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Chocolate Bunnies… Plastic Eggs… Pastel-Colored Baskets… Stuffed Animals… Sales for these items will sky-rocket over the next couple of weeks, but here’s the million dollar question: what happens to them after Easter weekend?
I think you already know the answer! (Hint: How many kids do you know who keep a collection of all those pink stuffed bunnies? Or use that cheap plastic grass in their Easter baskets for something else?)
Here are 5 ways to create a fun, memorable, and Eco Friendly Easter for your children!
1. Easter Egg Hunt: Challenge yourself to your own Easter Egg Hunt by refusing to buy new plastic eggs. If you must have the plastic ones, look for them at your local thrift stores, on Craigslist, or on Facebook Marketplace. Another fun, zero-waste option is to hide confetti eggs (cascarones), which are biodegradable and sure to be a hit with the kiddos!
2. Natural Egg Dyes: A glance at the ingredients on the back of those Easter Egg dye kits would reveal a list of colors and numbers that identify which dyes were used but give no clue to what those little tablets really contain. So I decided to research a few. Here’s what I found: Red 40 – described here on Healthline.com as “color that comes from petroleum distillates or coal tars… [that] can cause allergic reactions… hyperactivity in children and immune system tumors in mice.” Red 3 – NutritionFacts.org states here that it was “found to influence children’s behavior over 30 years ago and to interfere with thyroid function over 40 years ago.”
My research stopped there, because that was enough for me to look for alternatives! If you want to go the easy eco-friendly route, Amazon sells these dyes made from natural ingredients. You can also make your own dyes from ingredients like blueberries, spinach, turmeric, or beets! Whole Foods has a fantastic how-to guide here.
3. Buy Local Chocolate: Social Distancing because of Coronavirus? Many local businesses are offering local delivery or free shipping to stay afloat in the worldwide crisis, so… why not up your chocolate game and support a small company at the same time?! Trade your chocolate bunnies for this completely organic 70% Dark Chocolate bar from Northwest Arkansas’ very own Markham & Fitz!
4. Nature Crafts: Springtime treasures collected on a family outing can easily become Easter crafts! Use non-toxic paint to decorate smooth rocks or pine cones to look like Easter Eggs. Create fun stencils by taping flowers and leaves onto paper, applying paint, and then removing the flowers and leaves.
5. Easter Books: Some of my favorite childhood holiday memories centered around the books that my parents would read to us. Holiday-themed books serve many purposes: teaching children the true reason for the holidays (that Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection and not just bunnies and chocolate), encouraging sweet family time, and cementing a love for reading in your kiddos’ little hearts and minds! I would argue that books are better for ushering in the holiday spirit than any amount of holiday decor.
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emily Buchwald
Here’s a few I’d recommend for Easter:
Little Blue Truck’s Springtime, by Alice Schertle
God Gave Us Easter, by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs, by Melody Carlson (Note: This book was written to go along with this Family Life set of Resurrection Eggs.)
The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross, by Carl Laferton
The Parable of the Lily, by Thomas Nelson
*Ideas for keeping your book purchases eco-friendly: purchase them used on Amazon, borrow books from your local library, and reuse the same books every year! (My parents still own the books I grew up reading over the holidays, and now I treasure getting to read them to my boys!)