This is another article that I wrote for The Rooter a few years ago. As it looks like we’re all going to be stuck in our homes on Coronavirus lockdown over Easter, I thought this might be a good one to fully re-post, rather than simply filing away under the Environmental Articles menu tab. This tab has been newly added to the menu at the top of the page. Feel free to have a wander through the articles that I’m gathering under it – they’re all about the positive environmental action occurring around the world, rather than the doom and gloom you so often see in relation to environmental issues.
If you have kids, no matter how much you try to avoid plastic waste, in the run up to Easter you’re likely to find yourself in possession of a plastic egg or three. These have become a favourite means of containing treats for egg hunts and other Easter activities in recent years. Rather than simply throwing them into a recycling bin, there are other uses you can find for them first.
You could reuse them for egg hunts of your own, maybe even storing them away for reuse next year if you have the space. You could use them as educational tools for young children. There are also a wide host of kids’ craft activities that they’re perfect for – the kids can let their imaginations run wild. As I’m always interested in getting people, especially children, more involved with nature, here are a few activities you could do with your kids that are perfect for getting them more engaged with the natural world.
Make a cresshead
This fun activity is great for introducing children to the joy of sowing seeds and watching them grow.
You will need
a plastic egg
cotton wool ball
Divide the egg into two pieces. Place the lower half so the open end is flat to the table, forming the cresshead’s shoulders. Glue the upper half to it, so its open end faces upwards. This is the cresshead’s head. To make sure these stay attached to each other, a grown up might need to use a little superglue or a glue gun, as child-friendly pva glue is rarely strong enough.
Draw a funny face onto the upper half of the egg, the crazier the better. This could alternately be done using funny face stickers if you have any available. The shoulders of the cresshead can also be decorated if you want, giving it a collar, a tie, or a scarf.
Press a damp cotton wool bud inside the top section (the head) and sprinkle cress seeds over it. Place it on a warm window ledge. This is a perfect opportunity to talk with the kids about what might happen to the seeds over the next few days.
Wait a few days and watch, and you’ll see the hair grow on your cresshead. When the leaves on the cress are green, you can even give it a haircut and eat its hair.
Make a pompom chick in an egg
This activity is perfect for getting children thinking about birds. The chick in the egg can be any type they want – whether this happens to be a traditional yellow Easter chick, or a sparrow, blackbird, blue tit, or even a parrot. Before you begin the craft activity itself, you can discuss with the children what their favourite type of bird is, and what they look like, not to mention what colour wool you’ll need to match the colours of its feathers. You could even spend some time looking at pictures or videos before you choose. Talk with the little ones about how birds hatch out of eggs, and find out what happens to their chosen bird after they’ve done so.
You will need
a plastic egg
pipe cleaners – 1 black, 1 white, 1 orange
Follow these instructions for making a sparrow chick. The colour of your wool will depend on the type of bird you’ve chosen to make. In order for the chick to fit inside the egg, you’ll need to make the pompoms and features slightly smaller than the directions given. This can be done either by wrapping the wool around fewer fingers than suggested in the instructions, or by using the scissors to trim off the excess wool.
Decorate your egg by gluing strips of tissue paper all over its surface. By layering different colours of tissue paper you can create an interestingly mottled eggshell effect.
Place your chick inside the egg.
Make an Easter themed fat cake
Fat cake bird feeders are always a good way to get children involved in helping the wildlife that comes into the garden. Who doesn’t become excited when they see a bird eating from a feeder that they have made. While you’re making them is a good opportunity to discuss which birds are likely to use the feeder, and how different species will eat different types of food.
You will need:
a plastic egg
Make the fat cake mix. You can find instructions for this here.
Lightly oil the inside of the egg and fill both halves with the fat cake mix. Put the halves together. Don’t be afraid to overfill these as the mix will compact as the egg closes, and any excess will squidge out of the sides.
Put the filled egg in the fridge for several hours. Once the mix is set, carefully separate the plastic egg from the fat cake inside.
Tie a piece of ribbon around the egg shaped fat cake and hang it in a tree. Then, wait for the birds to visit.