Last year, Mac mentioned on Facebook that she planned to forego Easter egg decorating because her oldest son (only son at the time) had just turned 2 and she thought he was probably too young still to participate in such an activity and/or enjoy it. While it’s true that dyeing Easter eggs CAN be a messy and stressful event for everyone involved, it’s not a deal-breaker.
We have kiddos in our house ranging from 18 months to 4 years who are all egg decorators. Their methods for decorating vary depending on age, but they all did a beautiful job on this year’s eggs. Henley, my 18 month old, you might think is a little young to be dyeing eggs. You’d be right. But why shouldn’t he be able to join the fun? Here’s what I did for him: I set him up in the Bumbo (with tray) on top of the table in the middle of the festivities.
I handed him a hard boiled egg and a couple of crayons (with bold colors, none of that “magic crayon” nonsense that comes in the egg dye box- he needs to see what he’s drawing!) As he drew, I handed him stickers and let him apply them or helped him apply them. Most of the egg dye kits come with a sheet of close to 100 tiny stickers. When he started to look bored with that egg, I took it away and handed him another one. I planned on 3 eggs for him, and 4 eggs each for the older kids.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to enjoy the fun but avoid the messy/stressful chaos this activity usually entails. (I tend to stress easily over messy children’s activities and am prone to try and control the mess as much as possible, to the point of killing the fun.) These reminders help me give the kids an enjoyable experience without making me feel like I’ll have to hose each child down afterward and remodel the kitchen.
-Each kid gets 3-4 eggs. (They don’t need a dozen, each! It stresses them out trying to remember which egg belongs to whom and after a few they’ve run out of stellar ideas and get bored and fidgety, anyway. 3-4 is a perfect number of eggs to become their artistic masterpieces.Besides, 4 dozen eggs is a little cholesterol-excessive, don’t you think?)
-Save the little wire egg dropper/ladle thing each year. (Only one comes in the kit and they always fight over it. No one wants to use a regular spoon to drop their egg in the dye, that’s lame. Just hang onto them this time instead of throwing them away, you’ll be glad you did next year.)
-Use colored crayons. (The “magic crayon” is dumb. I get what they’re going for, but using a colored crayon makes the egg drawings pop so much more! Yellow is brilliant. Plus, the kids can actually see what they’re drawing on the eggs. Toddlers don’t understand “When we take it out of the dye, you’ll be able to see the invisible drawing you made on the egg.” They think, “Hey, this crayon doesn’t work.”)
-Stickers are exciting! (Use up all of the ridiculous stickers that came in the box, it’s a great alternative to trying to teach a 2 year old to be patient and wait for the egg to finish in the cup of dye.)
Don’t let the fact that they’re young keep you from enjoying this tradition. They’ll remember it all year and look forward to doing it again. It’s one of those memories that really stick, enjoy it with them.
Have you already decorated eggs with your munchkins this year? Any crazy mishaps?