Holler if you’ve got a crazy rabbit this time of year. At our house, Mr. Easter Bunny likes to make a mess of our yard with half-bitten carrots before he somehow breaks into our home in the wee hours of the morning and leaves a trail of candy from my daughters’ bedroom and through the hallway to our kitchen leading to his chocolatey breakfast baskets plopped on top of our table! And then, he returns later in the afternoon with a wild egg-hunt through our front and back yards. See? Crazy rabbit. (But oh, we love him so.)
Besides bunnies, Easter season is rooted in renewal, rebirth, eternal life and hope for the future. Some of my favorite additional ways to celebrate Easter with kids (sans crazy rabbits):
1. Go to church. Raised with strong Christian faith since my own baby-years and now through my own experience as a mom, taking my family to church is one of my most treasured rituals. Sure, we go every weekend… but if that’s not your thing then just take your kids on Easter and call it a day. Faith gives children depth of spirit, perspective about something that’s bigger than them and direct relationship with likeminded community. Believing in something bigger is good… because without something bigger, what’s the point? Easter is THE time for this teachable lesson.
2. Plant flowers. Because, growth and rebirth. (And hi, sunny spring.) If you’re like me, time outside with our kids can be embarrassingly minimal these days. We don’t have to be garden fairies to plant flowers — literally, it’s dig a hole, put the plant in, cover up and pat a bit with some dirt and then water. Done. And, everyone gets Vitamin D for a happy day and better health.
3. Bake Grandma’s recipe. I shamelessly use holidays as a kick-in-the-pants to practice a skill tied to my family’s legacy — and yes, this involves baked goods. (But telling you actual recipes requires me holding you hostage for a while…) I honestly do not enjoy baking with children involved (too messy) but I make exceptions on Christmas and Easter because these are seasons for family — for learning, bonding and sharing memories of our own youth with our kids in a way that only Grandma’s recipe for Armenian simit cookies can prompt.
4. Ditch all devices. (Yes, it’s possible.) I’m notorious for challenging myself to NOT post on social media on the actual holiday day, to force myself to stay in the moment with my most precious people and opt out of distracting myself with addictively checking to see how many likes we’ve all scored (you can deny all you want, but you know this is a real thing). Take one picture like the old-fashioned days and then post it later that night or (gasp!) even the next day. I double-bunny dare you.
5. Call and/or visit a family member or friend you haven’t seen in a very long time and introduce them to your kids. Reconnecting with our own pasts can be unexpectedly fulfilling and fun for our kids to experience with us, especially if we live in an area that’s geographically removed from so many memories we carry from our own childhoods.
6. Bouquet-bomb your neighbors. Spend 15 minutes drawing/writing cards for a “Happy Easter” with your children, tie together a few flowers from your yard with a bow and surprise a few folks that live nearby. We know how deeply kindness matters, so let’s actually do it during this season of rebirth alongside our kids. Because kindness and love truly do live forever.
7. Opt for a family walk… or go scavenger hunting! Prompt your Easter Bunny to take your typical family egg hunt to next level. A scavenger hunt that includes kids, cousins and parents (either in your own home OR out in your neighborhood) can reinvent your Easter celebration game into an epic family-bonding egg-stravaganza for ages to come….
8. Decorate the heck out of something with Peeps. We might get nauseated by them (I do now) but our kids love ’em so let’s just take one day to give them what they want. Last year, we decked out a pre-made cheesecake in what was a most easy, giggly-and-blissful 10 minutes. (My daughters don’t know yet, but Peeps S’mores are coming after our traditional Easter feast this year… if you hear wild screaming from my house on Sunday don’t panic. We’re good.)
9. Have an egg fight. I’m not sure if this tradition is part of my Armenian culture, but — after our family meal is over, each person picks a few colored hard boiled eggs to challenge everyone else to egg fights. One person holds an egg firmly in their hand (vertically, resting the outside of their hand on the table), another person holds another egg in theirs in the same vertical way and then hits their egg on top of their partner’s egg. Whichever egg breaks, loses… the winner then goes on to someone else. He/she who makes their way around the table with the hardest egg, wins. (Wins what? More candy.)
10. Dress everyone in matching outfits (bunny ears welcome) and take an all-inclusive, extended family picture — Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa. Because even though it might feel silly in the moment, you’ll one day find the picture in years to come and laugh and weep with nostalgia that runs so deep it might make your heart hurt in the best way you can imagine.
Happy Easter to all! Now get hoppin.’