9 Easter Traditions to Share With Your Family
Whether you celebrate Jesus rising from the dead or the splendor of spring, Easter is a time of new hope and boundless energy. There are so many fun activities to do with your kids to shake off the winter blahs and get excited about warmer days, baby animals, and budding flowers. Here are 9 fun ways to savor the season with your family:
1. Read The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Make a Garden Salad.
Every child should know the classic tale of Peter Rabbit. It's the suspenseful saga of a bunny who ignores his mother's warning, visits Mr. McGregor's garden, and barely makes it out alive. I read it to my sons every Easter, and they'd hold their breath until Peter arrived home safely. As a parent, I appreciated the book's message: Listen to your mother. She knows best.
Reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit is the perfect springboard for making a salad with your kids. Visit your local supermarket and let them feast on the the wide-variety of produce. When my boys were small, they were wary of vegetables. So I started off simple and added familiar favorites. Get creative and do what works best for your kiddos.
1 bag of lettuce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grapes, cut in half
dressing of your choice
1/2 cup goldfish crackers
1. Put some lettuce in a salad bowl.
2. Sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese and toss with dressing.
3. Top with grapes and goldfish crackers.
2. Make Bunny Bags.
Instead of wasting money on Easter baskets, why not create Bunny Bags? They're so easy to make and you have the materials at home: brown lunch bags, crayons, scissors, glue, and construction paper. Simply cut the bag half way down the middle and round the tops to make ears. Have your child glue on 2 eyes, a nose, and teeth, cut from construction paper. Then let her color it the way she wishes -- adding a mouth, whiskers, and clothes. If she loves to decorate, give her additional materials: ribbon, yarn, felt, fabric, glitter, and stickers.
I'd have my sons make one for themselves and more to give as gifts. They'd put fake Easter grass inside and add candy. Their grandparents loved receiving one and placed it proudly in the center of their dining table, poised to brag when guests admired it.
3. Have an Egg Roll.
Every Easter the White House hosts an egg roll on its lawns and you can do the same in your own backyard. My family started this tradition decades ago, and it grows larger each year. My boys and their cousins look forward to these races even more than the egg hunt. It's good to get everyone outside and moving and not just sitting around, eating and drinking.
All you need are hard-boiled eggs and spoons. Establish a starting point and finish line. Give each child an egg and have her push it with a spoon through the grass. The first one to cross is the winner.
****Get creative and race with the egg in other ways:
Have the kids get on their hands and knees and push the eggs with their noses.
Have the kids push the eggs with their feet. If their egg cracks, they're out!
Have the kids put the eggs on spoons and run with them. If it drops, they're out!
Have the kids put their eggs under their chin and walk quickly to the finish line.
Have the kids come up with their own ideas, including relays!
4. Learn the Bunny Hop.
The Bunny Hop is a simple dance for the whole family to learn. Do it by yourself or as a group.
5. Make Bunny Puppets.
Kids love to make puppets and use them to put on shows. All you need are brown paper bags, construction paper, glue, scissors, and crayons. Help your child cut out ears, a tongue, a bow-tie, a hair bow, and buttons. Then let her add eyes, whiskers, and clothes with crayons. Urge her to make several and put on a puppet show for the entire family.
When my sons and their cousins were little, I'd set up a puppet-making table on Easter and let them use their imaginations. It kept them busy for hours while I prepared the dinner and socialized with guests. Making the puppets together facilitated lively conservation among the kids and, after we all ate, they'd put on a hilarious show with their creations.
6. Make Carrot Cake.
Who doesn't love carrot cake? This simple and delicious recipe is ideal to make with your child. My sons asked to make it every Easter and soon were making it by themselves with no help from Mom!
2 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
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 oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9X13-inch pan. Set aside.
In a medium-size 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 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. Make 12-15 servings.
7. Make Your Own Face Paint.
Kids love to get their faces painted. Easter is a terrific time to give them pink noses and black whiskers and let them hop around the house like bunnies. You can decorate their faces with colored eggs, flowers, and chicks. Many store-bought face-painting kits give poor results, making kids' faces break out and get itchy. This simple recipe is good for the skin and has ingredients that you have around the house.
When I hosted a weekly play group for preschoolers, the moms would paint their kids faces like bunnies at Easter time. Then the kids would pretend they were rabbits for the rest of the day -- munching on carrots, hopping through the garden, and chasing one another.
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.
Now you're ready to get creative and paint a face!
8. Make Carrot Sculptures.
Making carrot sculptures combines artistry with engineering. Cut up plenty of carrot circles with a sharp knife. Then let your kids make whatever they want by poking toothpicks in the carrots. Challenge them to make something concrete -- a robot, a bridge, a skyscraper -- or something abstract that speaks to their aesthetic. My sons loved doing this, and it was a fantastic way to get them to eat carrots. They'd munch as they built.
9. Make Carrot-Raisin Salad
When my sons were little, they loved making and eating carrot-raisin salad. Their favorite part was using the grater to shred the carrots. They thought it was very cool and grown-up. This easy-to-make salad is a tasty and healthy side-dish and always a hit with kids.
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!
Read This Book to Connect All Your Easter Activities
As both a mom and kindergarten teacher, I used The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter to connect all our Easter/spring activities. This timeless tale gets kids curious about rabbits – their diets, their families, their habitats. It introduces them to gardens and the vegetables that grow in them. It promotes discussions about obeying one's parents, breaking rules, and suffering the consequences. It's a must-have for your home library and a wonderful gift for grandkids.