Both of my children enjoyed the annual food-free Easter egg hunt hosted by our local food allergy support group, NC FACES (Food Allergic Children Excelling Safely). As always, I am thankful for the chance to participate in a holiday tradition without the stress of candy-filled eggs that threaten my son, who is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy. Instead of worrying about smeared chocolate, peanut butter candy and other remnants of children indulging in their candy at traditional egg hunts, I get to sit back and soak in the joy my children experience as they do some silly dances and then hunt for treasure. They love sitting with the other children after the hunt and opening each egg to find a prize, such as a cool yo-yo, dinosaur eraser, bubbles or bouncy ball.
Those plastic eggs get a lot of use near Easter at our house. I use plastic eggs in our homeschool lessons for various games that are suitable for my 7-year-old and 2-year-old. Both love when I hide the eggs and the assignment that follows is always met with enthusiasm. Eggs can be used for matching, color sorting, counting and letter recognition for younger kids. They are also great for vocabulary, story building and math for older kids. For example, I fill eggs with Bananagrams tiles and ask Pamela to identify the letters she finds, while Joseph must make up sentences based on a chosen theme that start with the letters in his eggs.
We've used plastic eggs in crafts and even used stickers to decorate them. But my favorite egg-decorating tradition involves wooden eggs. I found white wooden eggs at Oriental Trading that are perfect for Easter egg crafts. The bonus is when they are inevitably dropped, they don't crack or fall to the ground in a heap of shells and yolk. Both kids love painting them and adding glitter or other decorative craft supplies.
The lack of real eggs in our house is not felt at Easter because there are so many other ways to celebrate the holiday without putting my food-allergic son at risk. Both children are getting ready for Easter with fun food-free activities, crafts and games. We also are already planning the allergen-free treats we will bake and both children are anxiously awaiting Easter morning when they will find their baskets full of prizes. Joseph hopes the hints he's dropping about a certain Lego set will make it to the Easter bunny's big ears, while Pamela keeps asking when she can go on another Easter egg hunt. Yes, we will be putting those plastic eggs to use once again on Easter when we fill them with small prizes and hide them in the yard. The biggest prize will be sharing in my children's joy on a special holiday.