Sunday, 11 March 2012

Easter Crafts for children that won't drive you nuts


Easter is a great excuse to bust out the and glitter and let your children embrace the power of pastel paint. My criteria for a good craft activities are:
  • something that can be consumed or given away
  • where the process is at least as important as the end result
  • doesn't cost a fortune and preferably uses things I already have
  • nothing that will hang around shedding tissue paper or glitter
  • is not an Easter bonnet, which I hate with a passion.
Easter Cards
This pretty much covers every criteria because even if they do shed tissue paper and glitter, they are given away and therefore won't be doing it in your house (encourage kids to make them for grandparents and teachers, rather than immediate family members.)
As well as making rectangle cards, cut some into egg or bunny shapes for decorating. If you are stuck for inspiration, Disney Family Fun has some free printables. If you want to push the boat out a little, Etsy is good for ideas, like these free printables from Peace Heart Cupcakes

Spring collages - using whatever colourful scraps you have. Maybe draw (or print) an outline of an Easter picture and let children 'colour' it by gluing things on it. Could also be used for cards.

Daffodils encapsulate the sense of spring completely and are perfect as an Easter craft. To make these we used cut up egg carton, yellow and green paint, gold, silver and green glitter, tissue paper cardboard and drinking straws. Paint the egg carton pieces and sprinkle with glitter while still wet. Cut leaf shapes from cardboard, paint and glitter. When dry, put a hole in the bottom of the egg carton (I use a scalpel) to feed the drinking straw through. Make a slit at the base of the straw with said scalpel to slot the leaf in. Scrunch up a little tissue paper and glue into the centre.
Don't feel restricted to daffodils though. Egg cartons are also great for tulips, or any type of flower your child's imagination cares to create.

Egg blowing and decorating
We used to do this quite a lot as children. Use a thick  needle to poke a hole in the broad part of the egg (which as the air pocket). Push it in far enough to break the yolk and jiggle it around a little. Then make a hole at the pointy end, bigger than the first. Blow through the broad end (over a bowl) until as much of the contents as possible are out. Flush the shell with running water through the large hole and shake. Repeat until you're sure it's clean, because raw egg doesn't smell very nice after a while.

Once the eggs are dry you can decorate them any way you like, using paint, glitter, ribbons, feathers, anything. Glue on a ribbon loop and use to decorate an Easter Tree.

Bake and decorate an Easter cake
Possibly my favourite activity here and a good use for the contents of the blown eggs. A normal sponge is great, or you could try a traditional Simnel Cake. If you are going to do this it may be wise to blow the required number of eggs for the recipe into a separate bowl so you know how many you have.
Simnel cake recipe
(from UKTV food, not my kitchen)

Chalk drawing on pavement or walls - tail target and water pistol shooting
Drawing with chalk on outside walls or pavements is a great activity for kids. Draw a large rabbit outline in chalk, making a large round tail target. You can leave it like that, or have co-centric rings with scores in them for older children. Fill up the water pistols and let them loose.

Chocolate eggs
Ok, you might have to buy things for this but giving homemade eggs is  a really nice thing to do, especially as you can customise them. Moulds are widely available from Lakeland, Hobbycraft and other hobby stores. Use paste food colouring to tint melted white chocolate pastel shades, either to make eggs or decorate them. Glue sweets to the outside with melted chocolate, or fill hollow eggs with something yummy before sealing.

Easter basket
And finally, something to put all your goodies in. Print or draw a template on an A4 sheet of cardboard. Wilkinsons has a packet of 8 for £1, which come in bright and pastel colours. Disney's site has a template for a woven style basket here. Craftscope have the more traditional template here. I remember making these in kindergarten. Fill with shredded tissue paper and all your Easter goodies, or use for collecting finds on at. Easter Egg hunt.