Little gosling’s first Easter egg hunt was a big hit! With the coronavirus lockdown, the egg hunt at the nursery fell through, so without any prior experience we set up a simple egg hunt in our living room and marked the Catholic/Protestant Easter that is celebrated in the country we now live in, Belgium. Not that little gosling would have known what he was missing, but I find it a lovely way to celebrate. I would have loved this growing up…. And for the next egg hunt, little gosling will be experienced ;).
I bought 1 kg of small wrapped chocolate eggs and a little Easter basket (little gosling chose the model) on my last visit to a hypermarket to buy nappies in bulk. However, the kilo of chocolate was intended to be enjoyed by mom and dad. Little gosling is still on a no sugar diet. Sooo, to compensate for that, on Saturday dad and little gosling prepared all the necessary to make home-made little nut-date-cocoa balls. They made hazelnut and peanut butter; blitzed almonds, cashews and pecan nuts until dust-like; blitzed a mix of oats, cocoa and dates. Little gosling loves seeing the kitchen robot in action. All this was combined hand molded into 20 or so small balls (some of them even looked like small eggs) and a few big energy bars that we froze for later. Before going to sleep, I quickly placed half or so of the eggs around the living room, most of them in plain sight, down on the floor (at the feet of tables and chairs, on his playmat) or at different heights on the bookshelves and shelves with CDs and TV/music equipment on the chairs, next to photo frames, on his books. I hid a couple in his toy boxes and such, but most were very easily visible.
Sunday morning, when little gosling woke up, I handed him his basket and we went together to the living room to find the eggs. He got so excited with every find he made! He got into it immediately and started filling his basket, moving all around, giggling and squeaking and doing the sweetest sounds. We followed him and encouraged him to look here and there when he thought it was “done” and he asked for “more, more”. So when he was looking away, his dad was placing more eggs here and there. It was such a delight! We enjoyed it tremendously together with him. Couldn’t help but regret we were not in the position to do this in a garden (we don’t have one…). We did this until there was no more space for extra eggs in his basket. We stopped and offered him the “eggs made especially for him”.
Surprisingly to us, he was not interested in unwrapping the eggs he found and was happy with our home-made eggs/balls. When he got bored of the basket, we put it away, out of his sight (and by now is half way empty). Must be the effect of only eating home made sweets…
For the rest of the day, we read countless times the story of Piou-Piou and Easter bunny – which he now calls “lapa”, after its name in French (lapin de Paques) – from our search and find Easter book and played with coloring and sticking Easter-themed stickers on our first coloring book. Plenty of lambs, hen, chicks, bells, eggs, butterflies, flowers and puffy little clouds. Precision was not important at this stage :))). We were aiming to learn about Easter motives and have some fun. And he enjoyed it.
Since it was a novelty to us parents as well, we prepared in advance and got some really nice books. I’m happy I took them out some weeks ago instead of keeping them for an Easter basket. This way, we had time to get into the story of the Easter bunny progressively and naturally and little gosling understood what was happening.
The “Cherche et trouve – Paques” from Editions Ballon, the story with Piou Piou helping the Easter bunny prepare this year’s egg hunt was really the backbone of our whole effort. Little gosling loves it and we read it over and over again. He stopped searching and finding and now concentrates on the story. He likes the ending; when the Easter bunny thanks Piou-Piou for his help, he says the sweetest “merci, Piou-Piou!”
We got the lift-the-flap “We’re going on an egg hunt”, illustrated by Laura Hughes, Four bunnies go on an egg hunt around the farm, lifting logs, looking behind bushes and leaves and among flowers to find their eggs. In a moment of suspense they are fooled by a giant egg, behind which a wolf is hiding, and a chase ensues ending with the wolf getting a door slammed in its face. It’s playful and has a happy ending. Possibly little gosling’s favourite is the baby bunny enjoying his egg under the table together with a little duckling on the last page. A sweet image! It took a couple of readings for little gosling to get excited about it, but in the end he was playing with it happily.
“The Story of the Easter bunny” by Katherine Tegen explains the origin of the Easter bunny (who is white, immortal and lived in a timeless village:)), who took over the craft of weaving the baskets, colouring the eggs, making the chocolate eggs, preparing the baskets and delivering them to kids from an old pair and expanded it. This is one book we’ll enjoy for some years still and I find it useful to give an explanation when the time for questions comes. Actually, I like the story myself. It’s sweet and generous and so caring.
I found the story of the Easter bunny bringing kids chocolate eggs a simple and fun introduction to the Easter holiday for a young kid. We’ll do the religious story later. It was a wonderful occasion to do things together that he could understand, participate in and enjoy. We’ll continue celebrations over the Orthodox Easter, gastronomically.