We love the excuse to do something fun with the children and young people, and so in this post we're going to share some fun ideas you can do for Easter this year.
It’s important to remember that many children in care struggle with events, parties or celebrations, and that is often linked to their history and trauma. Some of the children may have very traumatic memories of events that took place on days that were supposed to be special like birthdays or Christmas. Others might have grown up comparing their reality of Christmas or birthdays to that of their peers. Some may have looked forward to events but they were always ruined by a drunk parent or big argument. You might find that whenever there is an event to look forward to, your children find a way to sabotage it or ruin it. This is not because they don’t want the event to be good. It’s usually because they don’t feel like they deserve to be happy, or that they feel it will be taken away from them somehow. So they ruin it before someone else can.
- Avoid talking about Easter as an event to look forward to in the weeks before it arrives. This will create a feeling of anxiety and expectation which may trigger fight, flight or freeze responses (like not wanting to join in, sabotaging or struggling with behaviour)
- Avoid using the event as a bargaining tool, “If you do not behave you won’t get any easter eggs”. This can often feel unachievable for a child and you might find their behaviour gets worse. For others, they might see this as a manipulation tool that creates disconnection.
Introduce the fun activities and ideas on the actual day, when you are about to do them. This is fun and exciting and reduces the feelings of stress or anticipation.
We want the children to feel safe enough to be excited and enjoy the event, without feeling the need to sabotage it for themselves.
Easter Egg Hunt - with a twist
You will need:
- Mini Chocolate Easter Eggs OR plastic egg cases
- A golden bunny egg or a little prize
- A basket for each child
Hide the eggs outside when the children are not around (avoid sending them to set up the activity – this may cause anxiety. Instead set this up whilst they are not with you or are busy doing something else).
Tell the children that the game is to find the eggs as a team and bring them back into the house. It’s important this is a team effort, rather than a competition to see who can get the most eggs. This will reduce arguments and contribute to togetherness and connection. Whilst they are hunting, tell them that there is also a golden bunny bonus for each child. If they find it then they can take it. If they find it and have already got one, then they need to leave it in the hiding place for the others to find. Each child gets one golden bunny only. Once the children have found all the eggs they collect them together and share them out.
These do not have to be chocolate easter eggs, they can be plastic egg cases with small sweets or even positive notes inside them. You might prefer just the golden bunny to be made of chocolate and the rest are just for fun!
Team/ Family Obstacle Course
What you will need:
- Items to set up a course such as skipping ropes, wooden boards to make ramps with, hoops to jump into or scooters. You can also buy sacks for sack racing off amazon which are so much fun!
Do this together and have some fun! Set up an obstacle course around your garden. You might have to walk up a ramp, jump in to a hoop or scoot to the next section. Once you have done this work as a team to make your way around the course together. Set a time goal and work together to try and complete the course together within that time. If you have small children and older children, encourage them to work together and help one another through the course. Make sure there is lots of clapping and encouragement throughout.
Easter Egg Decorating
You will need:
- Easter eggs
- Food colouring
- Additional Sweets (or use the ones that come in the eggs)
If you love a good easter egg and often have a lot on the day, then this one is great for all – even teenagers! Prepare the session by mixing some different coloured icing sugar using the sugar and the food colouring. Make sure this is not too runny! Pop the different colours in the bowls with small spoons so the children can drizzle it on to their eggs. Put the sweets into bowls too.
Ask the children to sit around the table together and choose a few of their big eggs and open them up. Keep the wrapping so they can wrap them up again when they have finished decorating them. Put on some music and spend some time decorating your eggs, if you have eggs then get involved too! It’s great for the children to see you joining in.
Sometimes easter eggs come with additional packets of sweets or treats, encourage the children to open these and use them to stick on to the bigger eggs. Once everyone has decorated their eggs. Let them dry in the fridge. Then either wrap them back up for another time or eat them!
You will need:
- Chocolate eggs
- Fruit (banana, strawberry, grapes, melon)
- Kebab sticks
- A large bowl
Some of you might not want chocolate around the house for too long, especially if the children struggle to wait for it. A great idea to get rid of the chocolate quickly is to make a chocolate fondant. Ask the children to contribute a few of their eggs to the fondant. Tell them they can keep one or two for another day but that they must contribute some.
Ask the children to join in and create fruit kebabs by cutting up the fruit and threading them on to the kebab sticks. Once you have these, ask the children to break their chocolate in to small pieces and add them to a bowl. Melt down the chocolate slowly either on the hob or in the microwave. Make sure it is soft and drippy. Then there you have it! A chocolate fondant. Put on a good movie and eat your fondant together, or just eat it there and then!
(You can separate the chocolate out in to smaller bowls so everyone has their own share too)
Give these activities a go and have some fun!