Eco Friendly and Frugal Ideas for Easter Egg Hunts

little boy hunting eggsEaster is fast approaching and with it, the all important Easter egg hunt.  Well, all important if you are a kid.  For me, a mom trying to be green, Easter presents a quandry.  Those plastic Easter eggs are pretty much are designed to hold small plastic items that will shortly be tossed – not something I want to support.  My kids don’t go much for real dyed eggs for the hunt – they have been brain washed for a toy and candy filled Easter egg hunt.  But as much as I don’t like plastic toys, I also don’t want to go the candy route.  My children will be bouncing off the walls for days on end.  What to do?

 

Well, here are some ideas for a bit more Earth friendly Easter egg hunt, and some are more frugal as well:

 

 

    • Re-use those eggs.  I’ve got bunches of yes, plastic eggs, that we use every year.  They got passed down to us and we will pass them along when my kids get a little older.  I collect the eggs at the end of each hunt, clean them and just re use them.  Not completely green since they are plastic, but better than tossing them.  And, if I need more, I pick them up at the thrift store.

 

    • Grow something.  The last couple of years I’ve made seed packets and put those in the eggs.  You can use tiny envelope packets and print instructions on stickers to stick on the envelopes.  If you can’t find tiny envelope packets (usually at a craft store), you can use very small “jewelry” bags too – but those are plastic so not as great as the paper envelope, which you can get made of recycled content.

 

    • Feed the birds.  Just like the seed packets, you can include wild bird seed too.  My kids had a blast feeding the birds with the wild bird seed.

 

    • Save some money.  Coins are always a hit – just make sure the age group is appropriate for this potential choking hazard.  And you don’t just have to use US coins – my kids loved the fancy coins they found.  I just stuck in some of the coins we had left over from various trips over the years or that I collected as “bad” change.

 

    • Stones!  Polished stones (found at the craft store) are also popular, particularly since we just call them true treasure.

 

  • Go crafty.  You can also make up craft packets – a few beads and some hemp string or something along those lines, age appropriate, can be popular.

 

What ideas do you have?  Leave a comment with your tips for an Earth friendly Easter egg hunt.

 

Eggfantastic – Non Toxic Natural Dyes For Easter Eggs

In my quest to be an eco fabuous, glam green goddess of motherhood, I attempted to make natural dyes last night for our Easter eggs.  I had read an article in The Green Guide about making natural dyes, and also had an article pulled out of last year’s Country Home about natural dyes for Easter eggs.  So, I decided to make hard boiled eggs and natural dyes.  With my darling children. 

It started off with the typical questions from my 5 year old, “Mom, why does an Easter bunny leave eggs?  Why isn’t it an Easter chick?”  Trying to skip over answering that one, and my husband mumbling something about Bunnies being better than Chicks, I asked my son to pull out the eggs.  Not the best thing for a 5 year old to do.  “Mom, think I can catch this?”  Splat in the hand, with dripping yolk.  No, not without crushing it.  One egg down.

We put the eggs on to boil.  Another egg-catastrophe as it rolled onto the floor.  We started with the dyes.  My daughter wanted pink.  Okay, 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar to set the color.  That was easy.  ‘Til my daughter stuck her hands in it to see how pink it was.  And wiped her hands off on her dress.  She also wanted purple.  Okay, 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.  Easy.   My son wanted yellow.  Okay.  Orange peel from one orange, boil in 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons vinegar for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how dark  you want the color, cool, strain.   We also did red with red onion skins and green with spinach. 

It was fun with my kids pulling out stuff to boil and asking what color it would be.  Impromptu science lesson.  Various pots boiled merrily away, and strange odors wafted.  Kind of a mad scientist, eco fabulous kitchen going.  Got everything cooled, started dipping the eggs in.  You really have to let them sit in the dye for at least 15 minutes to get much color – it would probably be best to leave overnight in the refrigerator if you wanted dark color.  The problem with the waiting, as opposed to the drop in conventional pellets, is that your kids get bored.  Or have to take bathroom breaks.  And you really shouldn’t leave children alone with dye.  Natural or not.  Do you think the daycare will notice my son has slightly green cheeks this morning, or that my daughter has pink and purple hair?