Growing up, every Easter we would have a mini feast at Oma's house followed by an Easter egg hunt and fun games. Inspired by this tradition, a few years ago, we gathered at my mom’s house and we colored eggs with the kids and made beautiful “Around the World” egg crafts. We also made a special trip to the German Delicatessen Store in Falls Church, Virginia, to stock up on Kinder chocolate eggs and other special German treats to put in the kids' Easter baskets. While many Americans may indulge in candy-filled plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, and Peeps during their Easter celebrations, ethnic dishes and activities can also be incorporated.
Now that I am a mother of two, I want to continue what we’ve done in the past while also creating new family traditions. When we began hosting our Easter gathering a few years ago, we included only the immediate family. As the years went by, we slowly extended that invitation to neighbors and close friends. This year, our guest list for this Sunday tops 40 people, including many children. So what is our Eggstravaganza all about, you may ask?
Sofia, my 5-year-old daughter would excitedly reply: “It’s when my mommy makes a cake in the shape of an egg, pretty cupcakes, and cookies. We play fun games, we look for eggs to put in our decorated baskets, and we hit a piñata”. Thinking about hosting your own Eggstravangaza gathering? Let me share with you some ideas and links that might help you with your own party planning.
First things first: the guest list. Find out how many kids you will have and their ages so you can plan your activities accordingly.
Next: the food. To prevent the work and cost from falling all on me, I have a couple of friends help with the event. We provide the main dishes (ham and turkey) and the pretty sweet treats (my specialty - but that’s another article). Then we ask each guest to bring a side dish, preferably a family favorite. We always end up with an amazing colorful spread of dishes that are becoming staples at our Easter buffet table.
Step three: plan the egg hunt! We ask those with children to drop off a dozen candy-filled eggs for each child prior to the party. (Not into candy? Visit the Examiner for ten non-candy items to stuff eggs with.) I always have plenty of extra eggs just in case. Then on Easter morning, while we’re at church, I have my parents hide more than 300 eggs all around the yard and the neighbor’s yard.
To collect the eggs and give the kids something to do while the rest of the guests arrive, children can personalize their Easter “basket” ($1 buckets at Walmart) with foam sticker letters and other Easter-themed stickers. They can also make themselves bunny ears out of construction paper and crayons.
Once the baskets are made, the kids go on their long-awaited egg hunt. To make the egg hunt fair for big kids and toddlers alike, we put a limit on how many eggs each kid can hunt for: twelve. Once the big kids find theirs, they find a little buddy to help them with their hunt. To make the hunt exciting, we hide a few silver and golden eggs with money inside (this is when the change jar comes in handy).
Following the hunt, children can chose from various fun activities. There’s always the traditional egg-on-spoon relay, egg toss, egg golf, and bunny hop race. I also have a couple of crafts/game stations set up. For this year, I picked out a cute sock bunny craft from the Family Fun website which looks easy and inexpensive to make. Kids can also have a try at the Easter game table where they can play an Easter matching/concentration game, bingo, or board games or color. Every year I create a new game for the game table. This year I found a cute tangram one from the same Family Fun site.
To end the festivities, kids break an egg-shaped piñata filled with stickers, toys, and more candy!
Whether you create works of art, a tempting feast, a lasting garden, or simply relish an annual celebration of marshmallow Peeps and plastic grass, the most important rule of all is to have fun!