Since my son is only 2, last year all we did for Easter was have brunch. There was an Easter bunny, but he was probably the scariest one I’ve ever seen. That made this our first year with actual kid-participation. Yes, I know, Easter is next Sunday. My parents were in town last weekend, though, and we figured it was okay to fudge a week so they could join in the fun.
We had a fantastic time and learned a few lessons for next year. Lucky for you I am sharing them now so maybe you can head them off for this weekend. As you can see from the pictures… we started with the job of dying the eggs. My son is a great kitchen ‘helper’ and often I let him help me crack the eggs we are cooking with. What he couldn’t possibly know was that the plan for these eggs was different. The entire 30-minute ordeal he had us laughing so hard because there were so many things that caught us by surprise. Start with the actual dye cups, which he was very upset we wouldn’t let him play with.
Next, I awkwardly dumped the eggs into the strainer which cracked about half the shells. Mr. C was very good about using the egg holder to put the eggs in the dye; NOT so good about taking them out (hand work better). The funniest of all was as my mom handed him each dry, colored egg to put in the bowl for the fridge, he felt compelled to tap them on the edge of the counter to crack them. It was hysterical trying to stop him cracking them before handing them to me as he kept grabbing for more. I am so glad we only did a dozen!
Lesson #1 – explain the process before you start and remind them before each step. Once you get going if they start cracking it’s hard to recover!
My parents stayed up for hours setting up the perfect Easter baskets (one for the adults and one for Mr. C). The were super cute and had lots of candy but also lots of little toys. They stuffed each of the plastic eggs with candy and in the morning got up super early to hide both them and the real eggs all over my yard. What dedication!
The response when Mr. C saw the Easter basket was more than enough reward. We did encounter another ‘I should have seen that coming’ moment when he scattered all the shredded multicolored paper we bought for ‘grass’ on the floor. At his daycare they sometimes let the kids play with a pile of shredded paper and I have even let him do this at home on occasion. Why would this be any different, Mom?
Lesson #2 – don’t use filler you don’t want to clean up. Tissue paper looks just as nice and you won’t be finding it months later under your appliances.
Candy, candy, candy. Of course the chocolate bunny had to be opened because every little kid has to try one, right? Although it made for some good pictures, wrestling the remainder of the bunny away from him after he’d eaten just the ears (waaay to much chocolate for a 2-year-old) might not have been worth it. Then there were the jelly beans, and the little chocolate eggs, and all the candy in the plastic eggs, and… you get the jist. We far overdid the candy and letting him see it and then having to take it away was pure dumb. Won’t do that again!
Next year with a 3-year-old; three candy items in the basket with maybe a few jelly beans, three small candies max per plastic egg. Even better I’ll fill most of the eggs with non-candy. For older kids you can get very clever with this and use the eggs like fortune cookies. Put clues inside that lead them to a final prize or little notes about how they make you (or the Easter bunny) proud. One year my mom put clues and letters we had to unscramble that spelled “water closet”. When we finally figured out that was the toilet we each found a $20 bill in a plastic bag hanging inside the tanks of ours!
Lesson #3 – use the child’s age as a gauge for candy count: number of large pieces in the basket and small pieces in each plastic egg. Whenever possible put non-candy in the plastic eggs.
I only have one child, but if you have more this could present a major challenge. A suggestion is to have different colored plastic eggs assigned to each kiddo, and keep the dyed eggs separate too. When you hide them this enables you to use easier hiding places for the younger kids eggs without the older children just snatching them all up. Set the rule from the start they can only ‘find’ their eggs.
I’d follow a similar age-guide for how many eggs to hide. We hid 11 real eggs (he insisted on eating one real egg after dying) and about 10 plastic ones. He was done after about 6. Add one to their age then double it. Cap it at about 20 (when they are nine) since that’s about Easter basket capacity.
Lesson #4 – Add one to your child’s age then double to determine how many eggs to hide.
Last but not least, whoever hides the eggs; COUNT first! I know this seems obvious but in 30-something years of searching for eggs and my first hiding I still haven’t had an Easter we were sure we found them all (luckily they’re outside). This year the straggler was a plastic one we found Monday.
Lesson #5 – Count the eggs before hiding!
Hope you have a fantastic Easter and make as many great memories as we did!