? Clearly, the answer was, paint on them! This is just plain old tempera paint. We set out the separated cups as well as the solid lids.
So, why would we do such a silly thing? Mostly, to let the kids use a three-dimensional surface while applying paint. Later on we also brought out the crayons and markers, which tested their wrist control and hand-eye coordination.
What I want you to resist is the temptation to MAKE something out of these. You know what I’m talking about, right? CATERPILLAR comes to mind, as does ANT if you’ve put out black paint. Don’t do it! Unless you’re working with older preschoolers, who sometimes want to make a product, anything you create with these or help them create isn’t really theirs, it’s yours. The kids know it’s not theirs and they won’t care about it or play with it later. Parents will just toss the thing in the trash since they aren’t sure you can recycle things with googly eyes, glue, and pipe cleaners.
If you can’t resist doing things with these, have the kids help you make a mobile for the whole class to enjoy. Or use them to decorate a patch of dirt, explaining to the kids that over time these little cups of cardboard will help make better dirt for plants to grow in (just be sure you’re using planet-safe paint). You could even use these as little cups for seeds that you plan on planting later.