No matter how you celebrate Easter with your kids, things are going to be different this year during quarantine. There will be no town-wide Easter egg hunts or photos with the Easter Bunny at the mall. Church services, if you attend, will be virtual, and big family gatherings with grandparents and loads of cousins will be substituted with video chats and phone calls.
As glad as I am that so many people are taking social distancing seriously, it’s hard. And it’s totally normal to feel disappointed and even a bit melancholy about Easter this year. The loss of tightly-held traditions is a legitimate struggle, and knowing we’re looking our for our kids’ own hopes and expectations adds another layer.
But as a mom of three who’s had to scramble to pull together an at-home Easter with sick kids more than once, I know first hand that there are Easter activities and ideas that can be amazing even if they’re different than what you had originally planned.
For some creative ideas, we turned to our thoughtful, creative and resourceful community on our Recipe Rescue Facebook page, and found so many parents happy to contributed their own tips and ideas for making Easter feel special for the kids this year.
And, who knows? You may try something here that your kids love so much, it’ll become a new family tradition to repeat for years to come.
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Idea 1: Make Easter special for the kids by getting all dressed up.
Though it may be tempting to stay in my “quarantine leisurewear” for Easter, I think that getting even a little dressed up will make the day feel special, and not like just another ordinary day sheltering in place.
I love our reader Sabrina G’s plan to keep her girls looking holiday-ready in comfy and adorably matching Tea Collection dresses (like the one shown above). But there’s absolutely no need to get into a fuss if your grade schooler doesn’t want to wear a shirt and tie, or your toddler hates their shiny shoes. Be flexible and don’t let a clothing standoff mar the day.
In fact, you may want to go an entirely different route and get “fancy” by raiding the dress-up bin, donning old Halloween costume accessories, or turning the kids into rabbits with some face paint and bunny ears (shown at top). Sometimes breaking with tradition feels good too.
And hey, don’t forget to FaceTime the grandparents and cousins to show off the Easter duds!
Idea 2: Turn an Easter egg hunt into an Easter egg scavenger hunt
A lot of us still plan to put together Easter baskets for our kids (remember drugstores are a great place to find affordable Easter Basket gift ideas), but rather than just putting the basket out in a visible spot, I have always hidden my kids’ baskets and plastic eggs around the house.
Nothing gets three teens up and moving faster in the morning than the promise of finding candy they can eat before noon!
But this year, to make our traditional hunt last longer and be a bit more of a challenge, I’m taking cues from our Facebook commenter Julie C who recommends an Easter scavenger hunt using free printables you can find online.
For my older kids, I love this “punny” printable Easter scavenger hunt from Sunshine and Rainy Days which will lead them, clue by clue, to their Easter basket.
If you’d rather write up your own clues like reader Erin M, check out these pretty printable Easter scavenger hunt cards from Sherbet Lane that allow you to come up with clues only your kids would know, like “under the squeaky chair” or “behind the dog’s favorite spot to snooze”. There are also prewritten clues to download if you’d like some inspiration..
If your kids like puzzles, the Word Scramble Easter egg hunt cards from Party Delights are a fun way to kick their brains in gear on Easter morning.
If you have a backyard, this QR code scavenger hunt from Bits of Everything is so clever for older kids, mixing a scavenger hunt with “secret” codes. Just download a QR code app onto their device (like this one), then send them on a hunt for eggs or other small treats. We wouldn’t be able to use all of the prompts (there are no “monkey bars” in our yard), but with 24 to choose from, we’ll have plenty to try.
If you’re looking for something different, consider doing a flashlight egg hunt like Allison Aars did with her own family. They did this in their yard after bedtime, though you could also darken a room in your apartment or home, hand out flashlights, and let them go.
If your younger kids have energy to burn, an active Easter egg hunt using these printables from Alice and Lois is perfect for jumpy bunnies. Each egg holds a different activity they need to complete before they can collect the treat hidden inside their egg.
Finally, if you want to make your Easter egg hunt last longer than normal, you’re going to have to make things tricky. I love this list for both indoor and outdoor Easter egg hiding spots ranked from easiest to hardest (or “egg-spert,” ha) from Mum’s Grapevine. Just keep track of how many eggs you put out or you’ll be like us and find hidden eggs six months later.
Idea 3: Dye eggs…but be sure you can eat them!
For many of us, Easter will feel longer than usual without the bustle of guests or time spent in the car traveling from place to place. But that extra time means you can get creative doing something fun!
Of course, you can can still decorate Easter eggs, as our reader Angie C will be doing with her teens. If you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on a dozen eggs, we recommend decorating them with safe and natural dyes so that you can eat every egg when you’re done. We’re extra-cautious about food waste these days! Or if you’re using food-safe coloring at home, read up on how to dye Easter eggs with food coloring and get just the right shade, which includes tips from the coloring experts.
Pro tip: If you are having trouble finding eggs, Angie also recommends contacting local restaurants who may be selling their overstock direct to the public. So smart!
For more decorating ideas, check out all this post with 80+ creative Easter egg decorating ideas, whether you’re using dyes or not. It really is your ultimate egg decorating resource!
Idea 4: Throw together some age-appropriate crafts
If you aren’t a family of hard-boiled egg eaters, don’t waste those precious eggs! Our reader Liza M had the great suggestion to paint rocks to look like Easter eggs like these from No Time for Flash Cards.
Spend a little time before Sunday collecting rocks (alternatively, try a curbside pickup of pre-washed crafting rocks from Michaels or your local craft store. Then, just set out the paints, and let the kids “color eggs”. Aren’t they pretty?
This vibrant DIY Easter Floral Paper Headpiece craft from Magdalena Franco on Etsy requires only colored paper, some scissors, and a glue gun to complete. Kids can add their own flourishes with crayons or markers, stickers or sequins. And if you have anyone who really isn’t into flowers, just trace some egg shapes and let them decorate those before finishing their egg crown. Don’t forget to take photos!
Idea 5: Host your own Peeps diorama contest
Many of us remember the much-loved Peeps diorama contest that was hosted the Washington Post for ten years before ending a few years ago. Well, now that most of us have more time to get crafty, you can resurrect this contest in your own home!
Just remember to add some Peeps — chicks and bunnies — to your next Instacart order or drugstore pickup, then add in some craft supplies and other little toys, find a shoebox, and start creating!
You can chose a theme that everyone has to work around — Harry Potter, Disney, current events, history, family vacation memories. Or, let your kids get as creative as they want. like your kids’ favorite scene from Harry Potter, their favorite ride at DisneyWorld, or even your funniest family vacation memory. Above: You can see how our family went with a history theme a few few years ago. Those are some hardworking Pilgrim Peeps getting their fields ready before winter.
Idea 6: Make your Easter meal special…a little or a lot
My sister and sometime Cool Mom Eats contributor, Karen Q, finds comfort in setting a big beautiful table and hosting a traditional Easter dinner — or as traditional as she can make it right now. For others, this will be too much of a reminder of all that is missing. So consider mixing things up this year.
And remember, another way to make Easter special is to get the kids involved helping to prep veggies, set the table, or make the desserts. This shouldn’t be all on you, parents!
Our Recipe Rescue reader Rachel L described hosting an easy Easter brunch for the family. We’ve got so many ideas for make-ahead Easter brunch recipes that you can start a day or two before to keep Easter easy but still special. Doesn’t this crustless Spinach and Artichoke Quiche look incredible? The recipe at Evolving Table has lots of variations so you can use what you have on hand—and what you know your kids will eat. We’ve also got recipes for vegetable tarts, big salads, or fun French toast variations.
Even trying something you’ve never served before can make Easter feel more special. Like whip up some easy deviled eggs.
If you don’t eat eggs (or can’t get a hold of them) — or you’re saving your egg recipes for a day or two after the egg-dyeing contests, we have recipes for 6 fantastic egg-free Easter brunch ideas. They don’t all require a big shopping trip either — it be so fun for the kids to set up a yogurt parfait bar, like this one (above) that Shinee suggests on her site Sweet and Savory. Just use a favorite store-bought granola, or whatever you’ve got on hand — or try making an easy homemade granola, if you’re up for it.
For those of you getting down with all the quarantine baking — and have yeast on hand (why oh why is it so scarce right now!) — I would totally try the Italian Easter Bread from Sprinkle Bakes that we included in this post about creative Easter brunch recipe ideas. So much seasonal cheer — and you can put the kids to work dyeing the eggs!
Other ideas? Order a Honey Baked Ham for curbside pickup (thanks for the tip, Sabrina G!), or have your meal delivered from a local restaurant or supermarket. Just be sure to check delivery schedules in case you need to accept delivery earlier than Sunday and reheat food at home.
And hey, it’s a nice day, you can plan to grill your lunch or dinner like our reader Laura S. plans to do. I may follow her lead and enjoy our Easter meal al fresco, which you can do too, on your porch, balcony, or maybe even your roof deck.
Idea 7: Make alllll the treats!
Of course we’re all out-carbing ourselves through this quarantine, and an Easter dessert table presents the perfect opportunity to let loose, no guilt, and use that sugar stash liberally with some fun Easter desserts! This seems to be a common refrain among our readers and we are all in.
If you want to make it especially cool for the kids, let them pick what they want to make. You might be surprised — our Editor Liz’s daughters have been asking to make angel food cake, homemade cake pops, and interestingly, “anything with puff pastry.”
But here are some more specific ideas to help inspire some wonderful Easter dessert making and decorating.
Giving kids the run of the kitchen (somewhat) can be special for older tweens and teens. Check this post on 6 yummy recipes for Easter cookies and treats that our kids can make, all requiring only minimal help from adults. We are all in love with these Rice Krispie Easter nests with a recipe from Simply Stacie. Best of all, it requires ingredients that should all be pretty easy to come by these days, and if you need to skip the shredded coconut, feel free. They’ll still be cute.
We love all of these Easter cake recipes, but you might find cupcakes a little easier to manage. Check out these 8 adorableEaster cupcakes ideas, which range from “takes some effort” to “so easy, we should do these more often!” In the latter camp, I love the Jelly Bean Cupcake recipe at Parties for Pennies (above) which requires little more than iced cupcakes and jelly beans.
You can even turn it into a decorating contest, and give awards for every single entry — like “most creative” or “best use of color “most likely to be mistaken for a Banksy.”
If you’re a ride-with-Peeps-or-die family, go ahead and make Easter S’mores over a fire pit, gas grill, or even indoors as outlined in this post by Domestic Superhero. This recipe calls for chocolate bars — but don’t forget any chocolate bunnies who may be willing to go into service for this very important Easter treat.
Just remember, no matter what you decide to do this Sunday: Though this Easter may be different from what you had planned a month ago, you can still make Easter special and wonderful for the kids. It may even be the one that kids remember the best of all.
Many thanks to our readers for contributing their own ideas on our Recipe Rescue Facebook community!
Top photo: S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash