Easter, Children and Party Ideas for the Family

Host a brunch that's fun for kids, with games, crafts, an egg hunt and more

Caucasian girl cutting paper with scissors.
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What could be more fun for kids than Easter? It's a holiday full of hope and love--not to mention candy!

If you're throwing an Easter party for friends and family this year, these ideas will help you host an event that's memorable and meaningful--an Easter children will love.

Easter Invitations

Send invitations to the party at least three weeks in advance. You can purchase ready-made invitations or make your own.

One simple idea is to cut cardstock paper in the shape of an egg, and then glue Rick Rack across it. Write the party details on the back.

Here's another egg-shaped invitation idea:

Cut out the shape of an egg from cardstock, the cut across the top of the egg using pinking shears (or in a zigzag motion), as if the egg is cracking. Glue the top part of the cracked egg to the top of a popsicle stick. Also glue a baby chick picture to the popsicle stick underneath the egg shell. The chick can be holding a piece of paper that spells out the party details.

Add a strip of construction paper to the back of the bottom eggshell so the popsicle stick can glide through it. When the invitations arrive in the mail, the invitees must push up the popsicle stick up to reveal the hatching chick and the party information.

You could also use these links to free Easter for kids party printables from Sherri Osborn, About.com's Guide to Family Crafts, to make your own invitation designs.

Easter Decorations

When decorating for an Easter party, people typically use pastel colors, such as light purple, pink, yellow and green.

You could also go for a more natural look, like this earthy table setting from the fabric flower and table linens company Emerson Made.

Or use brighter pinks, as with this cheerful table display from Country Living magazine.

How about celebrating spring with green, white and grass, such as in this springy table setting by famous party decorator Colin Cowie?

At the kids' table, use playful accessories such as bunny napkin rings.

You could also set out a pastel-colored paper cup for each child and glue bunny ears, googly eyes and a cotton-ball tail to it to make it look like a rabbit.

Finally, hang an Easter piñata above the table, which the kids can crack open later (but consider filling it with small toys and temporary tattoos instead of candy, since they'll probably have plenty in their Easter baskets).

Here are some other easy Easter decorating projects you could do yourself:

  • Place tree branches or pussy willow branches in a vase and hang hollow colored eggs on them. You can make your own hollow eggs and color them with natural dyes following instructions by Anne Marie Helmenstine, About.com's Guide to Chemistry.
  • Make a triangle-shaped banner or bunting in Easter colors and drape it across a wall or above a doorway.
  • Purchase several small twig nests from a craft store and fill them with egg-shaped chocolates or glitter-covered Easter eggs.
  • Fill a large glass vase with plastic Easter eggs.

A Kid-Friendly Easter Menu

Easter, of course, is a religious holiday, but it's also an unofficial start of spring. Celebrate the season with a menu that features traditional spring foods, such as eggs, lamb, asparagus, other early-spring vegetables and breads.

Some kid-friendly Easter brunch foods include egg-and-cheese strata, baked French toast, bacon, sausage, scalloped potatoes, hot-cross buns, a cheese-and-cracker tray, fruit salad, and a hearty hash brown casserole.

My pickiest eater rejects almost anything that's green, but she devours an asparagus-gouda cheese quiche I started making after watching her eat a similar dish at our neighborhood market. Try making that for your stubborn eaters.

Don't forget dessert. The Easter bunny probably delivered chocolate rabbits in the kids' baskets, so for the brunch table think cut-out cookies, small sticky buns and carrot cake.

You might have favorite family recipes you serve every Easter. Growing up, my sister and I always received a small cake shaped like half an egg that was frosted in a pastel color and personalized with our name piped in icing. It's a tradition we're both carrying on with our own kids.

Set up the food table in a buffet style. Place the plates at the start of the line and the napkins, silverware and drinks at the end. This keeps everyone's hands free for spooning food onto their plates.

If possible, make sure the food can be reached from both sides of the table so two lines can serve themselves simultaneously. This will make mealtime come more quickly, which is especially important if your young guests have spent the morning patiently (or not so patiently) fasting during church service.

The Easter Egg Hunt

What Easter party is complete without an Easter egg hunt? If you've never organized one, though, you might not know where to start. Here are some guidelines:

  • Ask each family to bring a dozen colored eggs. Not only will it save you from having to do all the dying yourself, but it's fun for the kids to see how other families decorate their eggs.
  • If you like, include some plastic eggs in the mix and fill them with stickers, small candy, temporary tattoos or other trinkets.
  • Some families like to hide one "golden egg." The golden egg might have a $10 bill inside, tickets to a movie theater or some other exciting prize. Find a good hiding place for the golden egg, but don't place it somewhere so difficult to find that the younger kids don't have a chance, such as up high in a tree.
  • If you have a wide range of ages represented at the party, consider holding the egg hunt in separate heats. That way the 10-year-olds won't trample the 2-year-olds at the starting line.
  • While the kids are distracted (perhaps while they're eating for doing a craft activity), ask some grownups to hide the eggs outside. They should "hide" some eggs in plain view for young children to easily spot and place some eggs in tricky locations to challenge the older kids.
  • Before the egg hunt begins, assemble the children together and lay out the ground rules. Instruct them not to push or shove each other or take eggs from each other's baskets. Breaking the rules should disqualify a child from the egg hunt.
  • Egg hunts are plenty of fun when they're not a contest. Why make a child feel badly for not collecting as many eggs as their cousin? But, if you'd like to add an element of competition, tell the kids that the person who finds the most eggs wins. You might have a prize waiting for the first, second and third place finishers.
  • Set a time limit for the hunt. Ten minutes should be enough.
  • Once everyone is ready and holding their basket, announce "on your mark, get set, go!" and watch as the kids scramble for the eggs. An adult should accompany young children who might not understand how the game is played.
  • If one of the older kids is collecting a lot of eggs, consider suggesting to them that they drop a few in the younger kids' baskets. The little ones will get a thrill out of seeing their egg collection grow and the older kids will feel good knowing they helped.
  • Announce when the time is up and bring everyone back to the starting point. If you're concerned about leaving eggs out to rot, do a count beforehand and after to make sure all the eggs were collected. That's especially important if you're hosting an indoor egg hunt.
  • Give the children time to count and admire their eggs. Distribute prizes if your egg hunt is competitive.

    Other Easter Party Activities

    Looking for other Easter party games or activities?

    • Play Jesus Bingo.
    • Challenge the kids to a Peeps contest, where they're each given a package of marshmallow Peeps and some craft supplies and they must come up with the most clever Peeps creation, whether it's a diorama, a Peeps sculpture or something else.
    • Hold an egg-and-spoon race, where kids must carry a raw egg on a spoon across a certain distance without dropping the egg.
    • Read the children an Easter book. Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com's Guide to Children's Books, recommends 10 favorite Easter books. I really like The Bunny Who Found Easter, by Charlotte Zolotow (compare prices). The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, isn't necessarily an Easter book, but it's partly set during springtime and it teaches a nice lesson about love and friendship. (compare prices)
    • Attend an Easter parade, if there's one in your community.

    So, hop to it (I couldn't resist)! Start planning your Easter party now. The big bunny will be here before you know it.


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