What *Is* the True Meaning of Easter?
Maybe Easter isn’t as popular with kids as Christmas, or even their birthdays. Even for Christian families who only celebrate the religious part of the holiday, Easter has become forever associated with eggs, bunnies, and huge baskets full of every kind of sweet imaginable. But then that’s it. You get up, eat the eggs, eat the candy, and watch the parade. Does that sound like a fun holiday to you? Well, if you want to do the same activities that kids know and love, but are thinking about jazzing it up a little bit, here are some fun Easter suggestions.
Jazz Up Your Egg Hunt
(1) The infamous Easter egg hunt. Everyone’s done it, right? Participants gather in a big place, either at an indoors place like a mall or outside somewhere, and set the kids loose on a treasure hunt. What happens when they find the eggs? Here’s where clever parents can make things a little different. Instead of hiding eggs, hide Easter novelties like chocolate hollow bunnies. After all, unless kids *really* like eggs, they won’t enjoy eating what they find. Also, if you use the plastic, colored eggs instead of real ones, another suggestion is to line all the eggs up in a row and place a little bauble inside one of them. The child who finds the right egg gets a special prize, but not just any ordinary prize. Let him or her be “Easter queen” or “Easter king” of the day, or allow them to take part in an activity they would really enjoy.
Candy Galore! Something More?
(2) The basket rules. Easter morning; baskets overflowing with candy, or another approach? Kids love candy, but there is such a thing as overload. Instead of filling the entire Easter basket with sweets, consider placing one special gift inside, like a long-awaited book, a small stuffed animal, or a gift certificate to your child’s favorite store or restaurant. This way they’ll have an Easter gift that doesn’t involve an extended visit to the dentist’s. By all means, pile on the candy, but you might want to just pick their very favorites. If you want to be *very* original, an Easter “basket” doesn’t even have to be a basket. Hide the candy at different places around the room and give kids clues, much like an egg hunt. Different families will celebrate Easter in different ways.
Keeping Religion in Your Easter Celebration
(3) Going to church? Supplement those Sunday school lessons. For those who choose to celebrate the religious aspect of Easter and don’t really enjoy the whole chocolate-coming-out-your-ears routine, you can make the day fun for kids by attending a sunrise service. This is a beautiful way to bring in this blessed holiday. Instead of a meal of chocolate, take them out to a special breakfast or lunch afterwards. If kids still clamor for candy, your local store will probably have something religious such as a chocolate hollow cross (yes, I have actually seen these). Your kids can still celebrate Easter with a little something sweet that is also a reminder of what the holiday’s truly about.
Choose A Different Animal
(4) Why bunnies? Some people think that bunnies and other springtime animals are associated with Easter because of spring equinox. Whether or not that’s true, many children expect to see the Easter bunny on that special morning. When I was young, my father sprinkled flour on the flour and placed bunny-shaped “paw prints” all over the flour. I was thrilled, and of course when I got out to the basket, it was filled with goodies. Choose a different animal to represent Easter, just to be unique; if you want to be really creative and keep the religious aspect firmly in place, have it be a camel, a donkey, a sheep, etc. Tell a story about why this animal represents the holiday and how it is connected to the Easter story.
Broaden Kids’ Horizons With Different Cultures
(5) Make it a small world. If you know someone who celebrates Passover and want to introduce your children to other cultures, consider introducing a Jewish holiday into the mix. Passover foods are infinitely different than Easter foods and will make for a whole new experience. Have Jewish friends? Invite them over to talk about the contrasts and similarities in celebrations. You can certainly play Passover games and Easter games on the same day; it never hurts to broaden children’s horizons. You can plan a themed meal also, with each family making some of their favorite holiday dishes.
The Play’s the Thing
(6) An Easter play. Many children have probably put on Easter plays over the years, but this is a good addition to the “Easter basket” idea. Give children a few lines to memorize; invite some neighborhood kids to make it even more special. The set doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a backdrop of a hill, three crosses, and any creative touches you might want to add. Make the story different by adding a new character; have a child take on the voice of a donkey or other animal or a human bystander who would have seen the Crucifixion. When the play is over, hand out small candy bars to the “actors,” much like Halloween.