Friday, April 19, 2019

The Rhythms of Easter

Easter is a unique holiday because it is celebrated on the morning of the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the Vernal Equinox.

It not only, in the Christian faith, honors the rhythms of birth and death but by being held when it is it honors the rhythms of the cycle of the Sun (Vernal Equinox), the cycle of the Moon (Full Moon), the cycle of the Week (Sunday), and the cycle of Day and Night (morning).

All week long we worked with some of the symbols of this Spring holiday.

The idea of rebirth is alluded to in the Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Hare or bunny rabbit, the eggs, the newly green garden, and the sunrise time of the hunt are all symbols of fertility and new life. The Early Childhood group had special stories and projects; the older children also eagerly joined in to the crafts and had some extra ones of their own which were a bit more difficult.

If you want your child's projects to be a surprise, please wait to read this.

Circle Time

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines for the Early Childhood students.

Monday, April 15


Our Early Childhood students started their morning by looking at a Red-Breasted Nuthatch nest which a child brought in to share. We talked about the shape of the nest and its important job in holding the eggs and then baby birds. Then two different parents found broken robin's eggs in my yard: one by the front door and one by the back door! The one by the back door was very clearly from a bird which had hatched just this morning, so that was exciting to see. Chad helped the children gather sticks in the yard and they began a great big collaborative nest building art/sculpture/play project. I got this idea for A Nest for Kids from Tinkergarten. It was a huge hit and they intend to continue to add to it day by day. (As an aside, this is a great way to get all of the sticks picked up in your yard before you mow.)

Back inside, we had our morning play time (the big interest was in carding colorful wool and blending colors) and then read The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

We started our Natural Egg Dyeing (Earthways, page 132) with onion skins during snack and then looked at the color of the eggs after the children came back in from their second round of outside play time.

When we looked at the beautiful color of our eggs, we also looked at some interesting chicken eggs which another child brought in to share. One was enormous and the family suspected it was a double-yolker. We cracked it open to see. It wasn't. The other was a tiny egg from a young chicken who had just begun to lay and the family suspected it had no yolk. We cracked it open to see and, indeed, it had no yolk! That was a big surprise to many.


Other projects for today included starting bowls of torn paper and water for papermaking (blue, green, yellow, orange, and red) and two Easter activities from All Year Round. These were afternoon choices for the older children. For our more difficult "Onion skin dye" project, we used the instructions on page 65, which called for us to wrap the eggs closely in layers of scraps of onion skin, then place the bundle in the toe of cut-up panty hose, then twist the stocking tightly closed and fasted it with a twist-tie. These were then boiled for 10 minutes. When we took off the twist-tie, the stocking, and the onion skin pieces, we found wonderful intricate swirly designs on the eggs!

For the "Magic tufty cones," which the children took home for their Nature tables and want to be a surprise for their families, I will only say that these take a lot of water (so you want a deep dish). You will also need a collection of largish pine cones. The book suggests using grass seed for this project but the germination of Granddaddy's grass seed has been erratic so I decided to go through my box of seed packets to find some sort of a substitute. It was actually quite nice to sit down and take the time to sort through my seeds. I threw away things which were a decade old, separated flowers and herbs from veggies, set aside the things I want to plant this year, and alphabetized the rest. For our "Magic Mix," we combined the contents of 14 seed packets, including dill, basil, lettuces, radicchio, kale, spinach, arugula, and leeks.

Tuesday, April 16


This morning we blended our five colors of pulp, added carrot seeds, and made beautifully colored homemade seed paper eggs. These are plantable paper, and I hope you get some carrots! We read one of my absolute favorite books for this time of year, The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow. I like the original 1959 version with illustrations by Betty Peterson.

Lastly, we dyed eggs with shaving cream. This couldn't be simpler! Unlike our natural dye recipes, where the eggs are cooked in the dye, you need to begin with hardcooked eggs. Just cook the desired number of eggs and let them cool, place an inch of shaving cream in a Pyrex casserole dish, squeeze splotches of food coloring on top of the shaving cream, and swirl the color around with a bamboo skewer. Roll each egg from one end of the dish to the other and place it (with colorful shaving cream still on it) on a paper towel. Let stand for about five minutes, then use more paper towels to take the shaving cream off. Voila! A beautifully dyed egg. Some are subtly colored all over, but if you have the food coloring strong enough and don't let the colors mix into each other too much, you will have a marbelized effect.

Yes, this will dye your child's hands a bit. But it is very simple and smells great. Then you can play with the leftover shaving cream in the bathtub!


  • "Natural Egg Dyeing: Red Cabbage" from Earthways, page 132

My older group was very excited to make shaving cream eggs and homemade plantable seed paper eggs as well this afternoon. In addition, I gave them a more challenging natural dye project. This involved red cabbage leaves. You wrap the uncooked egg tightly in red cabbage leaves and use rubber bands to hold the bundle of leaves in place. Boil for ten minutes. LET COOL. I burned my fingers a bit from the steam which was still coming out from under the cabbage leaves as I unwrapped them. Even if the outer leaf is cool to the touch there can still be steam trapped farther down. These make a pale color which turns a stronger blue when they are left to dry out in the air. Speckles and splatters of cabbage juice from neighboring eggs as they are unwrapped can also make a design. Leaving the eggs on a nest of hot cooked red cabbage leaves adds even more color. Subtle... but pretty.

Thursday, April 18


This morning I cut Easter baskets from paper lunch bags (a trick my mom showed me when I was little) and the children decorated them. They also puched gift tags out of paint chips. Martha Stewart has the largest paint chips and the prettiest colors. We liked Bay Leaf, Myrtle Blossom, Bluebird, Grape Jelly Bean, Violet Aster, Rosewater, and Pink Sea Salt.

After our first story and a wonderful Fruit Salad (with pear, grapes, banana, and plum) we went outside and climbed the mulch pile and carried mulch in the little wheelbarrow and little red wagon. Then it started raining harder and so we came inside for a second Easter tale, the wonderful (and ground-breaking for its time) story of The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes.


Easter baskets from paper bags was also the project for the afternoon, except that the older group of students had to do their own measuring and cutting. This was challenging for some but great practice in using a ruler.

Friday, April 19


The older children made two different kinds of cards with moving pictures as their final Easter projects. They were a bit complicated to make but they are so beautiful! Baskets are packed with homemade projects and our wonderful dyed eggs. I hope all of the families enjoy this weekend. Happy Spring!

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