Easter is sneaking up on us, my lovelies. I can tell by the way the garden is greening up, the peepers are singing at the pond this morning, and the geese and sandhill cranes are calling all day long as they migrate back to the north. All these things whisper to me that it is almost time to dye eggs, make a scavenger hunt and hold on that for at least one more year my littles will be even remotely interested in the holiday. It’s hard once they’ve outgrown a basket full of water guns and candy and the like. And they found out 2 years ago that the Easter Bunny isn’t a real dude.
However, I do try to get them to hold on to some of the magic of these holidays that lose their luster when they realize I’ve been lying to them all their lives. I figure if they don’t hate me for it, they can’t hate the Easter Bunny. So we still dye eggs together every year, only now I don’t have to sneak outside somehow at 7 am to set up the hunt. It works out better for mama, anyway.
Since Easter is hippity-hoppity on its way, let’s do a story time about a beautiful children’s book, The Easter Egg by Jan Brett. I love Ms. Brett. Her poetic illustrations are even better than her sweet stories. Seriously, I’m a grown up (claimed!) and I could look at these pictures all day. I can only imagine how they effect little kids. The story itself is amazing, and watching Hoppi accidentally stumble on his own amazing version of an Easter Egg is magical. However, you are here for activities to go along with all this goodness, and I am happy to provide.
Activities for The Easter Egg
The Easter Bunny evokes all kinds of mystical ideas in littles’ heads. How about having them write their own story about what the Great Bunny will be up to this season? Here’s a free download to get them started. It has lines for both younger and older littles.
Egg in a Bottle
Um… This is so freaking cool. Nothing like watching an egg get sucked straight into a bottle (look ma-no hands!). I mean, seriously.
What you need:
- Wide-mouth glass drink bottle (like a Starbucks Frappuccino bottle – the mouth needs to be a little bit smaller than the egg. And make sure the bottle is glass, because fire and plastic Do Not mix. Not well, anyway.)
- Vegetable oil
- Strips of paper folded a couple times length-wise (make them slightly shorter than the bottle–you’ll be dropping one inside.)
What you do:
- Hard boil your egg or eggs. If you’ve never done this, simply put an egg in a saucepan, cover it with about an inch of water, and let it boil in there for about 15 minutes. (Really, have you never done this?) Take it off the stove immediately and run it under cold water until it’s cool enough to handle.
- Coat the inside of the bottle mouth with vegetable oil. The easiest way to do that is to pour a little oil onto a paper towel, then wipe the mouth with the oil.
- Peel your egg. Dip it in water, then set it on the bottle mouth to make sure it rests there without falling in on its own.
- Use matches or a lighter to light one end of a paper strip. (Obviously, this part is for the parent.) Drop the strip into the bottle and quickly replace the egg on the mouth.
- The egg will wiggle a bit as it sits there, then boom! into the bottle it goes!
What’s going on:
When you first set your egg on the bottle, the air pressure inside was equal to the air pressure outside, so nothing happened. When the burning paper heated up the air inside the bottle, the air expanded very quickly. That expanding air pushed the egg aside in order to escape the bottle (the wiggling you saw). Then the fire consumed all the air in the bottle (because that’s what fire does). The flame went out and the air in the bottle started to cool down. Suddenly, there was Less Pressure inside the bottle than outside. The air outside the bottle actually Pushed the egg into the bottle as the pressure tried to equalize, so it didn’t get Sucked In at all. Kind of awesome, huh?
The cool thing is, you can get the egg back out of the bottle by increasing the air pressure. Turn the bottle upside down until the small end of the egg is sitting against the mouth. Tilt it slightly, then get close to the mouth and blow air into the bottle past the egg. As the pressure in the bottle increases, the egg should pop out.
Yeah yeah. Your littles are going to Love This.
Hoppi’s Easter Egg
This cute craft includes lots of the elements Hoppi sees in the Easter eggs of the other bunnies.
What you need:
- 1 piece blue craft foam (I was lucky enough to have a robin’s-egg blue)
- 1 piece brown craft foam (yeah, I had to paint this one, too. Seriously need to invest in new craft foam.)
- Lit Mama’s Hoppi Egg Template
- Tissue paper in several colors
- 1 green chenille stem, and 1 other stem in a color that goes with your tissue paper
- Foam shapes, glitter, buttons, and other supplies for decorating your egg
- Quick-dry tacky Glue (school glue will work, but takes longer to dry)
What you do:
- Print out your Hoppi Egg Template
- Cut the broken egg piece from blue craft foam. Cut the top piece (which will be your dirt) from brown foam.
Glue your brown piece behind the blue, leaving room to be able to make a small pocket between the two. Your dirt should only stick up from the very center of the egg.
Using your index finger as a guide, cut off a square of the strip.
Cut the green stem into thirds and wrap the end of one of the thirds around the piece holding your tissue paper. I really hope that makes sense. Look at the pic if it doesn’t. Or email me so I can confuse you even more.
Carefully spread out the tissue paper on either side of the chenille stem until it resembles the leaves of a flower.
Carefully push the bottoms of your stems into the pocket, making sure they come into contact with the glue.
Glue the sides of the pocket to keep them in place.
Hoppi’s Chocolate Egg Cakes
Some of the eggs Hoppi admires are made of chocolate. There is nothing more fun than a mini Easter egg full of chocolate-cake goodness. Get some sprinkles and stuff and let your littles decorate them. Fun And Bad For You.
Plus, this recipe for chocolate cake? Scrum-diddly-umptious.
What you need:
For the cake-
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temp, blended with 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs at room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the icing-
- 12 oz Cool Whip, thawed
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temp (use neufchatel, it’s better for you)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- assorted food coloring to make them Easter-y
What you do:
For the cake-
- Lightly butter and flour a 9×13 cake pan, set aside
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Place butter, cocoa, and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Sift together (you know I love sifting) sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl
- Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Poor the cocoa mix over the dry ingredients and blend on a moderate speed until thoroughly blended. Add the egg mixture and blend on low speed about a minute and a half, till the mixture is a uniform color.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry.
- Allow to cool.
- use a sharp knife (or even a cookie cutter!) to cut egg shapes from your cake.
For the frosting-
- Combine all ingredients until thoroughly blended
- If you want, separate the frosting into bowls and add food coloring to make Easter colors.
- Frost your egg cakes
- If you have sprinkles, nonpareils, etc., let your littles do some decorating
- Try not to pass out from Yumminess Overload
Seriously. Make this cake. Even if you don’t cut into Easter eggs, you will thank me.
Looking for more spring fun? Check out: