Whether or not your holiday includes going to church, Easter is all about celebrating new life, ushering in spring, and the pleasure of spending time with family and friends. Though the explosion of cotton candy-colored plastic toys and sugar-coated marshmallows might lead many people to believe otherwise, focusing on the simple beauty of the changing season is far more gratifying for kids and adults alike.
1. Hunt for Signs of Spring
In the days leading up to Easter, search for signs of spring with your kids. I love the nature hunt that Joyce includes on her blog Childhood Beckons. You’ll find a sweet little downloadable journal page that kids can use to track what they observe. Just print that page, give each kid a clipboard and a pencil—and get out in the great outdoors. You can also consider giving your child an empty Easter basket for collecting natural treasures picked up along the way. I find that this is a great way to reinforce that this is a holiday about the beauty of nature, and not the allure of jellybeans. If your bounty is good, create an Easter centerpiece from your finds.
2. Dye Easter Eggs Naturally
I have nothing against buying a package of PAAS egg dye as a shortcut. But if you have the time, dyeing eggs using homemade coloring can be a really enlightening science project for kids. For the Mommas gives step-by-step directions for how to get your color just right. Boil beets to make red. Crush blueberries to make blue. Appropriate the leftover morning coffee for brown. Soak turmeric for yellow. Kids love to uncover the secret ingredients in your kitchen, and egg dyeing becomes more about the process than a quick sticker-and-glitter fix.
3. Grow Your Own Easter Grass
In just 48 hours, you can coax wheat berries into a beautiful bed of living green. Not only is it magical to watch the grass grow with your kids, you get to avoid finding strands of Mother Nature’s foe, faux plastic grass, under furniture for the next six weeks. Daring Young Mom gives a great how-to that involves nothing more than wheat berries, dirt, and a couple pie plates. The only challenge here will be timing germination so your pie plates are freed up for quiche by Sunday.
4. Assemble a Wholesome Easter Basket
My goal for my kids’ Easter baskets is to put as little candy in them as possible. The amazing thing is that—if the expectation for candy is set low—they really don’t feel let down by this at all. My boys are thrilled to find one small chocolate bunny and one or two plastic eggs filled with jellybeans. The rest of each basket is filled with books, a Melissa & Doug butterfly net, a big jar of bubbles with a bubble wand, and—this year—foam swords inspired by Puss In Boots, their new obsession. My husband and I like to hide their baskets outside if the weather cooperates, as yet another way to make Easter more about nature than candy.
5. Craft Some Egg Candles
Have your kids help prep for Easter brunch with family and friends by working with them to transform a few dyed eggs into creative votive candles for the holiday table. Paint Cut Paste shows how easy it is to make these unique glowing eggs using shells, some wax shavings, and inexpensive candlewicks from your local craft store.
6. Host a Simple Brunch
My M.O. for Easter brunch is this: keep the menu simple and throw open the doors if at all possible. There’s nothing more invigorating than a morning party where the lines are blurred between indoors and out. Bundle up if it’s chilly—and advise guests to do the same—and set out a simple menu of spiral-cut honey-glazed ham, roasted asparagus, roasted new potatoes, a spring salad, and maybe a homemade quiche. For dessert, I love the easy Easter Bunny Cake from Foodista. It requires no special cake pan, making use of simple rounds to form a cute rabbit in a jaunty bow tie. Have the kids show off their nature-hunt treasures to the grandparents, then turn them outdoors to hunt for eggs. Remember to give the little kids a head start!
Do you have any Easter brunch traditions? I’d love to hear about your favorite recipe or craft!