Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Alphabet Quiet Book: E is for Eggs

This post is the sixth in a series about the alphabet quiet book I'm making with the girls for preschool this year. To read the introduction, click here, and to read the rest of the posts (updated on a weekly basis) click the "Quiet Book" label on the right.

E is for Eggs
For a while, I had trouble deciding on what to make for our E page. I toyed with the idea of doing E is for Entomology, because collecting bugs is one of my favorite nature activities (all three links take you to cool insect pages). In the end I decided against that, because it was a little too nerdy, and because my mom told me it would be better to teach E with the short E sound. Egg was a natural choice, but I just couldn't get enthusiastic about making a hatching baby chick. Then I came across this adorable Humpty Dumpty page, and I was sold.

Inspiration and Page Design
My inspiration was totally from Toni's Humpty Dumpty at Sugar Tart Crafts. My main modification was to make an egg carton pocket to store the puzzle pieces. While I try to minimize loose parts in general, any page that does have loose parts in our quiet book absolutely has to have a way to contain the pieces to the page. The buttoning practice when opening and closing the pocket is an added bonus.

I started by making a large felt egg with a Humpty Dumpty face. I cut out two layers of cream felt, and sewed a felt bow tie, beads for eyes and a nose to the top piece. I embroidered French knots on the bow tie to make polka dots, and back-stitched the smile in three sections to enable cutting it apart without unraveling the embroidery. Then I sewed the face egg to the backing egg, and zig-zagged puzzle pieces all across the egg. I stitched double lines close together, and then cut in between them. I'd stitch out a puzzle piece or two, then cut those off and continue down the egg.

Although this is just a 9-piece puzzle, it's surprisingly hard. I quickly decided that it would be important to have an egg shape stitched to the page to help the girls line up the pieces against. For fun, and to continue with the theme of eggs, I added a yellow egg yolk to the egg silhouette.

Preschool goals for using the Eggs page
This puzzle is a step beyond the "put the wooden piece into the hole" toddler puzzles, but not quite at the level of a 24-piece or beyond puzzle. According to one of the lists I've been working from, being able to "complete a seven-piece interlocking puzzle" is one of the skills kids should master before kindergarten. This nine-piece egg puzzle was just difficult enough for Annie to have to work on for a while before completing on her own, so I'd say it was a success!

I'd like to say that during E week Annie and I also cooked eggs together for breakfast every day, learning how to cook a different type of egg each day. Sadly, we didn't do anything that fun or adventurous. Although all this talk about eggs does remind me of a conversation Collin and I had over a breakfast of eggs and grits recently.

Collin (apropos of nothing): "You should write to the mayor's office and see if there are any updates on allowing chickens in town."
Me: "What makes you say that?"
Collin: "These eggs are really bland."

So, there you have it. And, Mr. Mayor and Mr. Councilmen, if you're reading this, please let us raise chickens in town! We're stuck eating bland eggs, and our 4-year-old even thinks eggs originate at the grocery store. Maybe I should have done a hatching egg page after all.

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