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Earlier this week we made a set of recycled egg carton cup ducklings and shared a little trick to help make them float (!!!). They were such an incredible hit, we decided to use up the stack of egg cartons we had sitting on a shelf and visit the ocean – with a floating egg carton whale!
Our little baby Beluga (to be exact) is a cinch to make, so you can create a whole pod – even different species, depending on the colors you use and the shapes of your egg carton cups.
This sweet little egg carton whale ended up being a fantastic STEAM-learning opportunity and a fun way for kids to participate in creating a bit of science in action!
To make your own floating egg carton whale you’ll need:
- An egg carton cup + small square of egg carton
- White, gray or blue paint and a paint brush
- A baby food jar lid
- A small piece of blue construction paper or cardstock
- Craft glue or a hot glue gun
- An X-Acto knife or small pair of craft scissors
- A permanent marker, black paper or googley eyes
- A baking dish filled with water (this makes a quick and easy “ocean!)
- A blue sheet of paper (slip this under your baking dish to instantly create a blue-tinted ocean without having to add food coloring to your water)
- Shells, sand or other beachy nature items to add to your ocean tray
Click below to watch our whale bob around a mini sensory ocean tray!
DIY Floating Egg Carton Whale Instructions:
- Cut an egg cup from the carton and paint
Cut an egg cup from an egg carton and paint white, gray, or blue (depending on the type of whale you’re making).
- Cut out a whale tail and paint
Cut a simple whale tail shape out of your egg carton and paint the same color as your egg carton cup – we used a portion of the egg carton box that had already been formed into a bend).
- Glue tail to the back of your egg carton cup
Once your whale pieces have dried, use a hot glue gun or craft glue to glue the tail to the back of your whale.
- Add a water spout on top
For the water spout…
Cut a small rectangle of blue paper.
Cut thin lines into the paper, about 1/8″ from each other, and about 1/8″ from the bottom edge.
Use a hot glue gun or craft glue to affix to the middle of the whale as shown.
- Draw on eyes and a mouth
Draw eyes and a mouth on with a permanent marker.
- Push finished whale into a baby jar lid
Gently pop your egg carton whale into a baby food jar lid – now it will float
Ways to play and learn with your floating egg carton whale
Here are a few ideas for using your egg carton whale for play, learning, or to initiate important discussions about climate and conservancy…
- CREATE AN OCEAN SENSORY TRAY OR BIN. As we did with our egg carton cup ducklings, we popped our little beluga into a glass pan filled with clear water (tuck a sheet of blue paper underneath to tint the water ocean-blue without food coloring!). You can toss a little salt in your water, turn on a fan, and play some soothing wave sounds in the background to create the full ocean experience – saltwater breeze and all! Add a moon sand beach, scrap supply sailboat, shells, small succulents, or other natural details for more sensory play.
- BECOME A WHALE EXPERT. The World Wildlife Fund has handy online whale fact cards, photos, and videos for every member of the whale species (oh heeeeyyy Narwhal…!). And Whale and Dolphin Conservation has fantastic free printable activity sheets and workbooks to help your littles learn about everything from whale features and behaviors, to biomimicry and whaleboats. The Maui Ocean Center’s ocean education classroom is another favorite online resource of mine.
- GO (VIRTUAL) WHALE-WATCHING. Explore.org has a variety of live cams and past footage of Orcas, Belugas, and more. You can catch the Beluga cam up in Manitoba, Canada every July! The Pacific Whale Foundation also offers scheduled virtual whale-watching tours for Pre-K – 12th grade classrooms (I went on one of their whale-watching tours in Maui and saw not 1, not 2, but 3 humpback whales – AH-MAZING experience).
- DISCUSS OCEAN CONSERVATION. Looking for ways to use this beyond a sensory bin or cool floating lesson? This is a wonderful opportunity to initiate a conversation about whale conservation, how we keep our oceans clean, the dangers of plastics to ocean life, or general habitat health. NOAA has a “Just For Kids” page filled with activities you can use to discuss issues like oil spills, marine sanctuaries, climate science, and more.
- LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT OCEAN HABITATS. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has created a wonderful online resource with lots of good information to help your kids explore all the unique types of ocean homes. How could you recreate or represent these habitats in your own mini ocean setup?
- PAIR WITH MUSIC. To get you in the proper whale-crafting headspace, gather your materials and turn up this Raffi playlist for solid Beluga jams. (You can find a kids’ activity or craft to go along with ALL of your favorite Raffi songs with our Raffi song + project collection here)!
For another great egg carton activity, grab some playdough and try these simple turtle-themed invitations to play. Feeling especially crafty? Try making your own easy (I promise!) DIY scrap wood beachside dollhouse.