Living Kindergarten Spring
In spring time the kindergarten children celebrate the renewal of life in nature through crafts, stories, games, and festivities. Valentines, hot cross buns, colored eggs, ring time games, butterflies and flowers, all created by the children, will adorn the classroom and your house and home.
The long nights of the dark winter season come to a close, a new season appears and the first blossoms of spring emerge. Nature releases Earth from the bonds of winter. We recognize this reawakening and celebrate the spirit of resurrection in all life.
In a broad sense the Lenten period is recognized as a still, silent transition period between the strength gathered at Christmas and the joyful awakening at Easter. It is a time to become aware of sleeping nature and the animal and plant world that awaits the call of the sun to come to life.
Themes of resurrection and new life are popular symbols of the Easter season. The original Easter hare is of European descent; in the U.S. the hare’s cousin, the Easter rabbit, fills the role. The hare is a wandering, solitary being whose home shifts from place to place. The hare will risk its own life to save its fellows, and has become a symbol of resurrection and sacrifice.
The hare was a favorite symbol in Ancient Egyptian culture. It was a reminder of the fertility of nature in spring and was also connected with the influence of the sun and moon upon the earth. Folklore tells us that the Easter hare is invisible, magical, and belongs to the moon. This wondrous being comes especially for children, hides brightly colored, beautifully decorated eggs and special treats of all kinds, and always just escapes being seen.
The Easter egg is a symbol of new life. The U.S. has the tradition of the search for decorated Easter eggs on Easter morning and egg rolling on the White House lawn. The people of Northern England roll eggs down slopes on Easter Monday. In churches Easter eggs can be religious symbols used for ceremonial purposes.
In the ancient British Isles, right up to the nineteenth century, many people held the belief that the sun danced for joy on Easter morning at dawn. Families would go to the hills at sunrise to see and take part in this event. This awakening of the day also symbolized the awakening of nature in spring.
The Crafts and Activities section has more detailed information about these ways to observe Easter that you might enjoy:
- Make hot cross buns on Good Friday and bring them to neighbors and friends.
- Color eggs with your children.
- Plant Easter grass in the yard.
- Make an Easter garden with wheat berries, soaked and planted in a clay dish.
- Plant grass for the nature table.
- Make nests in the garden with straw and hay for the Hare/Rabbit to leave eggs in.
- Make an egg tree out of a budding branch hung with colored eggs and ribbon.
- Arrange an egg hunt, inviting other children to join in the fun with a potluck to follow.
- Make challah or other traditional Easter bread.
- A puppet show of the Frog Prince typifies transformation.
- Stories, songs and circle games of the caterpillar and the butterfly show transformation in nature.
- Collecting live caterpillars, putting them in a jar with plenty of leaves to eat and covering the jar with cheesecloth to wait expectantly for them to spin their cocoons and emerge as butterflies says everything about this festival without saying a word.
- On Easter Sunday put small gifts and candy eggs in the Easter garden you planted with the children.
Here is an example of a game you might play if you have few children at circle: Sit in a ring with one child in the center crouching down and closing his or her eyes. Pass a small colored egg around the circle while singing, Easter eggs are hiding, hiding, hiding. /Easter eggs are hiding everywhere. /Sharp eyes will find them, bright eyes will find them. /Easter eggs are hiding everywhere! When the song is finished the child holding the egg hides it away in their ‘nest’ made with their hands. All the children make a nest as if they too are hiding an egg and the child in the center has three tries to guess who has the egg. Sing out Show the egg, show the egg and the child with the egg goes to the center, while the one who was in the center joins the circle.
Colored Easter Eggs
With a paintbrush cover the egg with water. Tear colored tissue paper into pieces (test first to be sure you have “bleeding” tissue paper). Lay the paper on the wet egg and brush more water over it. Cover the egg with one or many colors. Let the eggs dry. Remove the paper to reveal your multicolored eggs. You can enjoy the eggs just like this or you can attach small pressed flowers to them with a glue stick. Or you can attach Easter stickers. Thread a ribbon through the holes on either end tying a bow on the bottom outside. Use the ribbon coming out the top of the egg to hang the egg.
You can use a crayon to draw a design or picture on the eggshell whether it is blown or after it is boiled, and before you dye the egg. This will create a relief effect.
An excellent way to color eggs is to wrap dampened skins of red and yellow onion around uncooked eggs and bundle them quite tightly into a small cloth or piece of hosiery. The more papery onion skins you have the better. Tie the ends of the bundle with rubber bands or wire twists. Then bring the eggs to a slow boil and hard cook them. Unwrap them and they reappear wonderfully marbled. Other eggs can boil in the same water as the wrapped eggs and they take on an even, rich, golden-red tone. Variations can be made by pressing herbs and leaves, flowers and fern against the wet eggs and then wrapping them in onion skins and cloth. These leave their imprint and sometimes their color against the egg. Rub a drop of vegetable oil all over the egg for shine. These eggs with their natural dye look wonderful in a basket of real straw. The effect is a lustrous, subtle, gold and bronze.
Pale Blue: Cut a red cabbage into small pieces and put in a stainless steel or enamel pan. Add raw eggs and fill with cold water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally and boil at least 10 minutes. Allow to cool somewhat in the water. When the eggs dry in the air they will become pale blue.
Pale pink: Grate raw beets into a pan and proceed as above.
Orange-pink: Herbal teas with lots of hibiscus in them will usually dye a pale color. Just boil the tea bags with the eggs.
Try adding vinegar; it will sometimes brighten a color.
You don’t need very many how-tos when it comes to this simple, exciting event. Invite friends or other homeschoolers to take part. Color plenty of eggs, a dozen for each child attending. Separate the group of children into ages. The little ones, six years old and under, have a different mood than the older ones. Children enjoy the egg hunt right up until adolescence. Have the older children hide the eggs for the little ones. Use colored eggs and filled eggs if you like. There are paper eggs available in the market that can be filled with candy or crystals or any treat or surprise. Hide some eggs in difficult places and make some easy to find. Have fun with your community and family.
Once the Easter egg hunt is over, choose about a dozen hardboiled eggs from your basket to make “Goldenrod Eggs” for Easter morning breakfast:
- About 12 hardboiled eggs
- Basic white sauce
- Bread for toasting
- Parsley for garnish
Crack and peel the hardboiled Easter eggs. Put the yolks into a bowl. Chop the whites into small pieces or cubes.
Make a basic white sauce, adding some grated cheddar cheese to taste. Add the chopped whites to the white sauce.
Toast the bread; pour the white sauce over the toast.
The children can help with this step: use a fork to “sift” the yolks into a powder consistency—this is the “goldenrod.”
Sprinkle the “goldenrod” over the sauce-covered toast.
Garnish with fresh parsley.
- Valentine’s Day
- May Day
- Crafts and Activities
- Ways to Welcome Spring
- Nature Walks
- Pet Care
- Field Trips
- Tissue Butterflies
- Flower Press
- Blown Eggs
- Easter Egg Tree
- Young Green Grass
- Colored Easter Eggs
- Egg Hunt
- Yarn Trails
- May Day
- Gathering Knots of May
- Songs and Finger-Play
- The Grand Old Duke of York
- Verses and Songs to Sing and Act Out
- Ringtime in Spring
- Easy Irish Soda Bread
- Goldenrod Eggs
- Orange Rolls
- Hot Cross Buns
- Suggested Reading
- Children’s Books
- Parenting Books