How To Have Fun With Your Family This Easter
With Easter just around the corner and with many children off school, it is the perfect opportunity to think about spending some quality time together as a family. Whether or not you celebrate the religious meaning behind the Easter festivities there are still plenty of ways to get involved and enjoy some super spring-time fun!
Hold an Easter egg hunt
This is a simple activity that can be done on whatever scale you feel is suitable for you and your family. Perhaps you could just hide a few little chocolate eggs around one room of your house?
My children are still quite young so we tend to make the eggs pretty easy to find, sometimes even leaving them in full view on a table! If you have older children then you might want to make hide the eggs in more unusual places or maybe even create some sort of treasure hunt, where they have to answer questions or follow a map to find their eggs.
You could give the children all their Easter eggs as part of this hunt so that they didn’t then get another huge influx of chocolate at a later time, or you could even use colourful, decorated toy eggs for the hunt and then share out the chocolate later.
Painting Easter eggs
This is a nice way to stay with the Easter theme but without the constant addition of sugar! You can get older children drawing their own Easter eggs and decorating them or even making three dimensional versions out of papier-mâché. There is also the option of buying a super sized Easter egg poster such as this one from Not On The High Street - which would allow the whole family to join in.
If you have younger children for whom colouring in isn’t a huge amount of fun yet, consider this play dough Easter activity from The Imagination Tree - which you could adapt to suit the age of whatever younger children you have at home. Sensory activities are always good for little fingers and the option to start over and over again means that they would never get bored.
Making an Easter egg tree
You might decide you would like to make some Easter decorations prior to the holiday weekend and something like an Easter egg tree would be perfect. You could go on a family walk to collect the sticks and branches you’d like to use, then spend a lovely afternoon decorating the ‘tree’ and making your little birds to hang on it. Here’s a ‘how to’ from Red Ted Art - that will get you off to a flying start. You don’t even have to go so far as to turn the eggs into birds, you could just hang individually decorated eggs from your tree for an equally beautiful effect. Perhaps you could even hang clusters of eggs in other places around your home, to continue the theme?
Hold an Easter bonnet parade
This could be a fun way to get everyone doing something a little bit silly and putting on a show. You can make a simple bonnet by wrapping a long sheet of card around a head and then stapling it at the appropriate point so that it fits. Once you each have a bonnet you can decorate it in any way you like (there are many little seasonal craft bits available at specialists shops such as Hobbycraft - or even at your local supermarket), then once they are all finished you could put on some music and put on a fashion show / parade! The winner could get an extra special Easter egg for their efforts.
Visit your local library or bookshop
The boys and I are great ones for reading and we have been looking forward to seeking out some great Easter and spring-time books to celebrate this special time of year. Visit your local library or bookshop to find out what is offer that appeals to you. There are a huge range of Easter books on the market and this link to Amazon.com gives you just a flavour of what is available.
There are themed books featuring favourite characters such as Peppa Pig and Spot, there are books that tell the religious Easter story in a way that is accessible to small children, there are activity books that include stickers and colouring that allow children to interact with the text. There are also stories that aren’t completely about Easter, but which feature the festival in some way, shape or form.
If you are looking for something specific, do pop in to your local library and ask for some guidance. They are likely to have a dedicated display at this time of year which could point you in the right direction, or you could just ask one of the knowledgeable members of staff who will happily help you out.
Check out local listings magazines and websites
There are now many publications which serve the purpose of providing listings about what is going on in your local area and often have associated features as well. This information is available for free in magazine form - they are often stacked outside my children’s pre-school or on the internet. A great website to start with is NetMums, but there may well be other sites which feature details about your local area as well. A quick internet search is great place to start, as is popping in to your local Tourist Information Centre or scanning through your local free paper.
National Trust properties (found nationwide - visit their website to find out more) often run a series of events around Easter and the boys and I will be visiting The Watercress Line in Hampshire where a special Thomas The Tank Engine themed day is being organised. There are bound to be similar things near you that can be discovered quickly and easily online.
Find out about some Easter traditions from days gone by
There are many traditions from days gone by that might not be adhered to so closely any more but which could easily be revived if you had the inclination. My granny always used to make Simnel cake for Easter (a recipe can be found here if you fancy having a go) and for some there are certain religious aspects which must be marked, starting with pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and going through Lent to hot cross buns on Good Friday and a special family church visit on Easter Sunday, wearing your best clothes. You and your family could have fun finding out more and seeing which traditions looked like fun and which were better left in the past. Here are a few links to get you started:
Investigate how Easter is celebrated in other countries
We can often get caught up in our own little world these days, despite having access to more information than ever before via the internet, and it never hurts to remind ourselves and our children and families that others around the world might do things a little differently. Some countries have very different traditions from our own and some take the Easter celebrations much more seriously than we do in the United Kingdom, with parades and performances and other exciting events.
We managed to find a great Dorling Kindersley book in our local charity bookshop that shows children from all around the world celebrating the festivals that mean something special in their countries and their cultures, so it’s worth having a browse and seeing if you can find something similar. If not, obviously you can visit your library or you can take a look online. Here are some good links that should give you a taste of what is happening in our global community:
Even more special than this would be if a family member or friend who hailed from another country were happy to chat to you all about their typical traditions for this time of year. Nothing beats the chance to sit and listen to someone who has experienced something themselves and it gives children the chance to ask questions as well. People are often happy to chat about their lives and it might be a lovely way to make someone who is missing their home country feel involved.
Thinking of others
Whether or not it has any significance for you or your family personally, the origin of Easter is clearly a religious one. Obviously there is no need to suddenly adopt beliefs or practices which are not meaningful for you (unless you were planning to do so anyway) but the underlying message of sacrificing things for other people is a good one, albeit hopefully on a less dramatic scale than in the Bible.
We like to use Easter and Christmas as a time to remind the boys about thinking of other people and that these festivities are not just about them getting chocolate eggs and presents. At Christmas we took tiny baby clothes to the Special Care Baby Unit where one of my children was cared for after a traumatic birth and this Easter we are planning to take Easter eggs to the children’s ward of our local hospital. Perhaps you could visit an old people’s home or take a meal round to an elderly or unwell neighbour. If you have friends who are far from their families at this time, maybe you could invite them round to share in your celebrations? Whatever you do, have a wonderful Easter filled with chocolate and cheering times for you and your family!