My wife and I aren’t particularly religious people. We celebrate the spirit of holidays in our own way, mainly enjoying time with family or getting away for a long weekend. To us Easter marks the coming of spring, warmer weather, and signals that it is time to plan our annual trip to the Appalachian Trail. That said, I want to acknowledge the Christian side of the holiday. In order to get a true sense of the meaning of Easter I asked my favourite sister if she would contribute a guest post. I hope you enjoy!
4 Family Fun Activities for Easter
- Resurrection rolls– He is risen indeed. Use this sweet treat to share the story of Jesus’ resurrection and create a family tradition.
Years ago, I was visiting a friend during one of our sons’ playdates, and she showed me something that I’ve done with my kids on every Easter since: resurrection rolls. We use crescent rolls (linens) wrapped around “spice” covered marshmallows (Jesus) and pop them in the oven (the tomb). When you take them out and open up the roll, surprise! It’s empty. Just like Jesus’ linens in the tomb on Easter morning!
Ingredients Needed To Make Resurrection Rolls:
- Canned Crescent Rolls
- 3 Tbs of Butter
- Small bowl of Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture (3 Tbs sugar + 1 Tbs cinnamon)
- 8 Large Marshmallows (or the number of crescent rolls you have)
- Parchment Paper or aluminum foil
- Share love with others– Easter is a wonderful time to share love with others. Afterall, that was Jesus’ message to the world. So, why not involve your kids in doing something kind for others in the community. One year, after Easter church service, my husband bought four dozen white roses and drove over to a local nursing home with the boys. They passed out the roses all of the residents in the dining hall of the home.
It only took about 5 minutes, but the smiles and appreciation that the boys received were so touching. It’s a wonderful learning experience. (says the teacher) They loved this so much that the next year they wanted to do it again, but this time they made little notes with bible verses and tied them on to the roses with ribbon. So many people are lonely and miss their families during the holidays. There’s nothing like children to bring light in to the world on Easter day.
- Easter Egg hunts- How to make them fun for everyone. So, every kid loves hunting for stuff, especially when that stuff involves candy and treats hidden in little colorful China made plastic containers. While this may be true, I’ve found that Egg hunts, and others can lead to anxiety resulting in a mini Hunger Games. Not exactly what we’re looking for on the day we celebrate the Prince of Peace, now, is it?
So, here are some secrets to make this more enjoyable for the entire family. If you have kids in differing age groups, it’s likely that your older child will find the easy-to-find eggs. This can create a frantic sense of anxiety for a younger child who feels as though they are falling behind in some kind of egg hoarding competition and then can’t find any eggs.
- Color code the eggs -Place a note in a conspicuous place with a color-coded key for who is to find each type of colored plastic egg. That way the Easter Bunny can hide your three-year-old’s eggs in a low line of sight and challenge your 10 year old by hiding eggs in the chandelier or in the refrigerator crack.
- Compete against the adults– this way the kids are working together as a TEAM. Ahhh . . . psychology. You could give yourself a handicap if you need, but otherwise, just pretend that your eyes aren’t as good as theirs. Share the spoils. Dads get 1/3 of all Reeces Eggs and ½ of all dark chocolate goes to mom. (Just the rules.)
- Sibling hides the eggs- Let the kids hide the eggs for each other. Then have them take turns searching . . . ALL day.
- Easter Basket Hunt: The first time I suggested we hide our kids Easter Baskets (or that the Easter Bunny should) my husband was appalled!
Me: “Of course they were hidden! We always had to look for our baskets. In the oven, behind the curtain of the shower, the back of the hall closet. . .”
Husband: “You mean your parents were that mean!?? They actually made you LOOK for your Easter Basket on Easter morning?”
Me: “Mean? No. That was the FUN.”
Husband: “The fun is getting the CANDY.”
Me: *eyebrow raising look* (you know the one I mean)
It’s amazing how a discussion as simple as this can reveal so much about our desires and psyche. Really!
So without further discussion “we” decided that our kids Easter Baskets would be hidden. Some hiding ideas: the washing machine, floating in the pool on a raft, in a large cooking pot, taped to the ceiling, and most unsuspected of all, was right on my son’s floor amid his dirty laundry. (You never think to look in an obvious place)
(adaptation) Easter Basket Treasure Hunt: After a few years, I decided to get even more “mean” and creative. I created variation of the traditional hunt, and started an Easter Basket treasure hunt. The boys loved it!
So, here’s how you do it. You give them a note on the kitchen table, or somewhere where they’ll easily see it on Easter morning. That note will contain a clue that will lead them to the next note that leads to another hidden clue leading to another hidden clue, leading to… (you guessed it) another. Kids love solving riddles. For smaller kids you could use little footprints.
- A riddle can be as simple as: “Hickory Dickory Dock, a mouse climbed up the . . . .” (The answer is “clock” if you were wondering.) The next note could be sticking out form behind the clock.
- Other clues could be personalized to something only your child would know. For example: “This is where you lost your tooth last month.” (The bunk bed desk in their sister’s room.)
- You could also use verses from the bible as clues, but I’m not quite that gifted yet.
I suggest no more than one riddle per year of age. For example, if your child is 6, give them 6 clues, if they’re 9, give them nine. And don’t be afraid to join in the fun and make a hunt for hubby or wifey too. (Who knows, maybe you can have your own Easter treasure hunt later.)
What to put in an Easter basket? (or Bigger is Better)
First off, (and I’m going to be super judgy here) don’t you dare go to the store and get one of those pre-packaged Easter baskets and call it a day! First off, they’re too expensive, and secondly, the junk in there is cheap and impersonal. Unless you’re desperate. Ok, then, it’s better than an ash tray with a handful of Altoid mints.
Thinking of keeping it “healthy”? Now, that’s just mean. My husband is right, afterall. What kids (and middle-aged adult males) really want for Easter (unless they’re diabetic) is candy, candy, and more candy. And maybe some little toys. . . but after the candy. Wait. Before you wag your essential oils and kale lovin’ finger, just hear my husband out. Kids will be kids. This is one time a year. It’s celebrating the most awesome guy to ever walk on the earth!
But, alas, I understand your pain. We don’t need candy around the house for weeks. That’s a teacher’s post-Halloween, post-Easter nightmare; kids hopped up on cheap dye and high fructose corn syrup. I’m shuddering just thinking about it. So, I’m on your side. *wink* Just keep reading and trust me.
You see, after teaching middle school for 16 years during the week, and preschool on the weekends at church, and having my own children, I’ve learned something. This is how kids think: Bigger is Better. Don’t believe me? Bring a box of multi-sized cupcakes to a second-grade classroom and ask any kid which one they want. No surprise, they all want the biggest one. (This is one way to start a war, by the way.) The same principle applies to liking an Easter Basket.
It’s all psychology, my friend. That means that all you need to do is MAKE the candy and goodies in the basket look big, and fill in the bottom with Easter grass (or shredded newspaper- don’t kill me nature lovers 😊) and other stuff that they sort of need anyway, like underwear, a box of crackers, an orange, socks, hair ties, a new bible, and an educational activity book. Next layer up, you could add a squishy (yes, it’s a thing right now), a mini lego set, a big bouncy ball, a glowy-flashy thingy, a stuffed animal, etc. . . . and they’ll keep busy and happy. And lastly, on top, put the candy peeps, jelly beans, and whatever other kind of candy you want (to steal later) on top. Oh, and don’t bother with a solid chocolate bunny when the hollow one looks bigger and the kids really don’t need that much chocolate anyway! It’s basically an immediate gratification pyramid scheme.
Have fun, and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all this Easter. And as my brother always says – good luck out there.
Tatiana is lives with her husband of 15 years and her two adolescent boys and is the amazing sister of a mysterious and notorious Dad Blogger of Canada. She works as an English as a Second Language teacher in Sunny South Florida and in her spare time dabbles in adolescent dystopian fiction. During the summer she serves as an international missionary.