Eggs hidden on windowsills or in the grass. Baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. Pots of tulips, daffodils, and lilies. Baby bunnies and tiny chicks. New clothes in pretty pastels. In the cultural celebration of Easter, these things mark the start of spring and its new beginnings.
While we make new year’s resolutions in January, there’s just something about warmer temperatures and newly budding plants that encourages thoughts of starting over. Everything seems fresh and bursting with possibilities. As children enjoy Easter rites of spring, help them explore their own new beginnings with one or more of these activities.
Flower power. Many spring blooms come from bulbs planted in the fall. Buried in the dirt over the winter, they ‘wake up’ and send shoots toward the warmth of the spring sun. Invite children to pretend to be bulbs curled up underground. Ask: How does it feel to be buried deep in the ground? Shine a flashlight or lamp on each ‘bulb’ and encourage kids to slowly sit up and stretch their arms upward like a flower. Ask: What kind of flower are you? How do you feel now that you are blooming in the sun?
Egg-celent ideas. Egg hunts are an Easter staple, combining the thrill of a game with a symbol of fertility and new birth. Once children have found all the candy-filled eggs, reuse the plastic shells for a game of new ideas. Brainstorm several things that children want to try or explore this spring, such as learning yoga, being kind to a grumpy neighbor, turning complaints into positive action, or self-affirmations when discouraged. Write your ideas on slips of paper, seal them inside the plastic eggs, and place the eggs in a basket. Then take turns picking an egg and try it out that idea for a week or a month.
Sense-sational baby animals. Few things rival the cuteness of tiny creatures, from newly hatched chicks to lambs and calves just learning to stand on their own legs. Invite children to imagine that they are a baby animal exploring the world for the first time. Ask: What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel? What excites you? What scares you? What’s the first thing you want to do? How do you recharge when you get tired?
Hats for humanity. Some towns hold Easter parades where families dress up in new spring clothes and walk together in the sunshine. Participants may even create fancy hats with flowers and streamers that flutter in the breeze. Invite children to create a hat that shows support for an issue they care about, such as slowing climate change, ending racism, affirming diverse gender identities, or protecting endangered species. Write messages on artificial flower petals and colored ribbons, then attach them to a wide-brimmed straw or canvas hat and parade away!
Clothes parade. The change of seasons is also a great time to cull through old clothes and donate gently worn items that no longer fit. Have some fun with this process by encouraging children to lay their outgrown clothes out as if they are parading across the floor. Arrange pant legs and shirt arms as if walking or jumping. Add heads drawn on paper with various expressions. Then march all your donatable items into bags and take them to your local clothes closet.