Don’t we all love Easter? After all, most Americans celebrate with candy, eggs, and talk of bunnies. But unlike Christmas, the holiday comes and goes in a flash. Here are some ways that you can prepare for, enjoy, and even keep the fun of Easter going days later, all while relying on eco-friendly materials and setting a great example for the little ones.
Pre-Easter Projects You Can Do With the Kiddos
No jokes about 101 college classes, please! You can make your own baskets by taking an old food container or coffee can, decorating it, and attaching handles. If you’re interested in going the extra mile, you can crochet, knit, or weave a plarn basket. What is plarn, you ask? It’s a groovy plastic yarn made from simply knotting strips of plastic grocery bags together. (Google Image it!) If time isn’t on your side, focus on getting a basket already made with eco-friendly materials — something that will last a long time, and possibly be used again for other purposes.
Dye Your Eggs Naturally, Instead of Buying Store-Bought Easter Egg Dye
Yellow #2. Blue Lake #40. Do you really want these glowing petrochemicals to be stars of the show at your egg-dying activities? Instead, just go shopping in your own pantry for a variety of natural foods that make great dyes. Simply mix vinegar with boiling water, and then add:
Red cabbage leaves to make blue eggs
Carrot tops or turmeric to make yellow eggs
Red onion skins to make red eggs
Black walnut shells to make brown ones
These are just a few of your options — do some research and have a blast experimenting!
Eco-Friendly Easter Grass
Replace that gosh-awful plastic junk and delight your kids by hunting down an eco-friendly way to embellish the bottom of your basket. Turn to a shredder or — old school — scissors-in-hand to finely shred some of your colorful junk mail. Or, use a natural alternative like raffia, which can be repurposed for other projects after the holidays are over.
And Now for the Best Part: The Goodies!
We all know there are plenty of options out there for filling those Easter baskets. But not all fillers are created equal. Taking the eco-track this holiday means avoiding all that “Made in China” dollar store dreck. Will your little one really thrill to getting a plastic whistle with a yellow chick painted on it? Do the kids actually need another plush bunny to fill out their collection? Here are just a few examples of some basket goodies that sit well with both the young’uns and Mother Nature.
Recycled Crayons: Scavenge through the broken crayon nibs and melt them down. You can either gently melt them in the oven in a silicone mold, or slowly melt them in a double boiler and then pour them into candy molds. This requires special bowls and other tools that will be dedicated for this purpose alone; you don’t want to use them with food again!
Eco (Play) Dough: Eco-friendly play dough recipes are a snap to make. When the kids are done playing, simply store in a cleaned out previously-used container. To make peanut butter play dough, which they can devour after playing with, simply mix 1 cup smooth peanut butter with 2 cups powdered sugar and ½ cup honey. Or for a salt bread dough: make with 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 4 cups water, 4 tablespoons oil, and ½ cup cream of tartar. The kids can leave out their creations to harden into permanent treasures (like marbleized paperweights or Christmas ornaments), or just toss when done. Similar to dying eggs, you can experiment with natural food dyes to color your dough.
Make Hair Clips from Eco-Felt: Eco felt is a readily-available felt purchased at most craft stores. Made in the U.S.A. out of post-consumer plastics, it’s perfect for a variety of projects ranging from flower clips to wallets.
The Fun Continues!
Keep all of your boiled egg shells and make some eggshell sidewalk chalk with the kids! Make sure to thoroughly clean the egg shells and then grind them into powder with a mortar and pestle, or a spoon or rock on concrete. Once ground, combine the powder from 6 egg shells, and add it to 1 teaspoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of very hot tap water. Make a paste, and wrap it in a paper towel to dry.
After 3 days, you have yourself some eco-chalk! Now aren’t you proud of your growing stable of eco-friendly home arts?
About the Author
Jennifer Tescione adores being a craft nerd and making bright and shiny things by raiding her kitchen cupboards. She also writes for FavorIdeas, a leading destination for unique baby shower favors and adorable bridal shower favors.