Teaching toddlers about Holiday’s isn’t always easy, especially if you have a child with developmental delays. It took a little over 3 years to get my son excited about any big day, including his birthday. He just didn’t grasp what all the fuss was about, irregardless of how nice you may have wrapped a present.
If you are like me, traditions are a large part of your life and your family. Things that have been passed down from generation to generation that you really want to share with your children and see them excited for the Holiday’s just as much as you. Here are some tips on how to spruce up this coming Easter to make it fun for your toddler, whether they have developmental delays or not. Deep down, Easter is about breathing new life into what was lost and what better way to do that then to breath new life into old traditions.
Incorporate Something They Love:
My son is completely obsessed with cars, trucks and anything with wheels. When I came upon Hershey’s Road Rally Egg Hunt I about jumped for joy! They have a wonderful game if you have multiple children where they can play a puzzle game together to try and spell a word, or race against each other to figure out the puzzle and win one of the Bunny Cars. However… I decided that we are just going to make a bunch of these little Bunny Cars and mix them up with Easter Eggs for the hunt.
What do your children love? Find a family craft to include some of their most favorite things. Whether it is stuffing eggs full of confetti for your Diva’s or hiding plastic bugs and seeking them out with microscopes for your bug collector, be creative and let them play a part!
Simplify the Understanding of the Tradition:
When my eldest was little I made the mistake of answering the question of “What is Easter?” with the entire diatribe of historical (religious and secular) meaning behind it. He took one look at me and said, “Thanks Mom, for boring me to death.” Little children aren’t necessarily going to understand the deeper concepts of Easter, but you can still bring them to life through fun crafts and games. That’s what all the fuss is about with coloring and hiding eggs. We’re uncovering what was once lost, like a seedling pushing through winter blown earth. What ways can you bring to life your traditions?
Here are some fun craft ideas to get you started!
- Create your own Egg Holders with your children to hold their masterpieces.
- Make a candy bowl out of recycled magazine papers or junk mail.
- Make your own Easter Baskets with woven paper strips.
Something Old / Something New:
When I grew up there wasn’t an Easter without a big Hershey’s chocolate Easter bunny in the basket and we’ve carried that tradition on down the line from my Great Grandmother to my great niece. However, you can still have the iconic pieces of chocolate and candies and still spruce up the idea of the basket. You also don’t have to break the bank putting in the latest and greatest toys. Here are a few ideas you can use to think outside the box.
- Include Spring items such as: seeds for flowers or vegetables if you have a garden, a little shovel or mini pots to grow budding plants in the home. You can also dress it up with homemade Hershey’s chocolate flowers!
- Create your own Bath Crayons and include other artist related items: finger paints or watercolors with paint brushes, chalk for the sidewalk and inexpensive coloring books.
- Make mini painted glass or plastic jars and fill them up with little candy treats. You can even make chocolate Pin Wheels to go inside them afterward and set them in the windows!
Let Them Play a Part:
I teach both of my children about our traditions by inviting them to be a part of it. I know it is always easier to let your little ones go off and play so you can get Easter Dinner finished or do all the egg boiling yourself so they don’t get in the way, but every moment of our lives can be great lessons to little ones. Here are two examples:
- Invite your children to help place the eggs in the cool water before you set them to boil. You can teach them about how the water cooks the eggs inside to make it possible for them to color the eggs. Why does your family incorporate egg coloring into your traditions, what does it mean to you? This is a great time to share with them the basic elements of Easter before they get into crazy artist mode or are all hyped up on sugar.
- Let them make a little dish for Easter Dinner. Easter Dinner, whether you have religious or secular traditions, is a big part of all family traditions. It is about bringing us all together, the beauty of family and sharing the celebration of new life. Letting your toddlers help you with something small like a dip, putting little chocolates on marshmallow nests, or cutting out shapes in watermelons with cookie cutters, let’s them take pride in your family’s Easter Dinner as well.
Extending the Tradition:
When Easter is finished (in a toddlers mind) after the egg hunting is over, little ones tend to wander off and assume that Easter (like other Holidays) is pretty much done. You can extend the day a little longer and put more importance on it by extending your traditions as well. Here are a couple ideas to make the whole day exciting!
- Instead of just doing Easter Eggs in the morning as per the usual, change it up and also hide little plastic eggs with mini Hershey’s chocolates (or stickers if they got too much in their basket already) and hide them throughout the house. Let them stumble and find eggs all day long! How surprised would they be if they thought they found all the eggs outside on Easter morning only to start spotting them all around the house?!
- Make it a crafty afternoon! While the Ham is cooking, take all the plastic grass from the baskets and use it as stuffing in a fun little recycling craft! You can make a little fun home-made bunny they can keep forever. It’s very easy.
- Take an old glove they no longer need from winter and turn it inside out.
- Sew the two middle fingers and the thumb right at the end and turn it rightside out again.
- Push the fingers that haven’t been sewn up and you have a little guy with bunny ears!
- Stuff the glove with all that Easter grass from the basket you were going to throw out and sew up the bottom.
- Sew on tiny eyes and noses with old buttons!
- Use all the little Hershey’s chocolate eggs and make Chocolate Chip Cookies with your kids! It can be one of the special things they include for after Easter Dinner. We all need something with that blessed cup of coffee after a long day!