Mar
30
2015

3 Kid-Friendly Creative Easter Egg Ideas

When Dipping Just Isn't Enough

3 Kid-Friendly Creative Easter Egg Ideas

decorating_easter_eggs

When my daughter was younger, decorating at Easter consisted of me boiling a few eggs and letting my kiddo cover them with stickers, or paint them with washable watercolours. Later on, I broke out the glue and tissue paper. More recently, we've been experimenting with traditional dye baths, which are the most fun because when else can you stick your hands into multiple containers filled with colourful concoctions?

RELATED: All Natural Easter Egg Dyes for Kids

It's easier than you might think to decorate Easter eggs with your kids. And if you're really concerned about the mess, just grab a dollar store tablecloth or some newspapers and cover the heck out of your work area. Or - if it's mild enough in your part of the world - take the materials outside. Because, kids.

First...

BOIL THE EGGS

Boil some eggs until they are hard (place eggs in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes). Or - if you want to save the eggs - blow them out instead (find out how to do that here).

Boil the eggs.

Then...

MAKE THE DYE

This part is super easy. All you need to do is combine the following ingredients in a container and let the mixture cool.

1 cup hot water. I used boiling water from the kettle.
1 teaspoon vinegar. A little more is fine. So is a little less.
10 to 20 drops food colouring. The more you squeeze, the more intense the shade.

Note: If you would rather not use food colouring, check out my all-natural Easter egg dye recipes using cabbage, coffee, turmeric and other ingestible items.

Add vinegar to the water.

Squeeze 10 to 20 drops of food colouring into the water and vinegar.

Now it's time to dip!

You can dip once. You can dip twice. You can double dip. You can do a half and half dip. What I'm saying here is that there are no rules.

But, if you want to get fancy, here are three ways to kick things up a notch.

CRAYON RESIST EGGS

The concept here is simple. Start by making designs on an egg using wax crayons. Then, dip the egg into the dye. That's all there is to it!

Use a light coloured crayon to make designs on an egg.

A hard boiled egg with crayon decorations.

Dip the egg into the dye.

Crayon resist Easter eggs.

MASKING TAPE BATIK EGGS

To make these funky eggs, start by placing pieces of masking tape randomly on an egg, leaving some areas exposed. If you want to get super fancy, you can cut designs out of the tape using an X-Acto blade. Because my daughter is six, we just tore bits of tape off the roll and stuck them onto the egg.

Place bits of masking tape here and there on an egg.

Dip the egg into a dye bath.

Dip the masking tape egg into the dye bath.

Remove the egg, let it dry and peel away the tape.

Masking Tape Batik Easter Eggs. Let dry and remove the tape.

Add more tape and dip into a second colour.

Dip the egg again.

Again, let the egg dry and remove the tape.

A masking tape batik Easter egg, in progress.

And... repeat.

Dip it again, into another colour.

Continue until you are happy with the results.

Masking tape batik Easter eggs.

MARBLEIZED EGGS

This technique is best left until you are finished decorating since you will be adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your dye baths. The oil will cause the egg to repel some of the colour as you dip, thus creating a marble effect. You can begin with a blank egg (which is what my daughter and I did), or you can start by dipping the egg in an oil-free dye bath to achieve a base colour. Dip the egg into a couple of different colours to see what you end up with.

Marbleized Easter egg.

Marbleized Easter eggs.

Marbleized Easter egg.

If you are looking for more Easter decorating ideas, don't miss this terrific round up from our YMC bloggers.

Decorated Easter eggs!

Mar
25
2015

DIY Kid Fun: 8 All-Natural Easter Egg Dips & Dyes

Add colour to eggs using fruits, vegetables and spices

DIY Kid Fun: 8 All-Natural Easter Egg Dips & Dyes

Do you love decorating eggs at Easter but hate the thought of using chemical-containing dyes? 

Maybe you have children who have sensitivities to the dyes found in food colouring and store-bought egg decorating kits, or perhaps you have little ones who are still too young to work with colours that stain little fingers. Maybe you just have a yearning to get back to nature. 

Either way, the following recipes are for you!

To make natural Easter egg dyes, all you need is a stove (or other heat source), water, pots, jars or bowls, a variety of fruits, vegetables and/or spices and some vinegar.

Making all natural Easter egg dyes.

Blueberry Dye
Boil two cups of water, a handful of blueberries and a splash of vinegar (around 1/2 tablespoon) until the water turns colour. This will produce a purplish blue dye.

Spinach Dye
Boil two cups of water and a handful of spinach until the water turns soft green. Skip the vinegar. When I added it, the colour didn't leach out of the spinach leaves. This will produce a soft green dye.

Onion Skin Dye
Boil a bunch of onion skins with water until the water turns burnt orange. I skipped the vinegar here too. This will produce a nice brownish-orange dye.

RELATED: Candy-Free Easter Ideas for Kids

Red Cabbage Dye
Boil two cups of water, a handful of red cabbage and a splash of vinegar (around 1/2 tablespoon) until the water turns reddish purple. This will produce a blue dye. To make a soft turquoise dye, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the cabbage dye once it has cooled.

Cranberry Dye
Boil two cups of water, a handful of cranberries and a splash of vinegar (around 1/2 tablespoon) until the water turns red. This will produce a soft pink dye.

Coffee Dye
Add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee to 1 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Stir until coffee is dissolved. This will produce a brown dye.

Turmeric Dye
Add 1 tablespoon of turmeric to 1 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Stir until turmeric is dissolved. This will produce a rich yellow-orange dye.

All natural Easter egg dyes

Boil some eggs until they are hard (place eggs in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes). Or - if you want to save the eggs - blow them out instead (find out how to do that here).

Make your dyes and let them cool.

Then, dip the eggs into the dye baths. Ideally, you will have enough dye (and a deep enough container) to cover the eggs completely. If not, use a spoon to continuously "bathe" the egg. The longer the egg is in the dye, the deeper the colour. But, do keep in mind that colours created by natural dyes tend to be a little softer and more pastel than commercial dyes - especially when "cold dipping". If you want richer colours, you'll need to boil the eggs in the dye (hot dipping).

Add colour to Easter eggs by making your own safe and natural dyes

Remove the eggs from the dye baths, let them dry and marvel at their beauty.

Pastel eggs decorated using all natural Easter Egg dyes.

Here's a handy chart:

All natural Easter egg dyes

Mar
20
2015

DIY Kid Craft: Spring Garden Mosaic Pots

Going to Pot? Get Creative with it!

DIY Kid Craft: Spring Garden Mosaic Pots

Learn how to start seeds in your kitchen and how to upcycle terracotta pots.

Whether you're thinking about starting seeds for an outdoor garden, a mini-garden for your window ledge, or a container garden for your patio, you will need lots (and lots) of pots. And while it's true that you could use containers you pick up - as is - from the garden centre, decorating and personalizing your own vessels can be so much more rewarding. And fun... especially for children.

Top 5 Best Pot Garden Vegetables

To get started, simply gather terra cotta pots, a small container of drywall compound*, some glass gems from the dollar store, seashells, beach glass and/or broken dishes. (If you are going to use broken dishes, safely smash them into smaller pieces by placing them in a plastic grocery bag, wrapping them in an old towel and whacking the heck out of them with a hammer (while wearing safety glasses). If the edges are sharp, sand them down with a medium grit sandpaper.)

Gather drywall compound, a terracotta pot and some odds and sods (beach glass, seashells, etc.)

Begin by slathering a thick layer of drywall compound onto the pot with a craft stick. Do this one small section (half the pot at the most) at a time rather than covering the entire surface at once. This is so easy, kids can do it on their own without much supervision. (Note: You can colour the drywall compound by mixing it with some tempera paint. Some may be concerned with kids using drywall compound while crafting. However, since you won't be sanding the compound once dry, no dust will be inhaled and so it is perfectly safe, as long as kids don't consume the product! Also, when I say drywall compound, I don't mean Polyfilla (it dries too quickly) I mean wallboard joint compound.)

Slather drywall compound onto the terracotta pot.

Then, start sticking the shells, beach glass, gems, etc. into the wet compound.

Stick the seaglass into the drywall compound.

You can use a variety of objects to decorate your pot.

Continue until the pot is full of decorations.

Mosaic terracotta pot.

DIY mosaic pots

Let everything dry and that's all there is to it! Talk about a great activity for kids.

DIY mosaic pot.

Now, about those seeds...

But before I begin, I have a confession to make.

I am not a gardener.

As a result, any and all plants that survive in my presence do so in spite of my efforts, not because of them.

I come from a long line of plant killers. I clearly remember the twisted pile of gnarled Chrysanthemum roots stacked up in the corner of our backyard. It was in this spot that Mother’s Day gifts went to die. Without dignity. Years later, I discovered that in order to keep houseplants alive, you need to place them in sunlight. And give them water. 

Like I said, I am not a gardener.

So it was with a giant leap of faith that I procured some vegetable seeds and decided to experiment with germination in an effort to teach my daughter how plants grow. 

Those who know these things, know that a wide variety of containers can be used for starting seeds (everything from coffee cups to eggshells). I however, took my mother's advice and cheated. In other words, I let her buy us a kit, which consisted of starter soil, a shallow tray, a domed lid, a bunch of little coconut husk cells and step-by-step INSTRUCTIONS.

To begin with, we tossed some soil in a bowl and added a bunch of water to make it damp, but not dripping. Then, we loosely filled the cells to about half. We did this because the instructions said we should.

Kit for starting seeds.

Next, we placed some seeds (no more than 2 per cell) on top of the soil. We also added some craft stick markers (one per row) so we knew what we were growing. Just in case anything actually started to sprout. Had I been feeling less anxious about the process, we may or may not have decorated those craft sticks with paint.

Place the seeds on the soil.

Then we covered the seeds with more damp - yet fluffy - dirt.

Cover the seeds with soil.

After that, we put the trays on a shelf in the sun and covered them with the clear dome. Over the next number of days, my daughter watered the soil whenever it felt dry and what happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

Seeds beginning to sprout!

Once we saw green, we removed the dome and just let those little suckers keep growing. In the sun. Adding water when the soil felt dry. Nature is amazing.

Truth be known, once the plants were poking out of the abyss, I really didn't know what to do with them. I mean, theoretically I knew they could be moved - into the ground in an outdoor garden, or inside in one of our mosaic pots. But again... not a gardener.  But with the help of those with thumbs far greener than mine, I discovered that all you need to do is to put some moist potting soil into a pot, carefully move the seedling into the new container and cover the roots with more dirt. There might be more to this but truthfully, I'm still too busy riding high on my germination success to care.

But, if you are serious about gardening, here are some fabulous (and funny) resources from the YummyMummyClub experts: