Go green this Easter with these easy and environmentally-friendly ideas! Easter is such a fun holiday for kids, but unfortunately many of the products associated with it are meant to be disposable and so produce a lot of garbage. For example, each year more than 8,000 tons of waste results just from Easter egg packaging. Since Easter is a spring holiday, let’s show a little kindness to green and growing things by being mindful about what we use and buy. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with this huge collection of eco-friendly Easter ideas for kids, from upcycled Easter baskets to adorable Easter crafts made with recycled materials.
Eco-Friendly Easter Ideas for Kids
Go green this Easter with these fun eco-friendly Easter ideas!
These days Pinterest is full of fun, adorable Easter crafts for kids, but how many Easter kite crafts have you seen? Although this time of year boasts great kite flying weather, kites are not associated with the Easter holiday here in the US, but kite flying is an Easter tradition in many parts of the Caribbean, especially Bermuda.
Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda
The story goes that once a Sunday school teacher wanted to help his students understand the ascension of Jesus to heaven and so came up with the creative idea of flying a kite with a picture of Jesus on it. The idea caught on, and now Good Friday finds many Bermudians out flying kites, including an annual Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay Beach.
Kite flying sounded to me like a wonderful Easter tradition, and a great way to do a craft that is both fun but also has spiritual significance. I’ve got three little kids, so I keep our crafts simple, but if you want to make an authentic Bermuda kite (they are beautiful!) you can watch this slideshow.
Instead, I just opted for this very easy paper kite. They are fairly small and don’t fly as well as the big plastic ones, but I wanted to use materials that we already had on hand and to make kites that would be easy for the kids to put together and decorate themselves.
They turned out really cute! I couldn’t resist putting bunny ears on mine. We were all very proud of ourselves and excited to put them into action. So the next day we headed for historic Gibson Ranch, a beautiful local park, to take advantage of the windy spring weather.
Unfortunately it was a little too windy for the boys at first, but luckily they rallied (and the wind died down a bit) so we could test out our kites and enjoy the scenery.
Beautiful Gibson Ranch
So this Easter try something different – make an Easter kite with your child and learn more about this wonderful tradition from Bermuda!
There are many things that a baby uses intensely during its first year, then never again. Think of all those adorable onesies that your baby uses in abundance, then quickly outgrows. Another such item is the receiving blanket. They are perfect for young babies – soft and snuggly and just the right size – until they are suddenly too small, and you are left with a stack of blankets you can no longer use.
Until now! Here is an idea to use an old receiving blanket to upcycle a basket into a cute DIY Easter basket for baby. I’ve also collected fantastic basket filler ideas, plus other creative uses for old baby blankets.
Disclosure: This article was inspired by a complimentary gift basket I received from Gifts.com.
DIY Easter Basket for Baby
I started with this amazing gift basket from Gifts.com. They have a great selection, including the one above, which was full of yummy, organic fruit!
After we had devoured the fruit, I was left with a basket that was just the perfect size for an Easter basket! Since we are all about natural parenting and green living, what better way to make an DIY Easter basket than to upcycle materials we already had on hand?
It couldn’t have been easier! All you need is an old receiving blanket, a basket, and a hot glue gun.
Receiving blankets are perfect for upcycling because of their even, regular shape; their soft material; and their adorable patterns. Plus you have a bunch sitting around the house already! And after Easter, it is great for storage in the nursery or as part of a baby shower gift. (Thanks to a reader for that last suggestion!)
I used this “faux sew” method, in which you basically just drape the material over the basket and hot glue it in place. I love the fullness of the draped material, plus it neatly sidesteps the need to make a hem! (If you do want to make a hem, you can either cut, fold, and hot glue one; or you can use hem tape). This no-sew tutorial is a bit more precise, plus I borrowed its idea of how to tuck the extra material under at the ends. If you want a liner that fits more snugly against the basket, here is a tutorial that includes how to measure material for a round basket.
So pretty and so easy! Now what do you put in that cute basket? Here are some ideas:
Add a little exotic flavor to your Easter menu this year with this super easy Easter dessert from Brazil! Paçoca de amendoim is a peanut candy common to the rural areas of the southeastern parts of Brazil, around the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. Since so many kids have peanut allergies, I’ve made a peanut-free version using almonds instead – still delicious!
Last year we really enjoyed making an Easter bread from Ethiopia, but with a newborn I knew that this year we’d need something much simpler. There are many different recipes out for paçoca de amendoim, all slightly different, but most use peanuts, sugar, condensed milk, and manioc (cassava) flour. Traditionally the peanuts were pounded in a mortar, but most cooks today use a food processor. Basically you just throw everything in and mix: I love any recipe that only requires that I push a button!
The toughest thing is getting the consistency right, which is always difficult if, like me, you’ve never tried the real thing. It should be dry but not too crumbly – just wet enough to come together without turning into a paste. If yours turns out too wet, try mixing in extra flour or putting it in the refrigerator over night – if you can wait that long! The best thing, though, is to start too dry and add the condensed milk only a very little bit at a time.
Either way, it will be delicious! Happy Easter and enjoy!
Easter Dessert from Brazil: Paçoca de Amendoim
Inspired by these two versions: from Cyber Cook and About.com (the latter was one of only English versions I found).
1 cup of peanuts or almonds
1/2 cup manioc (cassava) flour or coconut flour*
2 T brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (you will not need the entire can)
pinch of salt
*look for manioc flour or manioc starch in international grocery stores. Ours unfortunately did not have it, so I substituted coconut flour instead.
Add all ingredients except condensed milk to your food processor and grind to desired consistency. (I did ours into a fine powder, but some prefer to leave slightly larger bits of nuts). Add the condensed milk just a little bit at a time until the mixture starts to come together. Press into an 8 x 8 pan or other mold then cut into pieces.
This year we are participating in a series from Multicultural Kid Blogs about Easter around the world. I thought it would be really interesting to “visit” a country outside Europe and North America; however, for the most part it is quite difficult to find out about Easter celebrations in those countries unless you happen to know someone from there or are lucky enough to have witnessed it yourself.
Ethiopia is one of the countries that has been written about a bit more. It does make a brief appearance in a couple books I found at the library, but for the most part I relied on online sources. Again, most mentions of it are brief, though you can find some great pictures!
One of the main things to know is that Easter (Fasika) is celebrated in Ethiopia according to the Orthodox calendar, which tends to run a week or two later than the western Church calendar. (The Ethiopian Church is associated with the Coptic Church of Egypt). Also, the eight weeks leading up to Easter are marked by a fast from meat and dairy.
When Easter itself comes, it is a national holiday celebrated with great festivity. The best resource I found about it is this article which explores the food, drink, and customs of Ethiopian Easter. It really gives you a sense of what it might be like to celebrate Fasika in Ethiopia, enjoying a special meal with your family or perhaps visiting the market.
To explore further with my Monkeys, I chose to make Defo Dabo, a recipe mentioned in the above article as being traditional for Easter as well as other festive occasions, such as weddings and birthdays.
For the recipe itself I followed this one from Celtnet Recipes. Please, please, visit their site to get an authentic recipe for Defo Dabo. What follows it not authentic. What follows is what happens when you can’t find the traditional spices (bishop’s weed, black cumin seeds) and instead let your 5 year old talk you into adding chocolate chips and cinnamon. At least we used banana leaves to cook it!
Keep in mind also that the recipe below is on a much smaller scale than what is typically done in Ethiopia, where it is meant to be enjoyed by large groups of people celebrating a festive occasion. The Celtnet recipe is for a loaf one-sixth the traditional size, and I cut the size in half again for my small gang of little revelers.
Traditionally, the dough is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a large clay pot over an open fire. As much as the boys would have preferred this method, I followed Celtnet’s lead in keeping the banana leaves but using a deep dish pan and a conventional oven.
A note about banana leaves: If you don’t live in a tropical country, look for them in an Asian or Mexican market. We got ours from the latter, where they sold large plastic bags of them in the produce section. (They are often used to make tamales).
And layer more of them on top of the bread than you would think you’d need, as they tend to shrink when baked. They do make the house smell wonderful, though! And if you have tons of them left over, as we do, you can always do some more cooking with these great international recipes or do a craft!
Ethiopian Recipe for Easter: Defo Dabo Bread
400 g of flour (approx 3 1/4 c)
1 packet yeast
cinnamon (enough so that each little helper gets several shakes)
chocolate chips (we used about 1/3 of a 11.5 oz bag, since that was all I had in the pantry!)
2 T olive oil
4 T sugar
1/2 T salt
1 very large banana leaf, cut into manageable pieces*
*Don’t attempt to just rip the banana leaf into pieces – the main part of the leaf will tear easily, but the central stem can be difficult to tear and becomes rather sticky.
Mix the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add about 1 cup of warm water and stir to dissolve the dry ingredients. Cover the bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes, so the yeast can activate. The mixture should be bubbling at this point. Mix in the oil and cinnamon then add the flour.
Mix with your hands to make a soft dough (add more water or flour as needed to get the right consistency). Add the chocolate chips and knead so that they are evenly distributed. Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and let it rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
A photo posted by Leanna Alldonemonkey (@alldonemonkey) on
When it has risen, line a deep baking dish with the banana leaf (can substitute greased baking parchment). Punch the dough down then add it to the pan. Wrap the banana leaves over the top and cover the top with the remaining leaves.
Set aside to rise for another 20 minutes. During this time, start preheating your oven to 350 degrees then bake the bread for about an hour or until cooked through.
Take the bread out of the pan and careful remove the banana leaves. Let cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
This post is part of the Easter Around the World series on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Follow along as we explore how Easter is celebrated in different countries!