How to celebrate Easter with your kids during the coronavirus shutdown
By Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Easter is going to be very different this year. People won't be going to their usual Holy Week church services, food blessings and Easter services. They won't be gathering at restaurants for Easter brunches, or even at family members' houses for dinner. And for kids, there won't be community Easter egg hunts or visits with the Easter Bunny. We don't have to bypass Easter though. Here's how to incorporate the Bunny and the egg hunts and make the holiday special for your kids, even if it is different. Can't visit the Easter Bunny?
Sitting on his lap at the mall, seeing him while doing crafts at the Boerner Botanical Gardens or getting a photo of him along with baby farm animals at the Elegant Farmer. None of those are happening. First of all, let's not panic. The Easter Bunny isn't Santa. The kids will be fine (arguably even better) if they can't sit on the Easter Bunny's lap this year. Do these Easter Bunny-related activities instead. Play Easter Bunny dress-up: Bite the bullet and dress up as the Easter Bunny yourself. Even better, spread out the embarrassment and have an Easter Bunny dress-up contest. Have everyone look through their clothes, dress-up stash and makeup to dress as the craziest-looking Easter Bunny possible. Share the photos on your own social media channels. This is also a good way to interact with family members you can't share Easter with in person. Give everyone a time limit to get costumes together, then turn on the video chat so everyone can have an Easter Bunny fashion show. Create Easter Bunny magic: If the Easter Bunny typically visits your house secretly and is gone without a trace on Easter morning when the egg hunt begins, help him out by adding some magic for your kids to discover. Use powdered sugar, flour or baby powder to make bunny prints on the floor from your front door, or even on the sidewalk outside. Add some glitter to the footprints; he is magical after all. Watch a movie that the Easter Bunny stars in. There actually are a couple of them. "Hop"is perhaps the most popular from recent years, about E.B., the Easter Bunny's teenage son. There's also "Rise of the Guardians," which covers lots of favorite fantastical characters, including the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost. Rudolph and Frosty are probably part of your Christmas repertoire, but there's a claymation Easter show too: "Here comes Peter Cottontail." Speaking of holiday TV specials, don't forget Charlie Brown. He's not technically the Easter Bunny, but Snoopy does a pretty good job in "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown."
Can't go for a community egg hunt? Kids will have to search for Easter eggs in their own yards and homes this year instead of parks and and kid-friendly venues. That's not a thing this year. That's OK. Here are some egg hunt ideas that work with social distancing. Host a virtual egg hunt: If you usually do your community egg hunt with friends or neighbors, include them virtually this year. Have a grownup from each household hide eggs in the backyard or around the house. Then have every family sign on to a video chat, and take everyone on a tour to see if they can spot the eggs. Change up the regular hunt: If you don't want everyone to get dizzy from the video egg hunt tours, do it in treasure hunt form instead. Give clues to your friends, and have them guess the locations of the hidden eggs. Take turns hiding the eggs: The kids probably do their own egg hunt on Easter morning already. Have they always claimed they would do a better job hiding the eggs than the Easter Bunny? This year, let them try. First, time them to see how long it takes them to find the eggs. Then let them hide them, and see how long it takes you. Can't go to Grandma's house to get tons of candy?
Everyone knows that grandparents spoil their grandkids with candy, especially during the holidays. If social distancing requirements are keeping you from the traditional Easter get-togethers this year, definitely do what you can to keep in touch with the grandparents, whether that be video chats, virtual Easter dinner or even simple phone calls. You're responsible for the candy fun this year though. Here are some creative ideas. Make candy art: Got marshmallow Peeps on hand? Instead of just eating them, get creative with them. The Racine Art Museum usually has an art show dedicated to the medium each year. You can't go, but you can be inspired. Have everyone make an artwork out of Peeps. Grill your candy: Or, take advantage of all that out-of-the-ordinary free time on Easter, and roast those marshmallow Peeps in your backyard fire pit, or on the grill. You could even make them into s'mores with graham crackers and melted chocolate eggs. Work for your candy: Make a homemade papier mache pinata, fill it with chocolate eggs, jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps. Then take it out to the backyard and break it open! Just eat lots of candy: At some grocery stores this year, it may actually be easier to find candy than meat. Make the best of that, and, just for one year, have a candy buffet instead of ham for Easter dinner. Hey, it's a holiday and it's a pandemic. I think we all deserve a candy meal this year.