Looking for an easy, low-prep way to get into the Spring or Easter spirit and develop your baby or toddler’s fine motor skills? Try a tape rescue mission paired with Learning Resources Discovery Eggs!
Materials we used:
- Learning Resources Discovery Eggs
- Tape (washi, painters, or masking tape)
- Muffin tin or baking tray
- Loose parts or toys to hide inside each egg
- Picture books about eggs or spring (optional) (examples shared below)
To set this activity up, simply hide various loose parts or small toys inside each Discovery Egg, place them in the muffin tin compartments, and then tape them down in a variety of crisscrossing patterns.
If you celebrate Easter, plastic eggs leftover from your annual hunt will also work in a pinch. Still, we loved these Learning Resources Discovery Eggs because they (a) are sturdier, larger, and can hold more treasures and (b) look more like speckled, realistic bird or dinosaur eggs that have cracked down the middle, so they’ll be fun and appropriate for imaginative play all year round!
For this age group, we found that easily removable washi or painter’s tape works best. We want it to be a fun challenge for our toddlers — not so impossibly difficult that it frustrates them too soon in the rescue mission. We hid small spring-themed loose parts like wooden rabbits and carrots inside the eggs, but any high-interest items that will excite your child will work, as long as it fits inside the egg (which measures about 3½ x 2¾ inches). Other options could include small animal or dinosaur figurines, colorful pompoms, alphabet magnets, taste-safe (and highly motivating!) snacks, seashells, and other small natural objects. Tell your toddler that items are hiding inside each egg, and it’s their job to help them escape!
This simple play invitation takes only minutes to set up. Still, it delivers a wonderful opportunity for your child to work those hand and finger muscles — important for future tasks like writing, tying shoes, manipulating zippers, and cutting paper. It also taps into their budding development of problem-solving, coordination, patience, and perseverance in a low-pressure way. What’s more, they can count, sort, and describe all of the treasures inside, so there are many ways to adapt this activity to extend their learning and play.
We paired our fine motor rescue mission with seasonal picture books like Egg by Kevin Henkes, which provides a great opportunity for story retelling and reenactment using the Discovery Eggs as props!
Looking to adapt or extend your play and learning even further?
- Sensory Play: Place the Discovery Eggs in a sensory bin with a filler like green-dyed rice and/or a nest of shredded paper grass and other fun, loose parts for an open-ended invitation to explore and develop those fine motor skills. Let your toddler use the eggs to scoop, pour, and hide the rice and other items inside.
- Memory/Guessing Games: Hide items inside the eggs that have or make different sounds, smells, or weights. Model using your various senses to explore an egg and guess what’s inside. Then, have your toddler do the same! If you have older children, allow them to choose the items inside while you or their siblings guess the contents.
- Sorting & Organizing: Hide a variety of similar-but-different items inside the eggs. Ask your child to compare, sort, and organize them in different ways, highlighting different sizes, colors, or other features. Discuss what makes each item similar or different and why they chose to organize them a certain way. Which grouping has the most items? Which has the least?
- Gross Motor: Of course, you can’t beat classic hide-and-seek or treasure hunt game! Secretly place the eggs around the home or yard in high and low hiding places for your child(ren) to find and bring back to the ‘nest,’ which can be a box or basket in a central location. Adaptations can include setting a timer to see how quickly they can complete the hunt, using written clues or a visual map to find the egg-treasure, or filling each egg with a note describing a gross-motor activity like “Do five frog leaps” or “Balance on one foot until we count to four” that they must complete before retrieving the next egg!