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Easter

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Holidays and Special Events > Easter


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Filling Plastic Easter Eggs

April 2006

Does anyone have any great ideas for filling up plastic Easter Eggs? Other than candy that is. I have thought of stickers and coins, but am blanking on other ideas. I figured someone must have some good ideas. Thanks for sharing! Hilary


Since my kids don't get much sugar, it's a treat when we fill their Easter eggs with Froot Loops or some sugary cereal that they normally don't get. It doesn't have as much sugar as candy, but it's special and colorful.
Bunny
We have filled eggs with socks, underwear, hair scrunchies, lip gloss and erasers. After Easter, try to get the decorated cardboard eggs on sale - they come in different sizes and some can even fit a small t-shirt.
anon
I'm putting HotWheels cars in some for my son. Depends on your kid's age and interests, but I'm sure there are little toy animals, doll things, etc. that would fit. Or how about a ''gift certificate'' for a day at the zoo, etc.?
easter bunny
Rainbow colored ''goldfish'' crackers. Kashi Might bites cereal. What age are you aiming at? something don't work for toddlers... marbles. erasers. party store small favors. fancy thumbtacks. magnets. seeds for planting. nuts.
brainstorming
My kids are older, so I am putting a few Easter jokes in their plastic eggs, as well as a few dollars, and an origami figure.
another mom
Baby carrots fit well in plastic easter eggs (my mother's idea). My three year old thought that was totally logical, since they were hidden by a rabbit.
Tim
Little plastic animals would be fun. You can buy sets of them at most toy stores.
Old MacDonald
little raisin boxes
JM
For the past 2 years we've filled the plastic eggs w/ stickers, Cheddar Bunnies & Honey Grahams (also bunny shaped.) This year we added the chocolate flavor Honey Grahams (also bunnies). We bought all of these at E.C. Natural Grocery. My kids (1.5 & 3.5 years) seemed very happy and satisfied w/ their selection of goodies. A few other ideas I had are tattoos and some fun-shaped sweet cereal that's different from what they usually get to eat. Yummy!

How to dye eggs with natural dye

April 2003

With Easter just around the corner, I am thinking about eggs. Does anyone out there have information about how to dye eggs with natural dyes? I have heard of an 'onion' option - but have no idea what it means. If you can share ways to dye eggs naturally or can direct me to a good source of information I would be grateful. Thanks! Siana


Try the Martha Stewart Living web page. For the last couple of Easters they have had the recipes for all the various natural dye colors posted. Hilary
You can use just about anything that ''bleeds'' to dye eggs. Trying different foodstuffs is fun for kids. White eggs will work best, and brown eggs will give a different effect. As far as how to do it: onions skins-boil the eggs in water with a lot of the outside brown onion skins until the desired color (light warm yellow/ brown). Saffron-also boil the eggs in water with the saffron (or try turmeric). Coffee-make a very strong cup of coffe and leave the egg in it for a while, a longer time for a darker brown. Tea works also. Indigo can be bought at a yarn store-that will make your eggs blue (you could also try using blackberries or blueberries for purple or blue colors). I tried leaving eggs in water that beets were boiled in and got a cool magenta. You might try chlorophyl for green eggs. Or even grass clippings!

I found some dye at Ratto's in downtown Oakland to make the Greek red easter eggs (use brown eggs for that, they come out really RED and not magenta).

I also like to use regular food coloring. A few drops in a cup with warm water and vinegar (to hold the color). Leave the egg in until the desired color.

When they are dry rub them with a soft cloth and they will get a little shiny.

Good luck and have fun!! Martha Stewart II


Try these websites. I did the Martha Stewart recipes and they're BEAUTIFUL!
http://www.usacitylink.com/easter/dye.html
http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jhtml?type=content&id=channel1545
Barbara
Hi - I can tell you how I do the 'onion' easter eggs. It's a more complicated procedure than regular dying, but I just did these last week with three little girls (5, 6, & 7) and they all had fun.

Done correctly (and with luck), this makes a lovely mottled egg in shades of yellow, brown and rust. I like to keep them, so I start with blown-out eggs.

What you need:
*  eggs
*  onion skins (red onions make the deepest color; I use a 
combination)
*  butter (or margarine)
*  tiny leaves and flowers
*  water / vinegar
*  Panty hose or handkerchiefs
*  rocks (if the eggs are hollow)

Steps:
1.  Go on a leaf / flower hunting expedition.  The smaller the 
better.  What you will get, if everything works and the planets 
are in alignment, is the clear outline of the leaf/flower on the 
egg, so notched/lacy edges are best.  Get lots.
2.  bring a kettle of water with vinegar in it to a simmer.  
Maybe a cup of white vinegar to 1/2 gallon water?
3.  Soften the onion skins in a little water (don't let them 
soak or the color leaches)
4.  Coat your egg with butter
5.  place the tiny leaves/flowers on the buttered egg in 
whatever quantity/pattern you desire (spaces between the leaves 
will have the mottled onion-skin pattern).  Use more butter, if 
need be, to make sure they stick.
6.  Layer onion skins around the decorated egg.  Make sure all 
of the egg is covered.  Two layers is fine.
7.  Wrap the egg carefully in a handkerchief or nestle in the 
toe of cut-off pantyhose.  The fabric should be tight around the 
egg.
8.  Find a way to weigh the egg down if it is blown out so it 
will stay under water
9.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, unwrap and admire.
I recommend doing only a couple at first; you may have to adjust the vinegar/water ratio or cook them longer. Have fun! Jodie
Two sources for egg dying:

http://www.napastyle.com/features/feature35.jsp

Also Crissy Field Center is doing a few Ukranian egg dying days using beets and vegetables to dye eggs. You might call them. Ann


Our family has made it an Easter tradition to dye Easter eggs with onions skins. I've seen it described in books, and there are several variations of how to do it. We have tried them all and found this one to be the best:

First you go to a farmers market or someplace where they sell cheap brown onions like Monterey Market or Berkeley Bowl. No need to buy onions, just fill up a produce bag completely full with loose onion skins, enough to fill up a large pot about half way. The reason I recommend cheap onions is because the fancier super markets remove all the loose skins ahead of time before they put them out. Throw the onion skins into the pot and fill up with water about 3/4 full and heat to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour. You want the water to achieve a dark rich reddish brown color. The longer it cooks the better the color. Meanwhile collect a variety of plants from your garden, or collect them ahead of time from some one elses garden. It is best to choose plants that are not poisonous. Especially if you plan to eat them! Some good choices that make wonderful patterns are:

japanese maple
california poppy (the leaves)
ferns
feverfew
daisy shaped flowers
rose leaves 
peach leaves  (good color)
bearded iris flower petals (good for coverage)
nandina (good color and shape)
These are some of the plants we typically use. You can also experiment and try other things too.

Then you put all the plants into bowls of water to keep them moist and fresh. Take your raw egg and start to cover it with the plants.To keep the plants on the egg you have to wrap the egg with thread. Keep wrapping as you go. Add a leaf or two, then wrap it a bit, then add more leaves or a flower, then more string. What you are doing is binding up the egg with plants and string. You can leave as much of the egg exposed as you want or cover it completely up. You want to make sure that you wrap the string firmly so that it doesn't fall apart. It takes a bit of practice, but you will get the hang of it. Then you tie it off at the end by tucking the end of the string under the other strings.

Then you carefully place the eggs into the gently simmering onion skin dye bath. Cook them the length of time it takes to hard boil an egg, about 15 minutes. It could even be a bit longer so that the color looks good on the eggs. Take them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a strainer or on a towel and let them cool enough to be handled. (Don't let them sit around all day and dry out.) When they are cool enough to the tough, carefully unwrap the eggs. Use a bit of cold running water to help you gently remove some of the plant material that sticks. Don't rub too hard cause you can remove some of the color. We are usually so excited and can't wait to unwrap them that we often unwrap them while they are still hot. Don't try this for your first one!

The end results are amazing and beautiful!

If you have any questions or want to know more about any helpful hints or other possible egg decorating techniques, feel free to give me a call or email me. I will be leaving town starting the 17th, so its best to contact me before that. Good luck and have fun! Laurey


Try http://www.organicgardening.com/library/naturaldyes.html It looked pretty cool- there was one that recommended using geranium petals which are poisonous so I wouldn't do that one. Have Fun CB

Easter with toddler - I have no idea what to do!

March 2003

I'm just starting to get into making holidays fun and memorable for my daughter and realizing that I have no idea what to do! for example, what does one do with an easter basket? is it like christmas and she gets it when she wakes up? I grew up in an very religious home and we never did the whole easter bunny thing so really, I don't know what to do. are there easter egg hunts appropriate for two year olds? the archive mentions an eggster hunt, would that be fun? thank you!


I will first tell you what I think is the most typical way of ''doing the eggs and bunny thing.'' You hard boil (or blow out) the eggs and dye/decorate them sometime between Thursday and Saturday. Saturday night, after she's in bed, you hide the eggs (some people hide those hollow plastic ones, filled with candy or small toys, rather than the real ones) around the house and/or yard. The basket may be left in some obvious place or hidden, like the eggs. Sunday morning, the kids hunt for the eggs (ostensibly hidden by the Easter Bunny) and paw through their baskets (ostensibly left for them by the Easter Bunny). With siblings or neighbors, you can make the egg hunt a race or contest, and/or you can do ''egg rolling'', which is basically a game to see who can keep their egg from cracking the longest.

Now, that said, I suggest you give some thought to what, exactly, you want your daughter to learn to celebrate. If you are not interested in raising your daughter with quite the same religious practices you grew up with, that's fine, but are you raising her as Christian? If so, how do you plan to explain the connection with colored eggs to her? If not, how are you going to tell her about springtime fertility rituals in a child- appropriate way? (A quick Google search on ''Easter symbols'' and similar phrases may be illuminating.) None of this may be terribly relevant for a few more years, but I do encourage you to try to attach *some* kind of deeper meaning to the ''fun and memorable'' holiday activities -- for your daughter's benefit and your own.
Trying to decide whether her 2yo is old enough to hunt for eggs!


We have done a little backyard Easter Egg hunt (in our little tiny backyard) for our kids since the first was one year old. We give them an empty basket and hide some candy and little bunny toys, but also try to buy things they need anyway like spring socks/ barrettes. We all go out in our PJs to hunt- which makes for cute photos too. When they were ''Dora the Explorer'' fans 2 years ago, I made a very simple map that even the 2 year old could follow with help (if you've seen the show you'll know what I mean). We're not regular churchgoers and don't have family in the area for Easter dinner, so it's nice to have a tradition to celebrate spring (and introduce the ''concepts'' of Easter as a religious event) and its inexpensive and they're more excited about the hunt itself than the stuff. It can be done in even the smallest apartment. The other thing I loved as a kid was going to see baby bunnies and chicks at the local ''petting farms''. Kate
Here are our Easter customs: Saturday night we hard boil eggs and dye them. Very easy to do even for two year old. Sunday morning the children get their baskets and go hunting. I grew up in a family of four. In our family the easter bunny left four little eggs in each ''nest'' and children were trained from early on to take only one, so it's not competitive--everyone gets their share. But the best part of Easter is after Easter dinner-- or picnic--we have egg fights. Each person holds their decorated egg and stabs at another person's egg. You have two ends per egg and the winner is the one with the last unbroken end. It's a lot of fun and everyone loves it. Janet
Easter is a fun time to celebrate Spring and/or religion. You can do it any way you want to with your family. I enjoy sewing dresses for my girls, making Easter bread, and holding an egg hunt in our little backyard after church. Here are some tips:
1- Check out FamilyFun at familyfun.go.com for Easter ideas.
2- Decorate eggs and hide them, but don't leave the eggs outside if racoons prowl at night in your neighborhood. Racoons love eggs.
3- Foil-wrapped chocolate eggs melt very quickly outside and squish when little ones grab them. I played the Easter Bunny many years ago at a mass egg hunt and my costume became quite decorated with melted chocolate from adoring hands. So put the chocolate in the shade or keep them inside.
4- Or just put a few little items in a basket and leave it out as a surprise for your little one in the morning. Have a great time! Jeanne
A perfect Easter/Spring activity for toddlers and bigger kids is the annual Spring Fair, held by Albany Preschool with the city of Albany. On Saturday, April 19 at Memorial Park in Albany, the ''Easter'' Bunny will arrive at 10 am on a firetruck and signal the start of an age-segregated egg hunt. There are a wide variety of very fun games and crafts for kids to do, plus coffee and pastries for parents. The egg hunt is free, and tickets for games are 50 cents. It all benefits Albany Preschool's scholarship fund and it is a very sweet kid event. Our toddler had a great time last year and we all are looking forward to this year's Spring Fair. Katia
As with Christmas gifts, kids typically get their Easter baskets first thing Easter morning. Some families have a tradition of the Easter Bunny hiding the basket (usually somewhere in the living room)-- the child then gets to hunt for their treats. Last year when my son was 21 months old, we hid the basket behind the couch, and to help him ''discover'' it, we created a path consisting of all his stuffed rabbits and other Easter-y animals for him to follow. It worked, and he seemed to have fun.

There are several egg hunts in the East Bay, most of them the day before Easter (Saturday the 19th this year). The one I'm most familiar with is at Memorial Park in Albany, on Portland behind the high school. The hunt is divided by age into several separate areas--there's an ''under three'' spot where the little ones can search for candy without fear of being trampled by grade schoolers. It starts promptly at 10 (don't be late) with the arrival of the Easter Bunny by fire engine. The Albany Preschool Co-op runs a fair, with food, games, and puppet shows at the park, too. I know there is a hunt the same morning at the Arlington Park in El Cerrito, but I don't have the details on that one.

Have a Happy Easter! Lynn K


I love Easter. This is one of my favorite holidays. My parents were not religous so I didn't grow up with the Christian meaning of the day or any other mainstream spiritual practice. However, I grew up with artists for parents who had a special connection and reverence for nature. My mother particularily loved gardening. So Easter for me was all about making things and celebrating the changes of the seasons through nature. When I think back to my childhood and think about Easter, I think about the magical morning in the garden when all the floweres are blooming, insects are all around, and the air is filled with singing birds. I think about the excitement and wonder that filled me as I walked through an enchanted garden looking for brightly colored eggs and tiney baskets or nests. It was truley a magical time and I feel that it really brought me close to what Spring means from a simple childhood perspective. The newness of tiney green grasses all budding up in the moist soil with dropletts of dew. The beautiful colors of the morning light. The smells of flowers. The constant birdsong. These were all a part of my experience of Spring that seem to stay with me forever. My mother had an endless talant for making little figures and eggs and decorating baskets that made the season feel like a real celebration. As I got older I grew to love decorating Easter eggs. Often everyone in the family would join us in a day of egg decorating. It became a real family event and tradition. Now that I have a toddler, I want to continue the tradition I grew up with.

Research the meaning of the holiday and the symbolism behind the egg and the rabbit. And maybe take a look at other cultures and how they celebrate Spring. You will see a lot about rebirth, renewal, fertillity, newness and growth. Find what is significant to you about that. Perhaps it is a combination of Christain and pagan, or one or the other, or neither. Make it special to you and your child. Create a tradition that will be fun for your family and has meaning. Get books on all the different holiday crafts, or on different ways to decorate eggs. Teach your child about gardening. Plant flowers. Sprout seeds. Be creative and have fun. There is no right or wrong way. It is about finding your own connection to what it all means. Laurey


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