The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 28, 2013

Shelling out: Plastic eggs can be used for a number of year-round crafts

Every year we vow to save all those plastic eggs our kids collect and use them for something else next year.
Why wait? There's plenty of things to be done with them during Easter or any day afterward.
With just a few crafting supplies, such as pipe cleaners, foam stickers, twine and googly eyes, a number of different toys and educational aids can be made.

Silly snake

Plastic egg shells are the perfect shape for a crazy creation: A snake (or caterpillar). Adapted from an idea by blogger Sarah Forhan, these snakes are easy to make.

Step 1

Pick an egg and put googly eyes on the short side. Set that half of the snake's head aside until the end: There's some threading to be done.

Step 2

Starting with the long end of the egg used for the head, use some beading twine or plastic lacing cord to thread shells together. Use anywhere from 12 to 24 inches of twine, tie a knot at one end of the twine then thread in such a way that the knot ends up inside that first shell.

Most new plastic eggs have holes in them, making threading easy. If the eggs don't have holes, you'll need to punch some in with a thick needle or small drill. Also, several new eggs have little pieces of plastic that attach both ends of the egg. Slice through those things; make sure each shell is separate.

Step 3

Alternating between large and small shells, thread them together so that they fit inside of each other. Continue stacking and threading as much as you want, until you run out of eggs, twine or time. Just make sure you have enough length of twine left over to tie another knot.

Step 4

When you've reached your limit, tie that knot as close to the end of the stack as possible. Clip off the end.

Step 5

Go back to the shell with the snake's googly eyes. Thread a pipe cleaner's ends through the two holes on the outside of the egg, so that the ends can be tucked away inside the egg. (If you have one of those old eggs with no holes, then make a couple of holes.

To make the forked tongue, leave a loop on the outside, then twist the ends together at the base of the egg. This should leave a shape like a teardrop.

Position your index and middle fingers on either side of the teardrop's point, then press the round end into your fingers. This will create a Y-shape that can be twisted at the base. Once you've finished the tongue, twist the ends of the pipe cleaner inside.

Step 6

Snap the snake's head into the body of the snake, and have fun. The shells will rotate around each other, meaning the snake can bend and twist.

Crazy critters

Pipe cleaners, foam stickers and googly eyes can become the arms, legs and faces of anything from normal animals to monsters and aliens (we guarantee that boys will love making aliens more than piggies or kitties).

Most craft stores have canisters of hundreds of small foam stickers, and those canisters include basic geometric shapes such as stars, circles, hearts and triangles. Upside-down hearts make pretty good snouts, and triangles make great teeth. Use fine-point markers to add even more details.

With pipe cleaners, kids can add arms and legs. Use the forked-tongue procedure of the snake to make arms with pinchers or feet with claws.

Flash-card eggs

Eggs can also be used for some great matching games. The two shells can be combined to make unique matching activities:

  • Make a word egg. Similar to things on "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," use one egg to write a common word part, such as "ink." On the other, pair letters to make different words with the common ending, such as "think," "clink," "sink," "drink" or "blink."
  • Pair math equations. Put the formula part on one end, then the equals sign and total on the other.
  • Match upper- and lower-case letters together.
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