As both a teacher and a mother, I know family traditions are so valuable for giving children a sense of identity, belonging, and stability.
The Importance of Family Traditions
Family traditions are especially meaningful during the holidays, and Easter is no exception. Many of us share the same rituals this time of year, such as coloring hard-boiled eggs, hunting for candy, and eating brunch with our relatives. However, there's no reason to limit ourselves to just these few.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons to expand our repertoire of family traditions. We now have a plethora of research that shows they're far more important than we once thought when it comes to rearing happy, well-adjusted children. Studies show that kids who grow up in homes with robust rituals tend to be more emotionally stable and resilient. Family traditions have been proven beneficial in the following ways.
Research-Based Benefits of Family Traditions
- They strengthen a youngster's sense of identity and feelings of belonging when the family celebrates its customs.
- They make holiday gatherings more meaningful as religious and non-religious rituals get accentuated over crass commercialism.
- They give children a sense of security as they experience the same rituals year after year.
- They provide clarity to youngsters about what the family believes is precious, whether it's gathering to pray, playing a game of touch football, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
- They create powerful memories that keep the family's story moving forward into the future.
9 Easter Activities That Will Create Family Traditions
- Read Peter Rabbit and make a garden salad
- Create bunny bags
- Have an egg roll
- Learn the "Bunny Hop"
- Put on a puppet show
- Make a carrot cake
- Paint your faces
- Build carrot sculptures
- Make carrot-raisin salad
1. Read Peter Rabbit and Make a Garden Salad
The classic story of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is one that every child should know. It's the suspenseful saga of a bunny who ignores his mother's warning, visits Mr. McGregor's garden, and barely comes out of it alive. Some parents have made it their family tradition to read this book every spring, either on Easter itself or in the days leading up to it.
Other moms and dads have taken the tradition one step further by making this simple garden salad. After reading the book, they take their youngsters to the supermarket or Farmer's Market and let them feast on the wide variety of fruits and vegetables there. Then, they help them select what's needed for this kid-pleasing recipe.
- 1 bag of lettuce
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of grapes, cut in half
- dressing of your choice
- 1/2 cup of goldfish crackers
- Put some lettuce in a salad bowl.
- Sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese and toss with dressing.
- Top with grapes and goldfish crackers.
2. Create Bunny Bags
Making bunny bags each year is a wonderful alternative to using store-bought Easter baskets. Plus, it’s easy and economical because everything that you need is already at your home. Sit around the kitchen table, make them together, and watch as each one becomes truly unique.
Put the kids’ bunny bags in their scrapbooks as a keepsake, showing how their creative abilities have developed through the years. Bunny bags also make fantastic gifts for family, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Put some fake Easter grass and candy inside them and watch the smile on the recipient’s face.
- Brown lunch bags
- Glue sticks
- Construction paper
- Cut the bag halfway down the middle and round the tops to make ears.
- Have your child glue on eyes, a nose, and teeth, cut from construction paper.
- Let them color and decorate their bunny how they wish. Encourage them to add a mouth, whiskers, and clothes. If they love to use their imaginations, give them additional materials so they can get even more creative: ribbon, yarn, felt, fabric, glitter, and stickers.
3. Have an Egg Roll
Many of us hear about the egg roll on the White House lawn each year but don't know what it entails. It turns out, though, that it's just a simple race we can do in our backyards. It's a ritual that can get everyone involved—young and old—and is sure to bring laughs, create good-spirited competition, and make indelible memories.
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What You Need
- Hard-boiled eggs
What to Do
- Establish a starting point and a finish line.
- Give each competitor an egg and have them push it with a spoon through the grass.
- The first one to cross the finish line is the winner.
Other Ways for Competitors to Race With Their Eggs
- Have them get on their hands and knees and push their eggs with their noses.
- Have them push their eggs with their feet. If their egg cracks, they're out!
- Have them put their eggs on spoons and run with them. If it drops, they're out!
- Have them put their eggs under their chins and walk quickly to the finish line.
- Have them come up with their own ideas, including relays!
4. Learn the "Bunny Hop"
The Bunny Hop is a simple dance for the whole group to learn—the more, the merrier. It's easy to learn, and kids love doing it. It's destined to be a family tradition if they have any say! The video below supplies the music needed for the "Bunny Hop" as well as a demonstration of the steps.
5. Put On a Puppet Show
Making bunny puppets is a tradition that kids adore and look forward to each year. It can keep them busy for hours, especially when they have a myriad of supplies to explore. On Easter day, they can put on a puppet show for all the guests.
- Brown paper bags
- Construction paper
- Glue sticks
- Optional: Buttons, yarn, felt, pipe cleaners, fabric, scrap-booking paper, glitter, sequins
- Help younger children cut out ears, a tongue, a bow-tie, a hair bow, buttons, etc.
- Let them add eyes, whiskers, and clothes with crayons.
- Please encourage them to create other puppets (a dog, a cat, a monster) for their puppet show.
6. Make a Carrot Cake
Making a carrot cake together is another Easter tradition that kids treasure and will pass on to the next generation. This simple and delicious recipe is ideal to make with children. They'll beam with pride when it gets served for dessert on Easter day. This recipe makes 12–15 servings.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup salad oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons each baking powder and ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
- 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well-drained
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 can cream cheese frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13-inch pan. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the vanilla.
- Stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add the carrots, pineapple, and nuts.
- Stir to blend. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.
7. Paint Your Faces
Painting kids' faces unleashes their imaginations and lets them become different characters and creatures. This is especially valuable today in our technology-saturated world, where creativity gets stifled and pretend play is minimized. Easter is the perfect time to paint pink noses and black whiskers on children so they can hop around the house and yard like bunnies. Parents and kids can also get creative by painting each other’s faces with eggs, flowers, and chicks.
Many store-bought face-painting kits give poor results and even make children's faces break out and get itchy. Therefore, the simple recipe below is recommended. It’s good for the skin and contains ingredients many of us already have at home.
- corn starch
- cold cream
- food coloring
- In each cup of a muffin tin, mix 1 teaspoon corn starch, 1/2 teaspoon water, 1/2 teaspoon cold cream, and a couple of drops of food coloring—a different for each cup. Stir.
- It's that simple, and now you're ready to get creative and paint a face!
8. Build Carrot Sculptures
Some parents today, with dreams of their kids attending MIT and working in Silicon Valley, send their kids to classes and camps so they can learn about STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. However, if they just thought outside the box, they could come up with creative and clever ways to promote STEM without shelling out big bucks. Making carrot sculptures combines artistry with engineering and helps kids learn about balance, symmetry, and construction.
- Cut up plenty of carrot circles with a sharp knife.
- Then let your kids make whatever they want by poking toothpicks into the carrots.
- Challenge them to make something concrete—a robot, a bridge, a skyscraper—or something abstract that speaks to their aesthetic.
- Let them munch on the healthy carrots as they build and create.
9. Make Carrot-Raisin Salad
When it comes to salads, carrot raisin is a favorite among kids. They love eating it as well as making it, especially using a grater to shred the carrots. Making carrot-raisin salad is an easy family tradition that can continue from year to year and will always be a treat on your dinner table at Easter.
- 2 carrots
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Use a grater to shred the carrots.
- Mix the shredded-up carrots with the raisins and mayonnaise.
- Serve and eat!
© 2017 McKenna Meyers