Spring is a time to celebrate the renewal of life and nature. This year Easter falls on April 16. Before the month slips away, crack open your calendar and peel away some time for these “egg-stra” special activities.
Earthy Egg Heads
Items needed: egg shells; permanent markers; dirt or potting soil; grass seed; toilet paper roll; stickers.
Crack a raw egg around the upper section of the shell. Peel the opening and remove the egg. Rinse the shell and let it dry. Carefully draw a face on the front of the egg. Now fill it half full with dirt. Sprinkle grass seed on top and cover with a little more dirt. To make a base for your egg head, cut off a small section of the toilet paper roll and decorate with markers and/or stickers. Place the egg on the base. Every day sprinkle a little water over the dirt. Within a week or so “hair” will begin to grow.
Edible Egg Dye
Items needed: empty egg shells; vinegar; six pans; natural dyes (purple grape juice [purple], blueberries [blue], spinach leaves [green], lemon peel or ground cumin [yellow], yellow onion skins [orange], cranberries [pink]).
Add one natural dye ingredient to each pan, along with water and bring to a boil. Let it cool. Strain the dye ingredient so only liquid is left. Place egg shells in each pan along with the colored dye. Add enough water and two teaspoons of white vinegar to cover the eggs (note do not add vinegar to the pan that had onion skins). Bring each pot to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let the eggs sit until they reach the desired color then remove from the pans and let dry.
Items needed: empty egg shells; egg cartons; dye; funnel; confetti; scissors; 2 ½-square pieces of tissue paper; glue.
Cascarones, also known as confetti eggs, originated in Old Mexico. Several weeks in advance, begin saving egg shells. When cracking open a raw egg, break around the upper section of the shell. Peel the opening so the hole is no more than 1-inch around. Remove the egg. Rinse the shell, let it dry hole side down then store it in an empty carton. When you have a dozen empty egg shells, dye them using the conventional or natural method.
When dry, place the eggs back into the carton with the hole side up. Use a funnel to fill each egg about half full with confetti. Apply glue to the outer edges of a 2 ½-inch square tissue paper and cover the holes. On Easter give everyone a confetti-filled egg, then follow tradition by chasing each other around and cracking the egg on one another’s head for good luck. Better yet, use them for egg tosses, relay races and other games.
Items needed: balloon; watered down glue; disposable bowl; paintbrush; crochet thread.
Blow up a balloon, tie it off and attached a two-foot long piece of crochet thread at the knot. Use a paintbrush to cover the balloon with watered down glue. Wrap the thread around the balloon in one direction leaving small gaps so the balloon isn’t completely covered. Cut off another section of thread and set aside. Add another layer of glue over the existing thread and balloon. Now take the second strand of thread and wind it around the balloon, this time in the other direction. Repeat these steps until you have four layers of thread covering the balloon. Hang the balloon upside down to dry. When completely dry, pop the balloon and carefully remove it without pulling at the thread. Hang up the threaded egg for decoration.
In preparation for the holiday, check out these subject-related books:
- The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Surprise by Stan & Jan Berenstain
- The Big Egg Hunt by Suzanne Weyn
- The Birds’ Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story by Eric A. Kimmel
- An Easter Celebration: Traditions and Customs from Around the World by Pamela Kennedy
- The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith
- Easter Parade by Eloise Greenfield
- The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous
Denise Morrison Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.
Crackin the facts…
Eggs have been used during Easter celebrations for over two thousand years. But even before the egg was associated with this holiday, it was an honored part of spring festivals. Just as the egg holds life within its shell, ancient cultures used it as a representation of the earth’s rebirth after a long, cold winter. With the advent of Christianity, the egg’s symbolism changed to represent not nature’s birth but the rebirth of man, the essential belief of Easter.
People have been dyeing and decorating eggs for centuries. But the most famous Easter eggs were those designed by goldsmith Peter Carl Fabrege, who was commissioned by nineteenth-century Russian Czar Alexander to produce a richly ornamented jeweled egg as a gift for his wife Maria. Upon receiving the egg, Maria was so pleased she ordered eggs to be designedand delivered every Easter. Years later, Alexander’s son, Nicholas II, continued the tradition.