Spring is a time of renewal. Coming out of the cold winter season to green grass, new buds on trees and sunshine is one of my favorite times of the year. Since stories carry us from season to season with our children, they are a wonderful way to transition from our wintertime activities to springtime activities.
One of the most notable symbols of the spring season are eggs. We watch steadfast birds make their way out of their tiny eggshells. We dye and decorate eggs and hide them for our children to find. We make chocolate replica eggs to eat. Now you can introduce a new tradition into the springtime rhythms of your family and home through Story Eggs.
With some simple tools you can create a fun new way to engage in spring storytelling. You can create one or several Story Eggs. Spontaneous storytelling can be intimidating. Story Eggs can help give you and your children simple images to inspire magical tales this spring.
One way to use the eggs is to create simple images on each. As the children find the Story Eggs among other hidden eggs, an impromptu story can be created as each one is found. The different images or symbols can be the starting spot for the story to begin.
Another way to use the Story Eggs is to create a spring story before egg hiding. Create the Story Egg or eggs with special symbols from the story. The child that finds the special Story Egg can tell the story or even add to the original story each spring season.
Unfinished wood eggs, size of your choice, available from most craft stores. For great quality, service and selection I really like Casey’s Wood from Maine.
You may choose your desired size of wooden egg to work with. Large goose-sized eggs have lots of space to create your designs, small robin eggs are precious, and the hen-sized eggs match traditional Easter eggs and still allow adequate design space.
Use a piece of fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand the egg prior to drawing a design on the egg. This creates a smooth soft surface and allows the egg to accept watercolors more readily.
Decide on images for the design on the egg. These may come from an earlier created story, your child’s art, simple images such as birds, flowers, trees, fish, house, sun etc. Draw these onto the egg with a pencil, as it is very forgiving. Feel free to erase and start over. For this example I used some images from a story I wrote with my sons a few springs ago. I chose a few key elements from the story. Please refer to this link if you are interested in reading the story that we used to create this Story Egg: Bella and the Magic Carrot.
Use a wood burner to burn the design into the egg over the pencil drawings. A word on wood burners: you can use commercial wood burners available in most craft/hobby stores. I think this is a great way to start off. If you find that you really like wood burning as a medium and hobby, the investment in a professional grade wood burner is wise. You can achieve a variety of styles and details that are not as easily done on commercial wood burners. Please use a good amount of caution when using the wood burner — they are extremely hot, never leave them on unattended, and practice first on some scrap wood if you have it to get the feel of the burner.
Once your design is burned into the wood, use an eraser to remove any of the pencil marks still visible. Use watercolors to add desired color to the designs. Look for the AP Certified non-toxic watercolors.
Once the egg is dry, give it one last buff with very fine sandpaper anywhere the wood grain was raised from the water colors. Then seal with beeswax polish. This is available commercially or can be made by mixing one part melted beeswax with three parts of an oil such as jojoba. It is wonderful for all your wood toys.
Now that your Story Egg is created you can hide it among other Easter eggs to prompt some fun stories this spring, and see what traditions begin for your family.
Here are some additional story resources. These wonderful books explore egg decoration in imaginative ways!
The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhouse
Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco
Masha and the Firebird by Margaret Bateson-Hill
Chris Willow is a mother, crafter, storyteller and toymaker. She enjoys creating roots with mothers and children in her community. Her inspiration has always grown from her world she shares with her husband and two sons in the beautiful Midwest. She has a store on Etsy and blogs at mamaroots where she has several free projects designed for Story Tables.