A Parents' Guide to Easter Fun

by Julie Snyder

Did you know these nifty "egg-citing" Easter facts?

• Easter is the second most important candy-eating occasion of the year
• 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced each year
• According to 76 percent of Americans, chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first
• Each Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps
• Americans consume 16 billion Jelly beans at Easter. If all the Easter jelly beans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe nearly three times
• Despite Easter boycotts over WHO marketing violations, Nestlé still sells tons of candy over the holiday
• 65 percent of adults prefer milk chocolate to dark
• Kids prefer red jellybeans and 80% eat them one at a time

Candy -- More Than Noms

Sure you can hide candy in the grass or in a basket, but no need to limit creativity. How about a peanut butter cup as the "head of the pin" in a pinwheel or a "peep" diorama?

paper pinwheelsCandy pinwheel party favors: Use a 6" square of construction or other suitable paper; color. With a ruler, draw diagonal lines. Make a 1" diameter circle in the center. Cut the diagonal line toward the center. Stop at the circle. Now, one at a time, bend each corner to the center and glue. When all corners are glued, you've formed the pinwheel. Use a flat tack to attach to a pencil eraser or straw. Finally, glue a wrapped candy kiss or cup to the tack. Make several and arrange in a container.

Peeps diorama: Buy a package of Peeps or visit their website and print out a picture of a Peep. Use books, history, current events, pop culture, hobbies, plays on words or family input as you decide on a theme. "Little Bo Peep?" "Peeps in Space?" Find a small box or container and decorate both the outside and inside -- you can use construction paper, fabric, crayons, markers or paint. Add embellishments like glitter, stars and stamps. Now for the fun part! Gather supplies and create the props for your scene. Then dress your Peeps for the occasion. Glue and toothpicks can help hold the parts together. Last step? Put it all together, let it dry and share with your family!

Candy-Free Fun

egg and paintbrushAre you just wanting to walk away from the candy scene? Here are a few activities that focus on fun and family without the added sweets.

"Pin the cottontail on the bunny:" Draw a bunny outline on a poster board. Kids can enjoy coloring, collaging or painting. Take cotton balls and stretch to pull together. Place a piece of folded tape on the back for each player -- even if it is only within your own family!

Table decorations: How about folding an orgami napkin flower? Too complex for your kids? Two simpler ideas easy enough for even toddlers are coloring or painting place mats and napkin rings. Start with an outline on paper for your budding artist. Have markers and crayons on hand and let the creativity flow. It's fun so you might want to join right in! Once the pictures (or scribbles) are complete, encase in clear contact paper. Your child will be anxious to share these accomplishments!

Paint or decorate a real egg: Once your eggs are hard boiled and your child is past the "throw and drop" developmental stage, your imagination is the limit. Simply dip an egg in dye after your toddler scribbled on it with crayon. Or break out the paintbrushes, "condensed milk and food coloring" paint and have at it. Once dry they can be embellished with paper hats, pipe cleaner limbs, marker features, stickers, flowers, toys and more. Plus hard boiled eggs make an awesome snack once the play appeal is past.

The bunny hop: Need a family destress and giggle session? Everybody do the hop. Follow the leader around the room or through the house. Need more challenge? Build a pillow obstacle course and hop your way through it. When you all collapse, consider a group hug and story session.

The possibilities for Easter fun can seem almost endless. Whether you participate in your community's Easter egg hunt, are still feuding with your brother over the time he bit off the head of YOUR chocolate bunny, or are trying to figure out how to get the egg dye off your finger tips, know that the memories that you create with your family will be treasured for years to come! We invite you to share your own Easter fun ideas in our comment section below!